Get read! - Page 9

BOOKS ISSUE: 25 books from 2011 to check out

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Drag queens, beat poets, burlesque dancers, hyphy rappers, dot com techies — the human species of the Bay Area have been well-documented, but information on the non-human dwellers of the bay itself has been left to scattered guidebooks, obscure blogs, and academic sources. Authors Rubissow Okamoto and Wong have collected a wealth of biological and environmental information in their book, published this November. The cross-country saga of the striped bass, the hidden beauty of eelgrass, the varied contentions of the California water wars are presented in highly readable, easily digestible sections. The emphasis here is on environmental impact and recent conservation developments — I did not know that it's officially dangerous to eat more than one pound a month of fish from the bay! — and the history of decades of restoration triumphs and setbacks is related sleekly and straightforwardly. Absorbing all the information in this illuminating primer helped me appreciate the seething loveliness and churning forces that make up the place I call home. (Marke B.)