The Best Monterey Films & Books For Your Trip

The Best Monterey Films & Books For Your Trip

One of the best ways to explore the landmarks of a destination, is to look at how that place has been portrayed by writers and artists over time. With a number of exceptional books and films set here, we thought we’d share some of our favorites. Binge, read, and bring it back with these Monterey films and books before your next trip.

Big Little Lies
with Reese Witherspoon & Nicole Kidman

The powerhouse, award-winning mini-series starring Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman captured the Monterey coast with breathtaking cinematography, while keeping the audience enticed with a classic mystery. The show performed so well, that it was recently extended from a mini-series into an ongoing show, with a second season announcement.

Cannery Row
by John Steinbeck

You can’t dig into the history of Monterey storytelling without looking at John Steinbeck. A great American author and playwright who penned Of Mice and Men, and The Grapes of Wrath—Steinbeck was a Monterey local. Cannery Row is a great novel of his, the title of which is Monterey’s most famous downtown neighborhood. A sardine-cannery haven in the mid nineteen hundreds (when the book is set) it is now a bustling center for restaurants and bars.

Tortilla Flat
by John Steinbeck

Because he’s such a giant figure in local and national literature, we had to mention another Steinbeck on this list. His book Tortilla Flat was one of his breakthrough works, and it portrays a group of friends drinking wine on the countryside after The Great War. Set in Monterey, the book paints a romantic picture of the area.

Play Misty For Me
with Clint Eastwood

This obscure film stars one of the Monterey area’s favorite local celebrities—Clint Eastwood. In this picture, a younger Eastwood plays a DJ who works at a radio station set in Carmel. An unusual role for the stoic face who also played Dirty Harry, this look at Eastwood is just one reason to dig into this classic set in Monterey.

Monterey Pop
with Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin

This documentary shares footage and performances from the iconic Monterey Pop Festival, which helped introduce Jimi Hendrix to the mainstream, and featured other icons like Janis Joplin, Otis Redding, and The Who. With the return of the Monterey Pop Festival last summer, the film offers a fascinating point of comparison, and a heaping spoonful of nostalgia.