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Allusion is not Illusion

You'll pry my books off my cold, dead body. By the time you shift them all I'll be flat and dessicated.

Currently reading

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Black Lamb and Grey Falcon (Penguin Classics)
Rebecca West, Christopher Hitchens
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Susanna Clarke
Already Dead
Charlie Huston
The Rings of Saturn
W.G. Sebald, Michael Hulse
Lady Audley's Secret
Mary Elizabeth Braddon, David Skilton
Unequal Protection: How Corporations Became "People" - And How You Can Fight Back
Thom Hartmann
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Pat Murphy
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Martin Millar
City by the Bay: A Magical Journey Around San Francisco - Tricia Brown I love Kleven's art, and I love San Francisco. I therefore expected to love this book. I did enjoy it, but not as much as other things she's illustrated. Her super-detailed, chaotic, colorful style didn't really capture the way my home town feels to me. Yes, there are chaotic and colorful elements, but there are also the fog, and parks and hills, and nature and scenery and old houses. There were times I when would walk for hours just looking and thinking, and only pass other solitary walkers doing the same, outside but private in their own heads. You don't get any sense of that possibility in this book, it looks like the entire city is a non-stop crowded street party.

A lot of that is the places selected -- pretty much all touristy parts of town. And safer parts, too, where visitors won't have to explain gay sex, drug abuse, or shouting crazy street people to their kids. That really seems to be what the book is meant for, introducing kids to locations in San Francisco before a family trip. For that it probably works well. There is also an appendix with facts about the city and other places to visit. This last is a bit out of date; for instance, the Musee Mechanique moved from Ocean Beach to the wharf some years back, when the Cliff House was being remodeled yet again. So do double-check this stuff if you're actually visiting.

If you're not planning a trip, I would still recommend this book for children who like the "Where's Waldo" type of illustration where they can search for objects in the images.