If the only things you’ve read lately are Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and The Da Vinci Code, you are definitely missing out. There are few new books that show the rich history and environment of Santa Barbara, so the next time you’re in a bookstore, pick up one of these three books.
1) Missions of Southern California. This fascinating collection of old black-and-white postcards from Arcadia Publishing portrays the history of California’s Spanish missions. Brief summaries of the history of individual missions accompany pages of restored photographs. Our very own Mission Santa Barbara is highlighted in one chapter and shows how very little the structure has changed throughout time. Written by Golden State history fan James Osborne, the book intends to serve as an educational tool for all of California’s fourth-graders, who are required to learn about missions as part of the state curriculum.
2) Silent-Era Filmmaking in Santa Barbara. Many don’t realize that Santa Barbara was really the first Hollywood. Robert S. Birchard’s new book, also an Arcadia Publishing endeavor, tells of times when the streets of Santa Barbara were also the sets for the silent films of the American Film Manufacturing Company. The excellent photographs in this book show when Santa Barbara was just a sleepy beach town and how the film industry got put on the international map thanks to directors such as Allan Dwan and Victor Fleming.
3) The Most Beautiful Villages and Towns of California. Joan Tapper’s beautiful coffee-table book covers some of the most charming towns from Eureka to Joshua Tree. The book also highlights three different villages in Santa Barbara’s backyard: Montecito, Summerland, and Santa Ynez. On full display is photographer Nik Wheeler’s amazing talent for bringing out the essence of the places he shoots, including shots of the beachfront properties near Butterfly Beach and the calm waters of the Andrea Clark Bird Refuge