Every once in awhile, there comes a beautiful work of art that gives rightful tribute to the place we call home.
Whether it comes in the form of song, literature, or art, these tributes depict more than the Golden Gate Bridge or the Transamerica Pyramid -- they depict San Francisco's character, energy, and diversity.
And Wendy MacNaughton's new work, Meanwhile in San Francisco: The City in Its Own Words, is a great addition to this list. Available as of today, this illustrated work of our City from Chronicle Books, depicts various aspects of life in S.F. -- the Civic Center Farmers market, the swimmers of the Dolphin Club, the staff of the San Francisco Library's main branch, and Muni drivers.
But instead of simply sketching these places and persons, she uses their own words to fuel the text. Our personal favorites include the Muni driver who gets paid about $30 an hour: "A dollar to drive and $29 to deal with people," and the security guard at the main library who has seen it all.
MacNaughton delves deeper into the City as readers flip through the pages -- for example, she finds out the names of all the bison in Golden Gate Park, the names of approximately 50 dogs she's encountered, and dissects the anatomy of the perfect Mission District burrito. There's even a map depicting the social groups found in Dolores Park, well, before the current remodeling.
The San Francisco-based illustrator has 176 pages of content but that is simply not enough to encompass the quirks and over the top personalities that encompass San Francisco. Even the book jacket unfolds into it's own map and acts as a topical table of contents, so that readers can located each chapter in the book in relation the geographic location.
Ultimately, MacNaughton's new book serves a double purpose, and both are equally valid. Meanwhile can be the perfect introductory course for people who are new to (or visiting) San Francisco; but it also serves as the perfect love letter to San Francisco and acts as a reminder for all of us who live here to truly embrace, appreciate, and stare longingly at our home in the hopes to witness its true beauty.
This sketchbook brings to mind that famous quote by columnist Herb Caen: "If I do go to heaven, I'm going to do what every San Franciscan does who goes to heaven. He looks around and says, 'It ain't bad, but it ain't San Francisco.'"
You can buy the book on Amazon, but we suggest you pick it up at a local bookstore.