New York to Los Angeles = 5 hours
Sorry, haters: There’s more to the land of sunshine and celebrity fluff than screenplays and tabloids. (Raymond Chandler, John Fante, et al., were onto something with that whole city-as-muse thing.) Start your literary tour at Book Soup (8818 Sunset Blvd.; 310-659-3110), Angelenos’ answer to the Strand, then head to the marvelous Los Angeles Central Library (630 W. 5th St.; 213-228-7000), where young Charles Bukowski was a regular. Hemingway’s Lounge (6356 Hollywood Blvd.; 323-469-0040) is decorated with books and typewriters, and cocktails are named after the author’s greatest hits. Readers who want to retrace the steps of specific scribes can climb aboard one of Esotouric’s four literary-themed bus tours ($58 per person; esotouric.com), including The Birth of Noir: James M. Cain’s Southern California Nightmare. Boutique hotel the Redbury (from $279; 1717 Vine St.; theredbury.com) houses a second-story lounge lined with tomes, but for those who aren’t ready to retire, there’s always the atmospheric Library Bar (630 W. 6th St., Ste. 116-A; 213-614-0053). The ginger-spiked Chekhov’s Mule is $10, and yes, there’s light enough to read.