Celtic sounds, Steph Curry analysis, and animal tales to entertain the masses.
Deal by Wake the Dead (Celtoid, WakeTheDead.org)
At its inception 17 years ago, this ingeniously named East Bay band hewed to its billing as “the World’s Only Celtic All-Star Grateful Dead Jam Band” by creating medleys of Dead songs and traditional jigs, reels, and airs. Gradually, the septet slipped some bluegrass, R&B, and Bob Dylan into the mix. As the Summer of Love’s 50th anniversary approaches, such late ’60s classics as Cream’s “White Room,” the Youngbloods’ “Darkness, Darkness,” and Buffalo Springfield’s “Bluebird” get Celtified by Danny Carnahan, Sylvia Herold, Paul Kotapish, Maureen Brennan, Cindy Browne, Kevin Carr, and Brian Rice. It’s the only album on which you’ll ever hear “Dark Star” segue to the Beatles’ “And Your Bird Can Sing” by way of “Maids of Michelstown.” But listen to Wake the Dead’s fourth album not for novelty but rather for brilliant instrumental blends and beautiful singing. — Derk Richardson
Golden: The Miraculous Rise of Steph Curry by Marcus Thompson II (Touchstone, April 2017, 249 pp., $26)
During the past several years, Oakland resident Marcus Thompson II of the Bay Area News Group has become the best sports columnist in the region. And there’s no writer more plugged in to the Golden State Warriors and its star point guard Steph Curry. In his new book—a must-read for both casual and diehard hoops fans alike—Thompson distills the essence of Curry, the personality traits that make him a ruthless competitor and the greatest three-point marksman of all time, while also being perhaps the nicest guy with the nicest wife and family in all of sports: a megastar who sometimes has to be prodded into the limelight, but then in a flash will remind you why he’s the Baby-Faced Assassin. — Robert Gammon
Natural Attraction: A Field Guide to Friends, Frenenmies, and Other Symbiotic Animal Relationships by Iris Gottlieb (Sasquatch Books, May 2017, 144 pp., $18.95)
This info-packed field guide that examines how animals get along as friends, frenemies, and enemies is full of hard-to-believe facts about the symbiotic nature of animals and their intertwinings. The mongoose and the warthog, ants and aphids, vampire bats and livestock: Your last relationship was not this weird, promise. “We need each other. Even when, sometimes, we also eat each other,” the author, Iris Gottlieb writes. A layman scientist with a shark teeth collection, Gottlieb is an illustrator at the Oakland Museum of California and the San Francisco Exploratorium’s Tinkering Studio. Her lifelike, detailed images, breezy prose, quirky headers, and clever “takeways” make each entry a joy to consider. — Judith M. Gallman
Published online on April 3, 2017 at 8:00 a.m.