Books by the Bay: "Water 4.0" brings readers up to date on life's most precious resource
03/03/2014 12:00:00 PM PST
03/07/2014 04:29:53 PM PST
There's a wealth of information in this month's nonfiction new releases by Bay Area authors, from David Sedlak's fascinating history of public water systems to a concise introduction to quantum mechanics co-authored by Leonard Susskind and Art Friedman. In between, a spiritual memoir by Sara Miles and poetry by Alejandro Murguia take readers to the heart of San Francisco's Mission district. And Berkeley author Galadrielle Allman delivers a biographical remembrance of her late father, legendary guitarist Duane Allman. "Water 4.0: The Past, Present, and Future of the World's Most Vital Resource" by David Sedlak (Yale University Press, $28.50, 332 pages) Water is big news these days, and with California experiencing one of its worst droughts in decades, state and local government officials are beginning to consider new solutions. In this engaging and informative book, UC Berkeley engineering professor David Sedlak offers a wide-ranging survey of water systems. Getting water to people has always been a challenge, he writes, beginning his history in ancient Rome with a section titled Water 1.0. In Water 2.0, he covers early developments in water treatment systems (usually filtration or chlorine, or a combination thereof), and Water 3.0 reveals the inside story on the messy business of sewage treatment plants. Sedlak brings the reader current in Water 4.0, discussing conservation, desalination and -- gasp -- technologies that turn treated sewage into drinking water. The time to consider our options is now, he writes; water, after all, is "the essential ingredient of life." "City of God: Faith in the Streets" by Sara Miles (Jericho Books, $20, 224 pages) San Francisco author Sara Miles spends most of her time in the city's Mission district; as founder and director of The Food Pantry and director of ministry at St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church, she regularly ventures out into the neighborhood to care for poor, aging and ill parishioners. Since 2010, she's been part of a group that offers ashes outside on Ash Wednesday; this slim but powerful book recalls her experiences on Ash Wednesday in 2012. Miles, whose previous books include "Jesus Freak" and "Take This Bread: A Radical Conversion," evokes her environment in vivid detail, from the Mission's street people and food vendors to its health workers and Santeria stores. "For me, living in the Mission is a spiritual practice," she writes, and her patience, gratitude and commitment are on every page. "Stray Poems" by Alejandro Murguia (City Lights, $9.95, 110 pages) Moving from Miles' matter-of-fact prose to Alejandro Murguia's deeply expressive poetry, readers can get another view of San Francisco's Mission in this newly released volume by the city's first Latino poet laureate. The poems, composed over the past 12 years, range from English to Spanish, humorous to heartfelt. They're wonderful, and Murguia dedicates the book to the Mission district community. He'll read from his work Thursday at Alley Cat Books in San Francisco. "Please Be With Me: A Song for My Father, Duane Allman" by Galadrielle Allman (Spiegel and Grau, $28, 400 pages) Berkeley author Galadrielle Allman was only 2 years old when her father, famed guitarist Duane Allman, was killed in a motorcycle accident. In this book, she pays tribute to his memory while sifting through the extended family legacy that continues to shape her life. Included are photos and excerpts from her father's letters and interviews with musicians John Hammond, Bonnie Bramlett, Boz Scaggs and, of course, Duane's brother, keyboardist Gregg Allman. At the time of his death, in 1971, Allman was 24 years old and had established a stellar career as the founder and leader of the Allman Brothers Band; this year marks the band's 45th anniversary. "Please Be With Me" evokes a wistful, elegiac atmosphere; fans of the '70s music scene may find it indispensable. Hear the author read from the book March 18 at Books Inc. in San Francisco. "Quantum Mechanics: The Theoretical Minimum" by Leonard Susskind and Art Friedman (Basic Books, $26.99, 384 pages) Stanford physics professor Leonard Susskind scored a surprise hit in 2013 with "The Theoretical Minimum." The book, an introduction to classical mechanics, became a national best-seller; this follow-up volume, the second in a series, tackles the math and science of quantum physics. Susskind, whose Continuing Studies lectures at Stanford are popular on YouTube, co-wrote the book with one of his former students, Art Friedman; the goal, the authors explain, "is to make a difficult subject as simple as possible, but no simpler, and we hope to have a little fun along the way."
Contact Georgia Rowe at email@example.com.