Book In Progress

I’m going to take a break and tell you about the book, one I’ve been hinting at off and on for a few years now.

Its working title is “Deep Oakland” and it’s about this city, the ground that birthed and nurtured it, and the ways Oakland’s geology — and any city’s — matters to its people. It’s part Earth science, part history and part arm-waving talk by the side of a roadcut. Someone could write such a book about any city, but Oakland is an unusually good subject, with eleven chapters worth of examples.

“Deep Oakland” got its start a long time ago: in fact, one reason I started this blog, in 2007, was a naive idea that once I had enough posts I could just paste them together and have a good start on a book. No, doesn’t work that way. The first draft was finished four years ago, and draft six, the final draft, will be finished four months from now. How do I know that? The contract I’m about to sign says so. As I learned long ago writing geology-related piecework for the site now known as ThoughtCo, a manuscript is never done, just due.

The book will be published by a highly respected local press. Under its final title, whatever that is (presumably they’ll append a long subtitle), it will come out as a proper hardback in the spring of 2023. Be assured I will keep y’all fully informed as things progress.

There are some neat things about this project:

  • The first four drafts are completely different from the last two. My first efforts ended up being a geologizing manual for Oaklanders. Nevertheless the publisher liked what they saw and suggested that I submit something different. I looked at all the bits I had that weren’t fitting into that manuscript and accepted their challenge. The writing experience has been great. But the manual is still worth publishing, and it’s completely independent of the new “Deep Oakland.”
  • As many nonprofit publishers are doing, this publication will involve some fundraising on my part. And I’m up for that. I won’t start a formal campaign, with premiums and so on, until next year — there’s enough on my plate this year. But from now until then, any contributions that come in through the PayPal link will be dedicated to that purpose.
  • This blog is completely independent of the book; there’s been no cutting and pasting. Long-time readers will recognize the places I visit and some of the ideas I’ve espoused here, but the whole thing will be fresh, coherent and integrated. The publisher will bring in an expert illustrator, so there will be none of my phone-cam photos or bloggy graphics in it.

I’m excited. Stay tuned.

7 Responses to “Book In Progress”

  1. Charlotte Steinzig Says:

    This is terrific news. And in hardcover too. Born and raised in Oakland, on the Pryal estate whatever, I can hardly wait. I don’t use Paypal, so any other way to contribute?

  2. sam redlands Says:

    Oh yes, know the ground you stand on. I’m buying.

  3. Gen Katz Says:

    Good for you. I’ll buy.

  4. Mary Wood Says:


  5. Anna Engle Says:

    Can’t wait!

  6. glasspusher Says:

    I am totally buying this book!

  7. withak30 Says:

    Looking forward to whatever this project ends up being!

    For the record, I’ve always thought that “Roadside Geology of the Bay Area” would be pretty fun to have.

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