Edit ModuleShow Tags

A Novel Idea

It’s true that books can take you anywhere— just ask Susan McBeth,a bookstore marketing director turned literary tour guide


Published:

As the director of marketing and events for Warwick’s in La Jolla from 2006 until this past February, Susan McBeth knew that a good book could transport readers to another world. She wanted to take this idea a step further, though, so McBeth left her job to begin Adventures By the Book, a company that offers literary tours and events.

The seed was planted when McBeth met Frances Mayes, author of Under the Tuscan Sun. McBeth told Mayes how much she appreciated her books, especially since she’d never been to Tuscany herself. “She invited me to come and visit,” McBeth recalls. That got her thinking about how much fun a trip like that would be—not just for her, but for other readers.  

“I was bursting at the seams to escape from the confines of a retail environment and create experiential events that would connect readers and authors in a more intimate way than the traditional lecture format,” says McBeth.

This past summer, McBeth led a group of 10 on a weeklong journey to Tuscany where they attended Festival del Sole in Cortona. This annual art and music festival was co-founded by Mayes who had lunch with McBeth and her group. The literary adventurers then toured author Ferenc Máté’s vineyard, where his son, Buster, hosted a wine tasting. They got an insider’s tour of Tuscany from author Dario Castagno, and dined with radio personality and author Annalisa Coppolaro-Nowell. Travelers also got to develop their culinary skills with Marlane Miriello, author and founder of Il Campo Cucina cooking school. 

While dozens of travel companies offer Shakespeare and Mark Twain tours, McBeth incorporates writers who are still living. “It’s fun to have an opportunity to interact one-on-one with an author whose book you have read. Customers can ask questions and not have to interpret [the writing].” And the concept works.

“I was bursting at the seams to escape from the confines of a retail environment...

“I can honestly say this is the happiest I have ever been in my career,” says McBeth. “Organizing events at a bookstore is where my compulsive organizational skills met my passion for literature. The only thing that was missing was my passion for travel. Now I’m able to combine all three into a fulfilling, rewarding, and fun endeavor.”

Next June, McBeth will offer the “Magical Mystery Literary History Tour,” a 10-day European sleuthing adventure to the Czech Republic, Poland, and Germany. Leading the group will be Kathi Diamant, author of Kafka’s Last Love, and director of the Kafka Project at San Diego State University.

McBeth is already at work planning a “Springtime in Paris” trip for 2013.

Not all of McBeth’s Adventures By the Book are overseas, though. She has organized literary events at an organic apple orchard in Julian, an equestrian center in Huntington Beach, and the Mission Inn in Riverside.  

On her home turf of San Diego, McBeth recently created a literary event for One Book, One San Diego winner Zohreh Ghahremani, who wrote Sky of Red Poppies, a fictional work based on her experiences growing up under the Shah of Iran’s regime in the 1960s. “We hosted this luncheon at an authentic Persian restaurant that Zohreh picked out so we were surrounded by all things Persian—from food to staff—for a talk about this Persian book,” says McBeth. “It is such a joy to see both readers and authors connect in this way. That’s why I love what I do. 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

More »Related Stories

Win Tickets to Kaaboo

Two Friday passes get you access to music, comedy, cuisine, and more

5 Places to Watch the Solar Eclipse in San Diego

But safety first — don’t forget your eclipse viewing glasses!

Stone Brewing Releases Collaboration Beer with NOFX

The Punk in Drublic lager celebrates the band’s newly announced craft beer and music festival
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. San Diego Fourth of July Guide 2017
    Celebrate Independence Day all weekend long with fireworks, festivals, parades, drink specials, and more
  2. The Oceanside Revolution
    The North County city has gone from an all-but annexed coastal town by Camp Pendelton to a thriving bed of culinary and artistic success.
  3. The Best of San Diego 2017
    Tacos, pasta, cocktails, spa treatments, and cool craft workshops—we’ve got 99 of the top picks in food, drink, fitness, beauty, and more
  4. 5 Places to Watch the Solar Eclipse in San Diego
    But safety first — don’t forget your eclipse viewing glasses!
  5. Will Weed Smoke Out Restaurants?
    New investment trends are creating challenges for local restaurateurs — for now
  6. The Ultimate San Diego Summer Guide 2017
    Take this season to the next level with our annual roundup of the top beach barbecues, pool parties, concerts, outdoor movies, and more
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Promotions

Go Ahead... Ask McMillin!

At McMillin Realty, we are encouraging you to bring us your real estate questions. We will answer these questions….. for free.

Not Your Grandma's Orthotics

New year, new – shoe? Staying on your feet for long hours at a time just got a whole lot more comfortable with Wiivv’s BASE custom insoles
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit Module

Connect With Us:

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Sponsored

9 Reasons You Need a Better Barber

Get the look and service you deserve at this East Village salon

Enter a Drawing You Could Actually Win

There are more than 1,700 prizes in the Dream House Raffle
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags