Wonderments of the East Bay

Celebrating eighty years of wonder at the East Bay Regional Parks

The East Bay Regional Parks abound in wonderments: animals, plants, sounds, geological formations, histories, and languages that stimulate our curiosity and expand our capacity for awe. In exquisite, lyrical essays, Sylvia Linsteadt and Malcolm Margolin—with help from their friends—revel in these wonderments.

  • Vernal pools burst into bloom in springtime, transforming cracked earth into wetlands crowded with wildflowers and fairy shrimp.
  • Marsh wrens trill reedy tunes from their 200-song repertoire.
  • Stretches of rock wall span the hills, perplexing any who endeavor to explain their purpose.
  • A volcano lies toppled just a few miles from the core of downtown Oakland.
  • And more…

Drawing from scientific fact, human history, photography, and literature, this exploration of natural areas of San Francisco’s East Bay gently situates us in the area’s “magnificent and fleeting tangle of life.” The authors assure us that Wonderments of the East Bay will be as much fun to read as it was for them to write.

Wallace Stegner once wrote, “No place, not even a wild place, is a place until it has had that human attention that at its highest reach we call poetry.” Wonderments of the East Bay pays homage to the curiosities, miracles, and mysteries hidden in plain sight in the East Bay Regional Parks. Trail guides are for the feet. This is a book for the heart.

About the Authors

Sylvia LinsteadtSylvia Linsteadt followed coyote tracks all the way back to her native Bay Area after attending Brown University, where she studied literary arts. Her books include Tatterdemalion (Unbound, forthcoming) and Wonderments of the East Bay (Heyday, 2014). Her work—both fiction and nonfiction—explores the realms of deep ecology, history, and myth. She runs two stories-by-mail projects, The Gray Fox Epistles and The Leveret Letters, and in 2014 her manuscript The Grey Fox Epistles received the James D. Phelan Award from the San Francisco Foundation. Her work has been published in New California Writing 2013, The Dark Mountain Project, and News from Native California. Learn more at www.sylvialinsteadt.com.
Malcolm MargolinMalcolm Margolin is the publisher emeritus of Heyday, an independent nonprofit publisher and unique cultural institution, which he founded in 1974. Margolin is author of several books, including The Ohlone Way: Indian Life in the San Francisco–Monterey Bay Area, named by the San Francisco Chronicle as one of the hundred most important books of the twentieth century by a western writer. He has received dozens of prestigious awards among which are the Chairman's Commendation from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Fred Cody Award Lifetime Achievement from the San Francisco Bay Area Book Reviewers Association, the Helen Crocker Russell Award for Community Leadership from the San Francisco Foundation, the Carey McWilliams Award for Lifetime Achievement from the California Studies Association, an Oscar Lewis Award for Western History from the Book Club of California, a Hubert Bancroft Award from Friends of the Bancroft Library, a Cultural Freedom Award from the Lannan Foundation, and a Distinguished Service Award from the Society of Professional Journalists. He helped found the Bay Nature Institute and the Alliance for California Traditional Artists.