Playing it by the book in Santa Monica. Gateway to the Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows reading program

Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows provides an escape for bookworms. (image by Christian Horan Photography)

Many words come to mind when describing Southern California’s beach communities – sunny and warm, breezy and fun, or even, without exaggeration, paradisiacal – but “literary” is probably not among them. And yet, writers of note have made their home here for decades, from the German “Exiliteratur” authors – most notably Thomas Mann and Bertolt Brecht – who found safe haven here from the Nazis in the ’30s and ’40s, to the many literary denizens of L.A.’s beach towns today: Laila Lalami, Geoff Dyer, Anthony Swofford and Sarah Manguso, to name a few. We don’t just like to surf, sip coffee and shop. We like to write, and we like to read.

The Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows, that storied property at Ocean and Wilshire that literally grew up with the city of Santa Monica (built by one of Santa Monica’s co-founders as a family residence), has raised our love of the book to the next level with their new Bedside Reading program. On our nightstand at check-in, we found a curated selection of up-to-the-moment books accompanied by a note reminding us of what we, as writers, know to be true: “Even in today’s digital world, there is still nothing as magical and gratifying as the feel of turning the pages of a favorite read.” The hotel has relationships with several major publishers who send complimentary copies that the Fairmont passes along to guests. They even offer advance reader copies, usually available only to reviewers and other industry professionals, so guests can get an early peek at forthcoming titles.

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