Venice in Books Q-Z
In alphabetical order by author's last name
John Rechy - The Life and Adventures of Lyle
Includes a boardwalk encounter with a man who will show you Gods
face for $20.
David Rieff - Los Angeles: Capital of the Third
Examines the case of the poor and homeless. Joan Didion calls it "a
brilliant and disturbing examination of the America we have not yet faced."
Nora Roberts - River's End
A character lives at Venice Beach in a nice cottage with a lovely garden
where he can watch sunsets. Someone breaks in and trashes his house and
on another occasion bashes his best friend over the head, thinking it's
James Cass Rogers - Venice to Avalon
Costume designer dreams of an actress murdered in the 30s and sets
out to solve the case. Said to have some 1930s Venice in it, thin and
unconvincing, although somebody else says its thrilling. Lots of
history and description.
Jim Rose - Freak Like Me: Inside the Jim Rose
Rose started his act on the streets of Venice Beach and ended up being
the "must-see" act at Lollapalooza
Judith Rossner - His Little Women
A minor character is an abused wife who escapes from her husband. They
had been living in Venice where he was a bartender in a place called Shoals,
later the Prawn Shop.
John Sandford - The Night Crew
Anna Batory was trained as a classical pianist and now heads a free-lance
news team which cruises the city at night hoping to get the first and
best film of accidents and crime scenes. Anna and her one hundred house
plants live on Linnie Canal, where the neighbors have an emergency phone
tree so any disturbance can be met with show of force. Lots of the action
in this suspense tale happens at her place. When it looks as if the villain
might be one of her neighbors, Anna is not surprised. "God knows
there were enough strange and troubled people in Venice; that was almost
a qualification to owning a home there."
John Sandford - Mortal Prey
The arch-villainess Clara Rinker's younger brother Gene was homeless
and living on the beach between Venice and Santa Monica. When Clara comes
back to the US she has lunch in Venice and walks around the canals for
John Sandford - Easy Prey
passing mention of an old friend who had a heart attack on Venice beach
Horst Schmidt-Brummer - Venice, California
- An Urban Fantasy
Photos and some sociological musings. Author sees developers, landlords,
speculators and urban renewal as the enemy. I got my copy used.
James Schock - Life is a Lousy Drag
contains material on Eric Nord's life before and in Venice
Barbara Seranella - No Human Involved,
No Offense Intended, Unwanted Company, Unfinished Business, No Man Standing
Immensely popular series of novels starring Munch Mancini, auto mechanic,
ex-junkie. A TV deal is rumored to be in the works.
Doris Shaffer - Dear Deedee
A very absorbing diary which shows the downside of the Jewish American
Princess myth. Shaffer was a very intelligent and creative woman who just
couldn't hack the bullshit. Also her friends and family were dying at
an alarming rate. She loved Venice Beach more than any place she had seen,
which apparently was a lot of places. At one time she taught in some capacity
at UCLA. In her last days she had a cottage right on the beach and ran
for miles on the sand trying to shake off depression. On Christmas of
'63, near an old Spanish house on a corner, she saw a black man sleeping
off a drunk. She went for her run and passed the place again on the way
back. "As I neared the house, I saw the black man again - now beaten
and bloodied. I should have stopped but felt like vomiting. I ran faster
to my house and telephoned the Venice police. I stuttered into the phone.
They came to my house. The black man was dead." The same day, she
went to the grocery store and someone broke all the windows in her VW.
When she got home her house had been stripped of stereo, record collection,
balalaika, guitar, and all. This triple bummer, especially since it was
Christmas, pushed her over the edge. She took a handful of Nembutals and
didn't wake up.
Mary Sheldon - Perhaps I'll Dream of
A novel about a teenage girl who kills herself for love of a burnt-out
rock star. When his band is just getting started, they live in Venice
and play gigs at local saloons including one on Venice Pier.
Patricia Smiley - False Profits
One of the plot elements is a corpse washed up on Venice Beach
Jack Clifford Smith - The Big Orange
The decayed bohemian charm of Venice is threatened by gentrification.
disdainful of the affluent life of the nearby marina, have rooted their
Keith Snyder - Trouble Comes Back
Jason and Robert have a "groovy beach pad" (always pronounced
with affectionate irony) near the canals, decorated with junk and kitsch.
Jason is a musician and apparently ex-CIA or something of the kind. Robert
is an actor. Theres action at the Cows End and a lot of other
Venice atmosphere. Clever and scintillating dialog, twisty plot that concerns
the kidnapping of a 6 year old named Donna, the child of a country singer
and a model.
Scott Sommer - Still Lives
The story happens in New York, but the protagonist meets a woman named
Constance who used to live in Venice and still owns a house with an ocean
view. She used to have a store, too, but lost it to the gentrification
of Main Street. Later she decides to move back to Venice and he goes too,
and a year later they get married.
Southern Pacific Lines - A Picture Journey
Through California: Being a Series of Seventy-Four Photographs of California's
Principal Spots of Scenic, Romantic and Historic Interest (1926)
Norman Spinrad - The Mind Game
He describes a "crumbling and sinister-looking apartment house on
a slimy back street in Venice a couple of blocks from the beach."
The inhabitants are "spectral hippies left over from the sixties,
ghostly old beatniks left over from the fifties, and wasted junkies living
very much in the perpetual now."
Arnold Springer - A
History of Venice of America Book #1;
Vol. l History of the Venice Canals 1850-1939
Vol. 2 History of Politics 1919-1939
Published by Ulan Bator Foundation; Venice Calif 1994. Still available.
Venice History, organized chronologically by topics, culled from the primary
sources and encapsulated in their original vignettes, with no overarching
David Sprigle - Venice Beach Boys Calendar
Okay so its not a book. It has pages however.
Karen Stabiner - Limited Engagements
In this novel there's a lot of description of boardwalk interactions,
and an explanation of the real estate shell game. "The southern boundary
between Venice and Marina del Rey swung wildly back and forth....People
living in some buildings in Venice could even get their mail addressed
to Venice or Marina del Rey, depending on the image they wanted to convey"
Jeffrey Stanton - Venice CA: Coney Island
of the Pacific
expanded Centennial edition 367 photos text has been revised and
expanded to twice its former length. Lots of vintage photos and solid
Jeffrey Stanton and Annette Del Zoppo - Venice,
Danielle Steele - The Dating Game
A young woman's parents help subsidize her move from Venice to
Malibu because they don't like her living in a dangerous neighborhood.
Elizabeth van Steenwyk - Let's Go To The Beach:
A History Of Sun And Fun By The Sea
The beach lifestyle and its customs, includes Venice of course.
Muriel Strange - Sparks (1980)
Novel about a mechanic who lives on one of the walk streets and starts
doing art work and becomes an overnight sensation and just as quickly
fizzles out. His best friend deals coke and is just coming to terms with
the fact that he is gay and has always been in love with the mechanic/artist.
Tim Street-Porter - Musical Houses
includes Beach Boys Dennis Wilson, who " ...ties up his sleek floating
home in Venice, California..."
Anne Stuart - Break the Night (1993)
Jack the Ripper returns and does his work in the alleys of Venice, California
Ross Thomas - Chinaman's Chance
A hooker is offered the chance to work out of a bar in Venice, but scorns
the idea of competing with teenage dopers. "They give it away over
there for the price of a joint. You talk about turning a trick for fifty
bucks over there and you get laughed out of town. You wanna know what
Venice is? It's the pits!"
Thomas Thompson - Serpentine
"Once, when she was in her late teens, on an evening when she was
deeply stoned on mescaline and lying on harem pillows in a duplex in Venice,
Newton Thornburg - Beautiful Kate
None of the story takes place there, but the protagonist's girlfriend,
a rather common actress/model, comes from Venice.
Newton Thornburg - Dreamland
This novel describes Venice beach "crowded with the detritus of a
continent: the flamboyant and the crazy, the lost and the beautiful....."
Its people he calls "hippie descendants, wanderers still, but more
clean-cut and practical than their forbears, though probably just as fond
of drugs and indolence."
Laura Shepard Townsend - Destiny's Consent
is a series of four books about the life of a Gypsy named Angelica Grastende;
and also "a mythical roadmap for those who become lost during the
pursuit of their own lives." The Gypsy's Song is already available;
next in the series is Lions and Gondolas which will appear soon,
and that's where Venice comes into the picture.
Alexander Trocchi - Cains Book
Trocchi lived in Venice in late 1950s and wrote Cains Book,
which according to John Arthur Maynard is "the only first-rate work
of long fiction even partially written in Venice West" though it
has nothing to do with Venice. The uncorrected galley proofs, bound in
cardboard, are in the Lawrence Lipton collection. Trocchi hung out with
Roy E. Tuckman - "Zapping Nixon"
In this article included in Paul Krassner's anthology Psychedelic Trips
for the Mind, Tuckman describes his experiences with LSD and the draft
board while living in Venice
Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez - Playing with Boys
Very entertaining novel about women in the movie business (the best female
characters ever), with some big surprises. The author never hits a wrong
note or a false one. Some significant meetings take place at Venice Beach.
Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez - The Dirty Girls Social
The character Amber or Cuicatl loves a pair of pants she found at a Venice
boutique, the fabric printed all over with portraits of the Virgin of
Guadalupe. Later when she achieves success as a singer, she buys a little
house three blocks from the ocean
Venice Poetry Workshop - Venice Thirteen
Includes work by Luis Campos, Ed Entin, Richard Eiden, Joseph Hansen,
John Harris, Dennis Holt, Jane E. Newton, Harry Northrup, Anne Marie Ross,
Andrew V. Salmins, Lynn Shoemaker, Barry Simons, and Philip Taylor.
Andy von Sonn - Cops `n' Dopers (Policies
y Drogueros) 1977
32 page booklet, set up like a board game, with underground comix-style
artwork by Jim Rumph of the Slyme Factory, who was a pretty interesting
fellow. In English and Spanish, its about what to do if you get
busted. The publisher Mayflower Unlimited used to be in Venice. Or at
least have a PO box there. A 2000 reissue is available through their website.
Bruce Wagner - Still Holding
Lisanne, an executive secretary, goes to the boardwalk to clear her head
when her father has a stroke.
Dan Wakefield - Home Free
The hero lives on Speedway and works as a short order cook in a restaurant
stand on Ocean Front Walk.
Michael Webb - Steven Erlich Architects: A
One section is on houses designed for narrow urban sites in Venice
Michael Webb - Venice,CA : Art and architecture
in a maverick community
Photos by Juergen Nogai. Artists - Frank Gehry, Morphosis, Coop Himmelblau,
and Lorcan OHerlihy. Homes and studios of Ed Ruscha, Dennis Hopper,
John Baldessari, Ken Price, Robert Graham, and more.
Mark Whalen - "That Friday Afternoon in Venice"
Sweet William (William McNally) - Venice
of America - The American Dream Come True
Mostly photos. The text is part history and part personal reminiscence,
including the personal journey that brought its author to Venice and a
life radically different from before. The discussion of a dope bust raises
some interesting philosophical and spiritaul points. Sweet William says
the methods by which slums have been created here are so unique that a
dean at UCLA is writing his PhD dissertation on the subject. Venetians
are so partial to controlling their own affairs that they once gave $335,000
in poverty program money back to the federal government because of not
liking whatever strings were attached.
Emily Winters - The Colorful History
of Venice, California Coloring Book
Marvin J. Wolf and Katherine Mader - Fallen
Angels (1986) - Chronicles of L.A. Crime and Mystery, has a chapter
on murder of Sarai Ribicoff outside Venice restaturant
Tom Wolfe - The Pump House Gang
"Whole towns, meantime, have become identified as 'young': Venice,
Newport Beach, Balboa - or 'old'- Pasadena, Riverside, Coronado Island."
Stuart Woods - L.A. Dead
featuring his ongoing character Stone Barrington, is a "scintillating
tale of romance and murder that stretches from the Grand Canal of Venice
to the mansions of Bel Air...."
Stuart Woods - Dead Eyes
A bad guy named Parker, a probable stalker and murderer, who professionally
installs security systems, lives in a fortress-like Venice house with
a giant Rottweiler.
Barry Wright - Venice California: The
Illusion of a Future (1975)
Wright thinks the future of Venice won't be any different from the past.
He goes on to say "its fate seems to be one of continued mediocrity."
He's down on the Planning Commission, which has three alternate plans,
all bad. He says, "One could conclude...that the interests being
served by the Venice Master Plan are not those of the community's residents
but those of the wealth and power of Los Angeles......" Wright's
bibliography of sources includes Deschooling Society by Ivan Illich,
Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Pedro Freire, An Essay on Liberation
by Marcuse and Sartre's On Genocide. I had no idea that all these
illustrious people concerned themselves with the fate of Venice.
Elizabeth Wurtzel - Prozac Nation
The protagonist visits her cousin in Los Angeles and eats "frozen
yogurt at a combination bookstore and outdoor cafe' in Venice."
Ernest J. Zarate - At the Beach (1999)
Black & white photographs of many California beaches, including Venice
Paul Zindel - The Surfing Corpse
Did Timmy Warner plunge to his death over a 300-foot waterfall, or was
that Timmy spotted recently, alive and well, at Venice Beach?