November 18, 2015, Wednesday Evening -- Reading Haruki Murakami

Leaving the BART station
She is reading The Wind -Up Bird Chronicle, by Haruki Murakami. It was recommended by her sister-in-law and she had a heard a lot of people talking about it. However, although she's almost finished, she doesn't love it.

Her favorite author is Kurt Vonnegut.


November 6, 2015, Friday morning -- Reading Jennifer Egan

Where North Beach, the Financial District, and Chinatown intersect, reading a book where the short story and novel intersect

He was walking down the street while reading and when I stopped him and asked my question. He looked at me for a moment and laughed. He said that I'd photographed him before. It was about 18 months earlier, he said, a few months after he'd moved to San Francisco. He'd been reading at a coffee shop in the SoMa. I couldn't remember anything except that the book had a racy cover, and the sun was in his eyes when I took the photo. Here's the post.

This time around, in the shade of the FedEx truck, he said he had been reading the classics, but is taking a break from them. He's not exactly slumming it, though, reading a Pulitzer Prize winner -- A Visit from the Goon Squad, by Jennifer Egan.


November 5, 2015, Thursday afternoon, Reading Edward Rutherfurd

In the Mission District

He is reading New York, by Edward Rutherfurd. He was talking to his mother about books the other day and she recommended this and, he said, he's enjoying the ride. Before this he was reading Pema Chödrön, Rumi, Suzuki (I didn't write it down and I can't remember if he said D.T. Suzuki or Shunryū Suzuki), and other books related to Buddhist thought. After reading from this genre for so long, reading fiction brought something fresh to his life. He said he's planning on reading more fiction in the future.


November 1, 2015, Sunday afternoon, Reading Carlos Castaneda

On Valencia Street
He's reading A Separate Reality: Further Conversations with Don Juan, by Carlos Castaneda. Castaneda is, he said, an anthropologist and a shaman. He found the book on the street.

His favorite author right now is Boethius, a Roman writer who died in AD 524, who, he said, synthesized Christianity and Plato's philosophy together with mystical thinking.


October 16, 2015, Friday evening -- She is reading many authors, edited together by Erick Lyle

Sitting in the beautiful, mural-rich Balmy Alley
She is reading Streetopia, edited by Erick Lyle. It's about the Streetopia exhibition in the Tenderloin neighborhood in San Francisco that happened in 2012. Artists got the community involved and turned abandoned storefronts into interactive art places, celebrating the Tenderloin as a neighborhood.

Lately, a couple of her favorite books have been Home Ground: A Guide to the American Landscape Paperback, edited by Barry Lopez & Debra Gwartney, and The Place That Inhabits Us: Poems from the San Francisco Bay Watershed, edited by Sixteen Rivers Press, with a foreword by Robert Haas.


October 14, 2015, Wednesday evening -- Reading Stephen Kinzer

I am always impressed when I see people walking while reading. It seems to say that they love what the author is saying so much, that would risk walking into an uncovered utility hole, just to keep on being in the author's thoughts. Or, maybe these readers are just more coordinated than I am.

In the Mission District, walking while reading
We had a very short conversation. She is reading All the Shah's Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror, by Stephen Kinzer. One of her favorite authors is Rashid Khalidi, a Palestinian-Lebanese author who is a professor at Columbia.


October 11, 2015, Sunday afternoon -- Reading Marina Keegan

At Dolores Park
He is reading The Opposite of Loneliness: Essays and Stories, by Marina Keegan. He was first introduced to the author's work shortly after she died in a car accident, when his friends recommended some of her short stories and essays.  Later, this book was published posthumously and he found himself wanting to read even more of her writing.

Keegan recalled being paid $100 to attend a recruiting session at Yale by a hedge fund: “I got this uneasy feeling that the man in the beautiful suit was going to take my Hopes and Dreams back to some lab to figure out the best way to crush them.” (from an article by Nicholas Kristof, published in the New York Times)

His favorite author is Jorge Luis Borges. One of his favorite Borges books is The Garden of Forking Paths.


October 1, 2015, Thursday morning, Reading Gordon Chin

I always love it when I find readers who are reading about the big issues of the day, like the reader from September 19th who was reading about migrant issues, and this reader, who was reading about how neighborhoods have responded to gentrification.

In the Mission District 
She is reading Building Community, Chinatown Style, by Gordon Chin. She said that what Chinatown has faced can be considered when dealing with gentrification in the SoMa and Mission. She said it wasn't the same, of course, as in Chinatown, but it can be learned from.

One of her favorite authors that she's been reading lately is Jhumpa Lahiri.


September 19, 2015, Saturday afternoon -- Reading Jonny Steinberg

At a park on Valencia Street
She is reading A Man of Good Hope, by Jonny Steinberg. It was a gift from a friend who is working in Africa on migrant issues, and gave this book to 5 of her friends to help them better understand what is going on concerning migration. In this book a boy from Somalia leaves his home after his family is killed in a civil war.

Before this she read The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, by Michelle Alexander, a dark book about racism. Recently she also read The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, by Junot Díaz.


September 15, 2015, Tuesday evening -- Reading Peter Van Buren

In front of a bookstore on Valencia Street
He is reading We Meant Well: How I helped lose the battle for the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people, by Peter Van Buren, which he found in the free bin next to the door.

He said that some of the best books he's read have come from the free bin. One of these was a history of the French Revolution, which was written in 1900 by a University of Chicago professor. He said that it was very readable, that you might think that the language would carry or that the points made would be made in different ways than now, but he said that it was easy to read as any book today.

He believes in Bernie Sanders.


September 9, 2015, Wednesday evening, Reading Sarah Hepola

At a wine bar in the Dogpatch
She is reading Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget, by Sarah Hepola. Some good books she's read recently are 10th of December, short stories by George Saunders and Townie, A Memoir, by Andre Dubus III that she mostly liked because she grew up in Massachusetts. She also loved Being There, by Jerzy Kosiński.


August 19, 2015, Wednesday afternoon -- Reading Mordecai Richler

At Union Square
The tattoo on her wrist refers to the philosopher Hegel's "spiral view of history," which has to do with the idea of freedom and conflict.  (I think?)

She is reading, in the translated Italian, Barney's Version, by the Canadian author, Mordecai Richler. She says she doesn't really like it that much, but she's just trying to finish it.

She's visiting here from Italy. Her favorite neighborhoods are the Mission (my neighborhood!), as well as Chinatown and North Beach. Her favorite Italian author is Italo Calvino (especially Le Cosmicomiche) and she also likes the Spanish author Alejandro Jodorowsky.


August 18, 2015, Tuesday afternoon -- Reading Danica Chandler

In the Mission District

He is chilling on a hot day, reading the Fox Creek series, by Danica Chandler, that he downloaded to his Kindle.


August 17, 2015, Monday afternoon -- Reading Ed Kugler

Across from Union Square
He is reading Dead Center: A Marine Sniper's Two-Year Odyssey in the Vietnam War, by Ed Kugler. The last time I saw this reader was in February, when I photographed him about a block from here. Here's the post. Since then he has been reading James Patterson's Women's Murder Club, has been trying to get into Sci Fi, with authors like H.G. Wells, and he's found temporary housing and is awaiting a background check for a job doing street cleaning. Congratulations!! San Francisco is a tough city to break into. He's originally from Massachusetts and came here on a road trip.


August 9, 2015, Sunday afternoon -- Reading John J. Palmer

On a sunny Sunday afternoon
He is reading How to Brew: Everything You Need to Know to Brew Beer Right the First Time, by John J. Palmer. He had heard of the author before, and had plans to brew beer, and found the book at the Bernal Hill garage sale yesterday.

Some of his favorite writers are the Beats. He likes Kerouac, and Brautigan, especially Trout Fishing in America.


August 9, 2015, Sunday afternoon -- Reading Nick Offerman

At the park on a summer day that feels like summer

She is reading Gumption: Relighting the Torch of Freedom with America's Gutsiest Troublemakers, by Nick Offerman, the actor from Parks and Recreation. She found the book in a free library box in the Castro and is almost done with it.

Her favorite book is A Man Without A Country: A Memoir of Life in George W. Bush's America, by Kurt Vonnegut. She had already read many of his books when she'd read it and she really liked how personal and conversational it was. She said that it made her feel justified in being a cynical optimist and that it's the last book he wrote before he died.


August 2, 2015 -- Sunday afternoon -- Reading Karl Ove Knausgaard

I tried looking for a reader this afternoon on my way home from the gym, but if someone was reading a book, I couldn't see it. At all the cafes, everyone was on their phone. Possibly reading World Peace, but I wasn't going to ask. So, I took a selfie.

In my kitchen, while making black eyed peas
Reading My Struggle, by Karl Ove Knausgaard, which I inherited from a dear friend who was cleaning out her bookshelf before moving.

This second picture is a little out of focus because either my camera got steamy and/or the afternoon sun was coming through the window.
While I was cooking I made a sweeping hand movement with the colander and broke a wine glass near the black eyed peas. At this point I stopped adding new ingredients into the pot and, while cooking read and reflected on whether I would eat the pot or not. There were no chards in the bite I was sampling, though now, after eating two bowls very mindfully, I'm considering whether the $3.50 I spent on ingredients is worth questioning every bite.


June 17, 2015 - Reading author unknown

Usually I get closer to interview and ask readers for permission to photograph them, but I saw these readers at a distance on my way home from work and only took the photo.

It's a woman and a child. I really liked that they were sitting in the middle of a playing field. I hadn't intended on sharing it on my blog, but I really enjoy the photo and hope that you do, too.


July 19, 2015, Sunday evening -- Reading the zine Skate Jawn

On Valencia Street

He is reading the zine Skate Jawn. Here's the Skate Jawn website.


July 12, 2015, Sunday morning -- Reading Joseph Kanon

At the Denver airport (where I spent about 15 hours en route to and from a visit home to Montana)

He is reading Istanbul Passage, a spy novel set in1945, by Joseph Kanon, for his book club. The last great book he read was All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr. It's also set around the time of World War II and tells story of two children, including that of a 7-year-old girl who is blind. It won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for fiction.