Tracking Pirates, Hiking Muir, and Living Paleo

Travel to India, see the John Muir Trail, and eat like a cavewoman.


Pirate Vishnu by Gigi Pandia (Henry Press, 2014, $15.95, 306 pp.)

Pre–1906 earthquake San Francisco, as encapsulated in a treasure map of the Barbary Coast, figures prominently in mystery writer Gigi Pandia’s latest Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery. The globe-trotting Indiana Jonesish historian is off to the southern tip of India with said map in hand after a tip from lawyer Steven Healy, who reveals that Jones’ namesake great-granduncle drew the map, apparently leading to Pirate Vishnu treasures. Our plucky heroine is on her own after Healy dies, with police suspecting her. Another murder, a love triangle, and suspense surface in the hunt to decipher the map. Pandia is also Bay Area photographer and graphic designer. Look for Pandia’s The Accidental Alchemist in January and another Treasure Hunt Mystery in March.

John Muir Trail: The Essential Guide to Hiking America’s Most Famous Trail, 5th Edition, by Elizabeth Wenk (Wilderness Press, 2014, $18.95, 282 pp.)

Lizzy Wenk updates her guide to the 220-mile John Muir Trail with 16 new topographical maps she executed, 15 excursions to nearby panoramic peaks, and more details than ever, right down to campsites and food-storage boxes. That means reliable info on resupply points and access towns as well as intricacies about the trail and how to maneuver it. Traversing from Yosemite Valley to Mount Whitney, the JMT wanders through the great cliffs, abundant lakes, and deep canyons of California’s High Sierra, and Wenk knows well the punishing and remote territory, from Happy Isles to Whitney Portal.

Against All Grain by Danielle Walker (Victory Belt Publishing, 2014, $34.95, 336 pp.)

San Francisco food blogger Danielle Walker of Against All Grain sets out to make the gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo diet simple for everyone every day in her cookbook. Diagnosed with ulcerative colitis at 22, she embraced a grain-free lifestyle and found health and thus embarked on a mission to help eaters emerge from the world of bland diets into a healthy one with tons of options. On top of that, she wants to share “simple meals for everyday life,” and this collection includes 100 recipes from frittatas to biscuits. There are helpful sections aimed at newbies on what to eat and avoid, easy substitutions, when to buy organic or conventionally grown, grocery lists, and meal planning.

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