Self-Haters, Animal Lovers, and Trendsetters

New books by Bay Area writers Anneli Rufus, Tai Moses, and Melissa Davis and Kristen Loken.



Zooburbia: Meditations on the Wild Animals Among Us by Tai Moses (Parallax Press, 2014, $14.95, 272 pp.)

Oakland writer Tai Moses has produced a lovely collection of personal essays that contemplate where the lives of humans and animals intersect—zooburbia, she terms it. Any animal-lover who picks up her book will be captivated immediately, following Moses through padlocked paddocks and pet stores as she remembers poignant encounters and emotional moments connected to the creatures she has known, loved, and learned from. Her writing is descriptive and contemplative but spirited and engaging. Each essay stands alone yet works together, largely because of the author’s uncanny ability to peer through the layers of animal-human relationships without permanently disturbing them.


Unworthy: How to Stop Hating Yourself by Anneli Rufus (Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin, 2014, $19.23, 264 pp.)

Here’s some news for anyone who has ever suffered from low self-esteem: This book will help you. Anneli Rufus of Berkeley, a frequent and much beloved contributor to Telegraph Media publications, becomes a sympathetic, encouraging cheerleader for the self-loathing set without being preachy or even overtly cheerful. Instead she plies incisive wit, self-deprecating humor, and consistent charm through shockingly honest revelations from her formative years, which lead to 40-plus years of self-hating, to provide a framework for self-despisers to use in rehabbing their self-esteem. You may not love yourself at the end of the book, but you’ll definitely like yourself some, and that’s a big step in the right direction for self-haters.


This Is Oakland: A Guide to City’s Most Interesting Places by Melissa Davis with photography by Kristen Loken (Acorn Press, 2014, $34.99, 201 pp.)

What does your Oakland look like? Journalist and PR professional Melissa Davis and talented photographer Kristen Loken, both Oaklanders, dub 90 of their favorite spots the city’s hottest things going in this photo-heavy paean to Tha Town. The book takes a neighborhood approach, concentrating on the trendiest shops, restaurants, venues, and attractions in seven ’hoods (Temescal, Downtown and Old Oakland, Uptown, Rockridge, Jack London District, Grand Lake and Lake Merritt, and Piedmont Avenue). It’s a vibrant, albeit highly selective, portrait that paints Oakland as hip, happening, and fashionable.

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