Best of the Bay 2011: BEST ATLAS OF OURSELVES

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We couldn't pass it around fast enough. Rebecca Solnit's Infinite City, the SF intellectual's cartographic wonderpiece of Bay Area history and emotion, swept a large part of the Guardian staff off our feet, so pleased were we by its 22 out-of-the-box renderings of the hills and valleys we work and play on. Sites of gay struggle superimposed with the natural habitats of butterflies; a comparison of how identities shift (in this case, Solnit's and Mission District performance artist Guillermo Gomez Peña's) between neighborhoods like Pac Heights and the Sunset — a city can't be defined by Muni maps alone. Solnit's book, which features deeply researched essays to accompany each map, showed us new roads toward understanding the Bay Area.

www.rebeccasolnit.com