Saturday, May 21, 2011

Welcome to Baltimore : Preakness 2011

The thousands of out-of-towners pouring into Baltimore today for the 2011 Preakness probably got their first impression of Baltimore from TV shows such as "The Wire." But I hope they take the time to explore a bit more and see other sections of our fair city. Here are a few books to get you in the mood for a day of touring Baltimore -- or just watching the horse race.

"Lord of Misrule" by Baltimore native Jaimy Gordon, a National Book Award winner, is a terrific read about small-time racing -- and hustling.

"The Accidental Tourist" is among my favorites by Anne Tyler, who chronicles the lives of Baltimoreans. The novelist has won the Pulitzer Prize ("Breathing Lessons" in 1989) and was among the nominees for the 2011 Man Booker International Prize.

"Butchers Hill" or any of the other Tess Monaghan novels by Laura Lippman, a prize-winnng mystery writer.

"The Baltimore Book" by Linda Shopes, an intriguing look at social trends that have helped to define the area, including immigration, unionization and white flight.

And if you insist on reading about Wire-ish Baltimore, pick up "The Corner." The non-fiction account of the folks who live in a drug-ravaged section of west Baltimore was co-written by David Simon, who also did the TV series.