October 27, 2018, Saturday afternoon -- Reading Edinburgh

At PianFrancisco, my new favorite San Francisco thing -- a view of the city, a piano, and people singing (the pianist was amazing)
She is reading Edinburgh, a novel by Alexander Chee. She said that it is devastatingly sad. It's about a Korean American boy being sexually abused by a choir director, and it is an important Asian American novel, as well as an important LGBTQ novel.

Like many people when I ask them about their favorite books/authors, she was overcome by the difficulty of naming her favorites and not leaving anyone out. She has so many favorite authors, including Elena Ferrante, Ursula K. Le Guin, and Yiyun Li.
Yes, that is a bear giving a bear hug in the background. It was just a few days before Halloween.


October 26, 2018, Friday evening -- Reading Zadie Smith

At Vesuvio in North Beach
He is reading White Teeth, by Zadie Smith. He's been meaning to read it for ages, and has read the first 140 pages today. While he was carrying it around town (he's visiting here from the UK) he said that lots of people came up to him and wanted to talk to him about the book. He said the book reminds him of Santanic Verses, by Salman Rushdie, because of the way the books deal with integration.

His favorite author is Salman Rushdie, and Midnight's Children is his favorite Salman Rushdie novel. He read it for the first time while he was living in India. Another favorite book is The Unbearable Lightness of Being, by Milan Kundera.


October 17, 2018, Wednesday morning -- Reading Nnedi Okorafor

At a coffee shop in the Mission District
She is reading Akata Witch, a fantasy young adult novel set in Nigeria, by Nnedi Okorafor, which she got at Borderlands books in the neighborhood. Most of the books she reads she gets from either Borderlands or Dogeared Books, down the street. She also really likes N.K. Jemisin, another science fiction and fantasy writer.


October 14, 2018, Sunday morning -- Reading John C. Maxwell

At a Chinese food and donut shop in the Mission District
He is reading Liderazgo EFICAZ: Cómo influir en los demás, (in English this translates into Effective Leadership: How to Influence others) by John C. Maxwell, who is a pastor and leadership expert. This is his second time reading it. His favorite book is the Bible.


October 9, 2018, Tuesday afternoon -- Reading J.D. Salinger

In the Mission District
He is reading The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger. He reads it from time to time, to get away from his phone.  His dad gave him this book five years ago and his uncle gave it to his dad. A note in the back cover from his uncle to his dad says, "I tried to find you a hard-back, kick ass copy of this classic, but no luck; instead you get the cheesiest copy I've ever seen." and thanks him for being a good brother.


October 4, 2018, Thursday evening -- Reading Richard Wright

At the BART Station
She is reading Native Son, by Richard Wright. She didn't expect it to be so vulnerable, rough, and  with sharp edges.
One of her favorite authors is Sandra Cisneros. She got hooked by reading Woman Hollering Creek, and she also adores her memoir, A House of My Own: Stories from My Life.


September 30, 2018, Sunday evening -- Reading Herodotus

At a coffee shop in the Mission District
He is reading Herodotus' Histories, Book 1, by Herodotus, in the ancient Greek, with the help of a Greek - English dictionary. He's also read Sophocles, Xenophon, Plato, and Aristotle in the ancient Greek. The last thing he read, that wasn't in ancient Greek, was The Aeneid, by Virgil, in the original Latin. He enjoys reading in other languages to expand his mind. Latin and Greek, he said, are profoundly alien and that reading them can be mind bending.


September 16, 2018, Sunday evening -- Reading the authors of the Chapo Trap House

At Precita Park
He is reading, and thoroughly enjoying, even though the sun is just about gone for the day,  The Chapo Guide to Revolution: A Manifesto Against Logic, Facts, and Reason, by the authors of the Chapo Trap House. He listens to their podcast, Chapo Trap House.


September 15, 2018, Saturday afternoon -- Reading Steinbeck

At a cafe in the Mission District
He is reading The Winter of Our Discontent, by John Steinbeck. He is on a Steinbeck kick. Before this he read Grapes of Wrath and then East of Eden. I told him that I have East of Eden in my audio book queue and he said, that's a good one.


September 4, 2018, Monday evening, Labor Day -- Reading Paul Kalanithi

At the movie theater
When I asked her if I could photograph her for my blog, she said that I had asked her that once before. Here's the post from a couple weeks shy of 4 years ago when I saw her reading at Sutton Cellar's winery.
This time she is reading When Breath Becomes Air, Paul Kalanithi, It's about a neurosurgeon who gets cancer. She knows someone who loved the book so much they bought multiple copies and gave them away. She was at (her mom's house?) and found the book by coincidence and started reading.
Something else good she read recently was No One Tells You This, by Glynnis MacNicol, a memoir about a woman who turns 40 and realizes she is 40 and has no children and is happy with her choice.


August 29, 2018, Wednesday afternoon - Reading Lynn V. Andrews

On a sunny evening near the Ferry Building
She is reading Star Woman, by Lynn V. Andrews. She got it at the library last night and is enjoying it. It's about Native American culture and mythology. Another good book she read recently was Just Kids, a memoir by Patti Smith. She had always loved Patti Smith's music and discovered while reading the book that Patty Smith was good friends with Robert Mapplethorpe, a photographer whose art she likes, too.


August 19, 2018, Sunday evening -- Reading N.H. Munro, or "Saki"

On the bus, rolling through Potrero Hill
I usually don't photograph people on the bus because if the reader isn't interested, I can't just walk away. But, this time the bus was so empty, I could have. But he said yes.

He is reading Beasts and Super Beasts, by N.H. Munro, or "Saki." He bought it on 3rd Street and has  read it pretty much in one sitting. It includes the famous story, The Open Window, set in Victorian England, about a man going into the countryside to recuperate from a case of the nerves.

The book he read before this one was Of Mice and Men. He found it misogynistic. The 200 page book, he thought, wasn’t long enough for Steinbeck to develop the female characters. However, he said, this was not the case in The Grapes of Wrath.

Usually he reads books about radical economics and anarchy.


August 13, 2018, Monday evening -- Reading Madeline Miller

At a coffee shop in the Mission District
He is reading The Song of Achilles, by Madeline Miller. He picked it up because he has been fascinated by Greek mythology since childhood, and the book had a lot of good reviews on Goodreads.

Some of his favorites are Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens; The Fellowship of the Ring, by J.R.R. Tolkien; and The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender, by Leslye Walton, about a girl who is born with wings, which he said was an unusual book.


August 10, 2018, Friday afternoon -- Reading Evelyn Waugh

In the Mission District
He is reading, or actually revisiting, Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh. He read it about 6 or 7 years ago and recently saw it in a bookstore and wanted to read it again. It begins in Oxford in the 1920s between the wars and follows the life of a man named Charles Ryder who is friends with a family who lives in Brideshead Castle, in North Yorkshire. The complete title of the novel is Brideshead Revisited, The Sacred & Profane Memories of Captain Charles Ryder.  


July 22, 2018, Sunday afternoon -- Reading David Sedaris

In the Mission District
Even though I was in a hurry I stopped to interview this reader, mostly because her book was making her laugh out loud. She is reading Calypso, by David Sedaris. Mostly she reads science fiction. Right now she's also reading The Three-Body Problem, by the Chinese author Liu Cixin (translated into English by Ken Liu), which she is excited about.  It won the Hugo Award, science fiction's most prestigious award, in 2015. She also likes Heinlein.


July 15, 2018, Sunday afternoon -- Reading Cintra Wilson

At Sunday Streets, an event where the streets are closed off to cars and people do all sorts of stuff in the street, like hula hoop, show their art, roller skate, or read
He is reading Fear and Clothing: Unbuckling American Style, by California writer/actress Cintra Wilson. He just got the book from the public library's book mobile that was parked not far from where he was sitting.

Something good he read recently was a book about Motown in Chicago, but he can't remember the title and author. 

He likes to get books at flea markets, and goes early to get the best selection.


July 14, 2018, Saturday afternoon -- Reading Janine M. Benyus

At Dolores Park, reading among San Franciscans, like Phillip Ruise, who was striking poses while dressed in silver and mirrors.

She is reading Biomimicry, by Janine M. Benyus because her minor is biology and she's interested in biomimicry. I looked up the definition on the website for the Biomimicry Institute, of which the author is a co-founder. Biomimicry is "an approach to innovation that seeks sustainable solutions to human challenges by emulating nature's time-tested patterns and strategies." 

Her major is chemical engineering, but she reads all sorts of books, usually what people recommend to her. The last good book she read was Bel Canto, by Ann Patchett, about an opera singer under house arrest.


July 14, 2018, Saturday afternoon -- Reading Q. Hayashida

At Dolores Park
He is reading the first volume from the manga series Dorohedoro, by Q. Hayashida. His friend gave him Prison Pit, by Johnny Ryan, in which there's an ongoing battle, filled with disgustingness, and monsters, fighting in a desolate landscape. He hadn’t read mangas for a while, but really liked it, so went to bookstore and asked for something similar, and they suggested Dorohedoro, also a gritty post-apocalyptic manga.

When he's not reading mangas, what he reads depends. He mostly likes Lovecraftian horror, but gravitates toward no specific authors. He just likes scary books. A good short story he liked was
I Have No mouth and Must Scream, by Harlan Ellison, about a super computer who tortured humans.


July 7, 2018, Saturday evening -- Reading Neil Gaiman

In the Mission District
He is reading Anasi Boys, by Neil Gaiman. American Gods is his favorite Neil Gaiman book. His favorite authors right now are Neil Gaiman, Philip K. Dick, and authors of the classics, like Dostoyevsky. He said he goes through phases. Right now he's reading a lot of Philip K. Dick. He described the writing as cryptic, macabre, and mystical visionary. He also told me how it's no secret that Philip K. Dick did a lot of speed biker meth to improve his productivity to write. Throughout his career he wrote 44 novels, as well as short stories, and struggled for most of his life to make enough money.


June 30, 2018, Saturday afternoon -- Reading Andrew Shaffer

In Truckee, California (where I'm on vacation)
She is taking a break from working at a bookstore
and reading an advance copy of Hope Never Dies, by Andrew Shaffer. It's an old school mystery and the main character is Joe Biden.
I asked her what her favorite books are and she said, Like ever? I said yes and she said East of Eden, by Steinbeck, commented that she has so many, said she'd just been talking about Of Wolves and Men, by Barry Lopez, and also mentioned Flight Behavior, by Barbara Kingsolver.
I asked her if she could recommend any local authors and she said that if you're looking for an interesting, fun mystery that takes place in the area, she recommends Todd Borg. He writes the Tahoe Mystery series, which is about a homicide inspector from San Francisco who moves up to Tahoe to become a private investigator.
The bookstore she works at is called Word After Word. On Thursday night I spotted their book bike at Truckee's weekly street fair. Here's a picture.