Ticks, Golden State, and Musical Artistry

Kris Newby spins a conspiratorial tale about Lyme disease in Bitten; Marcus Thompson II goes deep on Kevin Durant in KD; and Barbara Higbie presents music for healing and renewal.


Bitten, The Secret History of Lyme Disease and Biological Weapons by Kris Newby (Harper Wave, 2019, $28.99, 318 pp.)

Ticks as weapons of the Cold War? That’s the premise of this conspiratorial-questioning book by Kris Newby, a Palo Alto science writer and a Lyme disease survivor. She introduces readers to a Swiss-American tick expert, Willy Burgdorfer, who identified in 1981 the bacterium thought to cause Lyme disease. Her graphic, descriptive writing makes looking through microscopes at microbes as interesting as sussing out clues to a murder mystery — especially the bomb she drops that Burgdorfer, near his death and suffering from Parkinson’s disease, said he believed tick-borne illnesses that started around Lyme, Conn., like Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and babesiois, were caused by a bioweapons release. Intriguing throughout.—Judith M. Gallman

KD, Kevin Durant’s Relentless Pursuit to Be the Greatest by Marcus Thompson II (Atria Books, 2019, $27, 244 pp.)

This is Thompson’s second Golden State Warriors book, and it has had the columnist for The Athletic busy talking about the trials and tribulations of Kevin Durant. A gifted storyteller, Thompson may know KD better than any journalist (Draymond Green vouches for him in a book blurb) and delights in showing off the nuanced sides of the enigmatic player, from humble beginnings to superstardom, twists and turns all the way. “He clings to his unalienable right to bite back, to question the status quo, to have flaws — all privileges granted to noncelebrities,” he wrote in the introduction, adding, “Durant feels the sting no matter who throws the dart. They come from everywhere, every day.” Catch Thompson at Moe’s Books in Berkeley on Thurday, June 20.—JMG

Resonance by Barbara Higbie, Slow Baby Music, Barbarahigbie.com

With each project, Barbara Higbie taps the flow of creativity and channels it into a specific expression of her multifaceted artistry, be it singer-songwriter, Celtic and bluegrass fiddler, Hills to Hollers vocal harmonizer, or solo pianist. Resonance is her most “Windham Hill-ish” recording since she was the first woman signed to that label in the 1980s. Resonance’s 10 original compositions were “created in the spirit of healing and renewal,” with such suggestive titles as “Morning on the Lake,” “Great Blue Heron,” “The Land,” “Generous Heart,” and “Made It Through.” Slow-paced and contemplative, their unabashedly beautiful melodies and harmonies might hint at Joni Mitchell, Terry Riley, “Shenandoah,” and “Greensleeves” but gain heft from Higbie’s dynamic pianism (and violin on one track) and the rich, moody, and detailed contributions of electric cellist Jami Sieber, cellist Mia Pixley, and percussionist Michaelle Goerlitz.—­Derk Richardson

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