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.


June 26, 2015, Friday morning -- Reading Brendan Sainsbury and Luke Waterson

On the 22 bus

She is reading The Lonely Planet Travel Guide to Cuba, by Brendan Sainsbury and Luke Waterson. She's going there in a couple of weeks. She loves to travel, especially to Latin America. Her earrings, which she made herself, are built from parrots she found in Guatemala and Frida Khalo bottle caps from Columbia.

She likes reading books in their original language. She's bilingual in Spanish and English, and is learning Portuguese and Mayan. (She says there are 40 - 80,000 Mayan speakers in the Bay Area.) In Spanish her favorite authors are Gabriel García Márquez and Isabel Allende. In English she likes Barbara Kingsolver and in Portuguese she likes Paulo Coelho.


June 24, 2015, Wednesday afternoon -- Reading Kim Stanley Robinson

At the newly revamped Dolores Park
He is reading 2312, by Kim Stanley Robinson. He picked it up because he heard it was a modern version of Ursula K. Le Guin's The Dispossessed.

Recently he read a book by Roberto Bolaño called The Savage Detectives.


June 20, 2015, Saturday afternoon -- Reading Kurt Vonnegut

In Jack London Square in Oakland, on a perfect summer day
He is on the last few pages of Mother Night, by Kurt Vonnegut.  It was recommended by the friend he's sharing the hammock with. His favorite author is Philip K Dick, especially A Man in the High Castle.

The friend (on the right side of the hammock) who recommended Mother Night has been a Kurt Vonnegut fan since high school when a girl turned him on to Breakfast of Champions. Mother Night is now his favorite book. He hasn't read it for a while, but told me that his favorite scene is when the character Campbell is hiding out in New York and then his wife shows up, who he's been separated from and then, he finds out something that, he said, completely blows your mind (I won't write what here).
Right next to their hammock there was a silent disco going on. A crowd of people were wearing headphones and dancing, but only the dancers could hear their music.


June 14, 2015, Sunday afternoon -- Reading D. D. Pochin Mould and Lawrence M. Krauss

In downtown Auburn, CA, outside of a frozen yogurt shop on a 90 degree day
She is reading Ireland of the Saints, by D. D. Pochin Mould. She enjoys reading about early Christian history and hopes to pursue a Master's degree in theology. Her favorite authors include Winston Churchill, and John Chrysostom and Basil of Caesarea (both of whom lived in the 4th century). I asked if it was difficult to read texts that old and she said that their thought and clarity are breathtaking and timeless.

He is reading The Physics of Star Trek, by Lawrence M. Krauss. He enjoys reading books about science, and is a Star Trek fan. His favorite authors are Churchill (also), Ayn Rand, Theodore Roosevelt, William Wordsworth (see note below), and Ernest Hemingway. He said he couldn't think of a better story than Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea.

Note about Wordsworth: Last summer I visited his cottage in Grasmere, England, where they had to keep the mutton fat candles in a box at night so the rats wouldn't eat them (beeswax cost too much).


May 28, 2015, Thursday evening -- Reading Emma Larkin

On Valencia Street
She is reading Finding George Orwell in Burma, by Emma Larkin (in Chinese).  She's been interested in reading about Burma, after becoming involved with the Burmese community in the Bay Area through Doctors Without Borders. Lately she's read 1984, by George Orwell, which is loosely about Burma, and a graphic novel called Burma Chronicles, by Guy Delisle. She also just watched a film about Aung San Suu Kyi. 


May 24, 2015, Sunday evening -- Reading Anthony Bourdain

At the Latin America Club, a bar in the Mission District
He is reading Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly, by Anthony Bourdain. It was cold and foggy outside, so he decided to read at the bar instead of joining the Carnaval street party down on Harrison. The book was recommended by several friends over the years and he's finally getting around to it.

He mostly reads non-fiction. One of his favorites is Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything, by Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt. One of his favorite fiction books is Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson, which he read when he was fifteen.
One of the bartenders asked me if I had read My Struggle, by the Norwegian author, Karl Ove Knausgård.  I said I hadn't, and that I hadn't heard of him, but have since looked it up online, and then realized that I had heard of him, and even written about him on my blog.  Knausgård, who has written a whopping six-volume autobiography, is one of the favorite authors of this reader, who I found reading on a bench on Bernal Hill overlooking the city back in October. 


May 19, 2015, Tuesday evening -- Reading John Muir

Last week my friend Allison (pictured) showed us around her old stomping grounds in Sequoia National Park, where she used to live, just inside the park, when she was in elementary school. Naturally, she grew up with a love for the great outdoors. Once she tried to skip school, but got scared by a coyote and ran back home.

At Sequoia National Park, sitting next to the campfire before dinner
She is reading Collected Works of John Muir, Naturalist. She's working on writing a screen play about Mr. Muir.

She told us stories about how Muir climbed a tree in a wind storm to ride it back and forth over the forest. This reminded me of JMW Turner, the landscape painter, who had himself tied to a ship mast to better experience the sea.
In the background is her tent, that she's had since 1997. It rained on us, but the tent held strong.