Left Coast Beasties

2 Feb

Rebecca Solnit is no one-trick pony. Even a cursory look at her bibliography makes clear her wide range of interests and from which you may correctly surmise her originality—I mean, A History Of Walking? A Field Guide to Getting Lost? ( since she her web site doesn’t list them all— I will):

Secret Exhibition: Six California Artists of the Cold War Era (City Lights Books)
Savage Dreams: A Journey Into the Landscape Wars of the American West (Sierra Club Books)
A Book of Migrations: Some Passages in Ireland (Verso)
Wanderlust: A History of Walking (Viking)
Hollow City: The Siege of San Francisco and the Crisis of American Urbanism co-authored and photographed by Susan Schwartzenberg (Verso)
As Eve Said to the Serpent: On Landscape, Gender, and Art (University of Georgia Press)
River of Shadows: Eadweard Muybridge and the Technological Wild West (Viking)
Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities (Nation Books,)
A Field Guide to Getting Lost (Penguin)
Yosemite in Time: Ice Ages, Tree Clocks, Ghost Rivers, with Mark Klett and Byron Wolfe, (Trinity University Press)
After the Ruins, 1906 and 2006: Rephotographing the San Francisco Earthquake and Fire co-authored by Philip L. Fradkin, Mark Klett, and Michael Lundgren (University of California Press)
Storming the Gates of Paradise: Landscapes for Politics (University of California Press)
A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities that Arise in Disasterr (Viking)
Infinite City: A San Francisco Atlas (University of California Press)

Her latest effort is a collaboration with illustrator Mona Caron, A California Bestiary (Heyday Books, 2010) spurred by a partnership project between Heyday and the Oakland Zoo which was developing an educational exhibit called “California!” (exclamation point theirs) “celebrating native California flora and fauna by focusing on conservation and cultural importance.”

Solnit and Caron reportedly spent countless hours at the Zoo involved in all manner of interactions and activities, even ( we are told) witnessing a hedge hog dental extraction. And, as to the contents of this handsome well-printed tome:

The animals in this book were chosen to reflect the enormous diversity of California’s many ecological zones, the broad range of survival status, from severely threatened to thriving:and the pure glorious presence of so many kinds of extraordinary other Californians—though picking twelve meant leaving out pipevine swallowtails, Steller’s jays, kangaroo rats, coyotes, red tailed hawks snowy plovers and other creatures dear to the author’s hearts. The medieval bestiaries were books about animals seen through a window of wonder, and A California Bestiary is a twenty-first century endeavor to work in that vein.

One Response to “Left Coast Beasties”


  1. Good and Plenty « ourmaninboston - February 4, 2011

    […] of Humphrey Bogart by Stefan Kanfer (Knopf) The Future of Power by Joseph Nye (Public Affairs ) A California Bestiary by Rebecca Solnit (Heyday) Word on The Street by Richard Nagler and Foreword by Peter Selz (Heyday) […]

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