“He that would bring home the wealth of the Indies must carry the wealth of the Indies with him.

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Copyright 2019 by Joyce Huntington.  All Rights Reserved. 
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Tales of the City

Tales of the City has a special place in my heart because it was the book I used to launch my very first Traveling Book Club adventure. I’ve learned a lot since then, so your traveling book club weekend can be much better.  I've laid out a plan here but it's pretty aggressive. I've found so many things to do that you might just need to add a day to fit it all in.

 Tales of the City

Sample Itinerary


Check in - Stanford Court

Cocktails at Café Tivoli

Dinner at Café Sport


Breakfast at Mama’s

Walking Tour:  Macondray Lane, 

Crooked Street,  Fisherman's

Wharf,  Buena Vista, Marina Safeway

Lunch at Perry's

Free Time

Dinner at Hamburger Mary's

Castro Crawl



Breakfast at 

Legion of Honor

Cliff Walk

Dinner and Book Discussion at Cliff House


Church Service at Glide

Brunch at Perry’s


GetTING Around

This is a tough call, car or not?  You could do ninety percent of this Tales of the City weekend without a car, but if you really want to get out to the Legion of Honor and the Seal Rock Inn you would need a car.  The bus would take a long time.

Making a moment

Take advantage of Holiday's  Golightly's bout of homemaking. 

“Simple dishes, steak, a proper salad, were beyond her. Instead she fed Jose, and occasionally myself, outré soups (brandied black terrapin poured into avocado shells) Nero-ish novelties (roasted pheasant stuffed with pomegranates and persimmons) and other dubious innovations (chicken and saffron rice served with a chocolate sauce: “An East Indian classic, my dear.”)  Wartime sugar and cream rationing restricted her imagination when it came to sweets–nevertheless, she once managed something called Tobacco Tapioca: best not describe it.”
-- Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote

What to do: Have a Holiday Golightly Cook-Off! Split your book club members into three groups. Have them come up with recipes for each of these dishes and send them to you so you can get the ingredients. Set everything up. You can even have the book discussion while you sip on wine or work in the kitchen.  So Fun!

Talking It


The book opens with Joe Bell all in a dither because he thinks he's found Holiday Golightly. The entire exchange between Joe and the narrator sets the tone. It’s so interesting the way they adored Holly Golightly and missed her. Talk about the ways Truman Capote made that so clear.

What kind of girl was Holiday Golightly?  Do you like her?

--Why do you think men were so attracted to her?

--Holiday Golightly was a member of that Cafe Society set.  Talk about what that means.

--Doc Golightly is just another character who seemed to love and miss Holly.  His visit reveals so much about her.  Talk about how she dealt with him.

--Holly obviously suffered from panic attacks, or the “mean reds,” as she called them.  What do you think about her method of coping?

--What about the unnamed narrator, Fred, as Holly called him.  Why do you think of him?

--After reading Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Norman Mailer called Capote “the most perfect writer of my generation.”  Why do you think he said that?

--This telegram tossed Holly into a breakdown.  “Received notice young Fred killed in action overseas stop your husband and children join in the sorrow of our mutual loss stop letter follows love doc.” Talk about that.  What did the real Fred represent for Holly?

--Discuss Holly as a homebody.  What did you think of her?

--Breakfast at Tiffany’s is full of rich one-liners.  Read some of these quotes and discuss the ones you like best.

--What do you think happened at the end?

--In the movie, Holiday ends up with Fred.  Why do you think they changed that and which ending do you like better?

literary loot

Metropolitan Museum Reproductions
“A keen sudden un-Holly-like enthusiasm for homemaking resulted in several un-Holly-like purchases: at a Parke-Bernet auction she acquired a stag-at-bay hunting tapestry and, from the William Randolph Hearst estate, a gloomy pair of Gothic “easy” chairs; she bought the complete Modern Library, shelves of classical records, innumerable Metropolitan Museum reproductions (including a statue of a Chinese cat that her own cat hated and hissed at and ultimately broke,) a Waring mixer and a pressure cooker and a library of cookbooks.”
-- Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote

What to do: You may or may not be able to find a stag-at-bay hunting tapestry but you could certainly find Metropolitan Museum reproductions and give them out as prizes.

Holly Golightly Make-up Bag
“She shaped her lips from one tube, colored her cheeks from another. She penciled the rims of her eyes, blued the lids, sprinkled her neck with 4711; attached pearls to her ears and donned her dark glasses; thus armored, and after a displeased appraisal of her manicure’s shabby condition, she ripped open the letter and let her eyes race through it while her stony small smoke grew smaller and harder.”
-- Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote

What to do:  This is easy! Assemble a Holiday Golightly make-up bag filled with fun things. Pearl earrings would be a good gift as would 4711 perfume.

Brandy and “Cat”
“Joe Bell told me when he came with a message that Holly wanted me to meet her there as soon as possible, a half-hour at most, bringing: ‘Her jewelry. Her Guitar. Toothbrushes and stuff. And a bottle of hundred-year-old brandy: she says you’ll find it hid down in the bottom of the dirty-clothes basket.  Yeah, oh, and the cat.  She wants the cat.'”
-- Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote

What to do: It’s a great scene in the book.  The great escape with the help of the narrator and Joe Bell. And then the drive around New York in a limousine. You could commemorate it with some tiny bottles of Brandy and maybe even some kind of image of “Cat.”

St. Christopher’s Medals
“I managed a fast, first-rate job of assembling her going-away belongings.  I even found the St. Christopher’s medal.”
-- Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote

What to do: It would be nice to give out St. Christopher medals all around.


You can literally dip right back into the 70's - musically - with this list of songs I've plucked from the pages of Tales of the City.
“She knew all the show hits, Cole Porter and Kurt Weill; especially she liked the songs from Oklahoma!”
-- Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote

Sons by Donna Summer   

Moon River by Andy Williams 

Close to You by the Carpenters

It Never Rains in Southern California by Albert Hammond

I Enjoy Being a Girl, Show Tune from Rogers and Hammerstein’s Flower Drum Song   

What I Did for Love, A Chorus Line 

Love Will Keep Us Together by The Captain and Tennille   

Truckin’ by the Grateful Dead 

Some Enchanted Evening by Jane Oliver 

I am Woman by Helen Reddy 

Cherchez la Femme by Dr. Buzzard’s Original Savannah Bar 

Back to Georgia by Kenny Loggins

Little Drummer Boy by Ray Conniff Singers 

You could add to those songs a list of songs about San Francisco.

San Francisco Nights by Eric Burdon and the Animals

California Girls by The Beach Boys

San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Some Flowers in Your Hair) by Scott McKenzie

I Left My Heart in San Francisco by Tony Bennett

diving deeper

I try to stay away from Google when I'm reading a book - I don't want to tarnish the telling of the tale. Then - when it's over, I go down the rabbit hole. Send these links out to your book club when you think they're finished with teh book - although we know never will finish the book.


Truman Capote

-- It’s so interesting to hear an author read aloud, as Truman Capote does Breakfast at Tiffany’s for an audience on this link.

--I loved watching Truman Capote roast the actor Dean Martin.

--Barbara Walters had a good relationship with Truman Capote later in his life.

--This New York Times article about Capote is a good read.


The Brownstone

--The Brownstone where the movie was filmed was up for sale recently.