New Books from Bay Area Writers
Gulp, Adventures on the Alimentary Canal
by Mary Roach
(W.W. Norton & Company, 2013, $26.95, pp. 348)
Best-selling Oakland-based funny girl Mary Roach makes the must-read list again, this time with her nerdy and not-for-the-squeamish science tome about all things digestive related. She’s imaginatively offbeat, a great reporter and researcher, an accomplished writer, and the master of humor-filled footnotes and asides, all of which make for a compelling read. Who cares if the subject matter is gross and yucky? She writes about eating, digesting, and eliminating fearlessly and funnily, providing entry into the literal ins and outs of nourishment and sustenance like no one else can.
The Unity of Truth, Solving the Paradox of Science and Religion
by Allen A. Sweet, C. Frances Sweet,
and Fritz Jaensch
(iUniverse, Inc., 2012, $19.95, pp. 225)
Religion and science—two great tastes that taste great together. And also the topic of a new book from Fritz Jaensch and Alameda husband-and-wife authors Allen and Frances Sweet. The three use the tenets of physics, theology, and mathematics to make their case that science and religion coexist and are not mutually exclusive. As they write, “This book is dedicated to all who have felt, at some moment in their lives, that they must check their brain at the door or their church and/or felt that they must keep their religious faith to themselves so their scientific colleagues would not label them brainless, or worse.” Amen.
Teardown: Memoir of a Vanishing City
by Gordon Young
(University of California Press, 2013, $29.95, pp. 276)
Pangs of youthful nostalgia and grown-up civic-minded earnestness to do something drive San Francisco writer Gordon Young back to his blighted, down-on-its-luck hometown of Flint, Mich., where he encounters one sad situation after another, emblematic of his community’s tragic decline. But Young, a senior lecturer in communications at Santa Clara University, hangs in there, rubs elbows with the peeps, befriends an odd set of characters, and ultimately conveys a portrait of Flint’s fortitude and resourcefulness in an optimistic light—lessons to be learned from this trip home.