October 15, 2016, Saturday morning -- Reading Catherine Marshall and Maricela Oliva

In the Mission District
This is a photo from the publisher's website
He is reading Leadership for Social Justice: Making Revolutions in Education, by Catherine Marshall and Maricela Oliva.

Usually I remember to take a photo of the cover of the book. This time I forgot. I think it was the ear buds. I always feel a conscious that I'm interrupting someone who is wearing earbuds, and want to make the conversation as short as possible.  I did ask him if he had a favorite book or a favorite author, but he hesitated before answering, and then explained that he didn't want to give an answer without taking time to think about it. Most people are initially stumped when I ask them this question, and some give an answer, but it's always a tense moment. It's a big question they aren't expecting. I wonder, how many of the people who are able to give me an answer think of a different answer after we finish talking.


October 1, 2016, Sunday afternoon -- Reading Tina Fey

In the Mission District on a sunny morning

He is reading Bossy Pants, by Tina Fey. He started reading it while keeping company the person who is having the sidewalk sale. Something good he's read recently is Chrissie Hynde's autobiography, Reckless: My Life as a Pretender. The woman who was having the sale said something good she's read is Eat Like You Care: An Examination of the Morality of Eating Animals, by Gary L. Francione.


September 21, 2016, Wednesday morning -- Reading Toni Morrison

In the Financial District

She is reading Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison, for an English class.


September 22, 2016, Thursday evening -- Reading Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D.

Even after 10 years of photographing readers, I continue to be impressed by people coordinated enough to read while walking.

On Mission Street
He is reading Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, by Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D.. He's reading it because he gives talks on leadership.

His favorite book is The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho, because it's about the journey. I asked him if life's journey is a part of his talks and he said yes. He told me that part of his own personal journey has been standing still when faced with adversity. Sometimes it's about just not taking a step backwards.


September 11, 2016, Sunday afternoon -- Reading Robert Bly

At a taqueria in the Mission District
He is reading Iron John: A book about Men, by Robert Bly. His girlfriend is a therapist and counselor and he is interested in gender identity. The book uses mythology to talk about toxic masculinity in our society, how boys today lack of role models, and how our society has lost traditions to teach boys how to be men.

His current favorite writer is Anne Carson, an award winning Canadian translator, poet, and essayist, who has a background in the classics.


September 6, 2016, Tuesday afternoon -- Reading Bruce Tremper

At China Beach on a day warm enough to go swimming
He is reading Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain, by Bruce Tremper. He reads a lot of books about snow safety.

One of his favorite books is The Things They Carried, by Tim O'Brien, about what the soldiers carried with them in Vietnam. He said he usually does not like reading books with lists, but this book wasn't just a book of lists. It talked about the soldiers' whole lives.


Happy Labor Day! - no post today


August 24, 2016, Wednesday afternoon -- Reading Maggie Nelson

In the Mission District on a sunny afternoon, until Karl the fog creeps over the hill....
She is on vacation here, from Austria, and is reading The Argonauts, by Maggie Nelson, in English -- not her native language. Is it difficult? I asked and she said yes, but still called it pleasure reading.

She's taking a break from reading sociology texts in German for a Ph.D.  Her dissertation is about inequality in education in Europe.

While on vacation she first she tried reading Middlesex, but a friend recommended this -- an award-winning memoir of essays about being queer, non-binary, and starting a family -- and now she's almost finished and is ready to declare it her favorite book.


August 21, 2016, Sunday afternoon -- Reading Kevin Fedarko

On a sunny afternoon in Union Square
He is reading The Emerald Mile: The Epic Story of the Fastest Ride in History Through the Heart of the Grand Canyon, by Kevin Fedarko. This is his second time reading it. He's a whitewater kayaker and has been down the Colorado River before....but not as fast.

Since it was his second time reading it, I asked him if it was his favorite book and he said no. His favorite books change all the time. Something good he's read recently was The Passenger, a novel by Lisa Lutz, about a woman on the run who needs to constantly change her identity.


May 26, 2016, Thursday Morning -- Reading Renise Charles

I usually post pictures of other people reading, and I usually post pictures of people reading books (because I respect the commitment of taking a huge chunk of time to appreciate another person's writing), but I'm breaking both rules with this picture below. This is me reading a 5-minute story that I found at Cafe Zoetrope in San Francisco.
Cafe Zoetrope installed a story machine that was inspired by the ones in France, on train platforms, where you can print out a story that will take you the length of your wait to read.

This is a 5-minute story by Renise Charles and, after false starting once because one of my seat partners arrived, it took me exactly 5 minutes to read. Sometimes you just need a little something before take off before delving into the real entertainment (for me this flight it was the audio version of Fall of Giants, by Ken Follett.)
Thanks, Heather Bourbeau, for the heads up about the story machine!


August 5, 2016, Friday afternoon -- Reading D. H. Lawrence

At a sandwich shop in the Mission District

She is reading Women in Love, by D. H. Lawrence. She saw it at a bookstore, picked it up, started reading, and bought it. She's never read D. H. Lawrence before.

Her favorite book is The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas.


July 26, 2016, Tuesday evening -- Reading Alfie Kulzick

In the Mission District, at Amnesia, a bar that used to be called Chatterbox

She is reading Chatterbox: Biography of a Bar, San Francisco 1986-1990, by Alfie Kulzick. The bartender gave it to her to read. It's full of outrageous band photos with even more outrageous band names. I don't remember them. You'll have to go and check the book out yourself if you want to know. 

These days she's been reading short stories, most recently Nine Stories, by J.D. Salinger.

The picture of the bear, woman, and fish behind her is by Michael Garlington. The bartender gave me a card and I searched for it online, and discovered that Michael Garlington, and his team, was responsible for the Totem of Confessions, my favorite piece of artwork that I saw at Burning Man in 2015. 


No reader this week

Sometimes I ask people if I can photograph them reading and they say no. On Thursday night it happened at a restaurant in West Portal, where a woman eating soup and wearing sunglasses was reading a library book in the rays of the setting sun.

Sometimes I see a book, but there is no one reading it. This morning it was a paperback Sci Fi novel face down, with its pages spread in lieu of a bookmark, on the blanket of a homeless person sleeping next to Trader Joe's, but I didn't have time to linger, and hope they started reading again when they woke up.

Sometimes I wait until Friday or Saturday to start looking for readers to photograph and, in my normal day-to-day life, there is no one with a book. This afternoon I saw a man next to the Science parklet on Valencia Street bent over his cell phone, but I didn't know if it was a book, or something else that he was engaged with.

When I started this blog almost 10 years ago people didn't read books on cell phones. They had cell phones, but they weren't filled with enough distractions, or books, to make a physical book an unnecessary thing to carry.

What I'm trying to say is that it has gotten harder to wait until the last minute to come up with a blog post.


Sometime between 1888 and 1889, Reading author unknown

While I was in New York at the end of May, I visited the Met and saw this portrait of a reader, painted by the gentleman in the straw hat. The reader, according to the plaque on the wall, is Marie Ginoux, the proprietress of the Café du Gare in Arles.
The plaque doesn't tell the title of her book, but from the expression on her face, my guess is that it caused her to think about something in her own life. What I like best about reading is that it's a conversation between the reader and writer (I'm not sure who said that first). It looks like, in the moment van Gogh chose to capture, Marie Ginoux is having her say.


July 9, 2016, Saturday afternoon -- Reading James Patterson and Mark Sullivan

In downtown, Markleeville, California
She is reading The Games (Private), a novel by James Patterson and Mark Sullivan, while watching the Death Ride -- a 100+ mile bicycle ride up to 5 mountain passes. Her husband is participating in the race, and she's enjoying a day in the sun with her book. She's already read a few books on her vacation so far, and exchanges them in her condo book exchange.

James Patterson and Patricia Cornwell are her favorite authors. She's a chef and does not read about food on vacation.


July 3, 2016, Sunday afternoon -- Reading John Leppelman

In the Mission District
He is reading Blood on the Risers: An Airborne Soldier's Thirty-five Months in Vietnam, by John Leppelman. He said that it's a good book and everything that he's read so far is true, and he knows this because he was a medic in Vietnam. Usually, he says, 1/3 of a book is true, 1/3 of a book is false, and 1/3 is not important. A professor at Marquette University told him this and he's found it to be accurate.

Television, he said, is less true. He prefers radio to TV. He grew up in the Virgin Islands listening to The BBC and CBC (British Broadcasting and Canadian Broadcasting) and will never watch TV because of the propaganda.

He enjoys reading about science, philosophy, mysticism, the occult, and anything but European literature.


June 22, 2016, Wednesday evening -- Reading Benjamin Alire Sáenz

In the Mission District, walking to the BART station
He is reading Aristotle and Dante Discover the Universe, by Benjamin Alire Sáenz. It's a young adult novel. He said he picked it up because he was looking for a distraction and young adult novels are the best for that. It won the Stonewall Book Award in 2013.


June 19, 2016, Sunday afternoon -- Reading Emmanuel Carrère and Siobhan Dowd

In Dolores Park on a warm and sunny day
They are visiting from France and brought their library books with them.
The reader on the left is reading Le Royaume, by Emmanuel Carrère, her favorite author. The book is about the early days of Christianity.
The reader on the right is reading Sans Un Cri, by the British author, Siobhan Dowd. It's a young adult novel about an Irish teenager.


June 10, 2016, Friday afternoon -- Reading Cormac McCarthy

In the Mission District, waiting for his bus
He is reading All the Pretty Horses, by Cormac McCarthy. He picked it up because he liked the title.
Some of his favorite authors are Alexandre Dumas, Charles Dickens, William Faulkner, and John Steinbeck.


May 30, 2016, Monday afternoon -- Reading Siddhartha Mukherjee

In Times Square, New York City 
(I was there for a friend's wedding.)
She is reading The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, by Siddhartha Mukherjee. She's reading it because she is interested in biology and the author teaches at Columbia where she went to college. 

Her favorite author is Jon Krakauer, and her favorite book of his is Into Thin Air