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.


May 21, 2015, Thursday morning -- Reading Raymond Carver

At Sequoia National Park
He is reading a collection of short stories by Raymond Carver. A friend of his from college, in Boston, where he is studying funk and groove drumming, is from the same town Raymond Carver is from -- Catskanie, Oregon -- so he decided to read this.

The night before he was sitting on the bear bin reading a book his sister brought along about why Star Wars is so popular. He was reading it because he finds that he can't read too many short stories in a row.

One of his favorite books is Gravity's Rainbow, by Thomas Pynchon, though he admitted that he wasn't "fully present" through all of it. (A few years ago I interviewed a reader whose page-by-page illustration of Gravity's Rainbow was shown at the Whitney. Here's the post.)  He likes Pynchon's other books, too, like The Crying of Lot 49, which he read in High School. Something good he read recently was House of Leaves, a horror/love story, by Mark Danielewski.


May 14, 2015, Thursday morning -- Reading Victor Hugo

At a cafe near Bernal Hill

He is reading Les Miserables, by Victor Hugo. He's been reading it for about a year now, with other books in between. When he finishes these last hundred or so pages, next up is Midnight's Children, by Salman Rushdie. 

His favorite book is Ulysses, by James Joyce, which he loves for complexity and Joyce's ability to adapt a myth into a story, and for its digressions.


I've decided to post just once a week. See you on Monday!


May 4, 2015, Monday afternoon -- Reading Colin Rickards

On Mission Street
He is reading The Man from Devil's Island, by Colin Rickards, about a penal colony in French Guiana. A friend recommended it.

One of his favorite books is The Tale of the Body Theif, by Ann Rice.


April 29, 2015, Thursday afternoon -- Reading Patrick deWitt and Chuck Palahniuk

In the Castro
She is reading Beautiful You, by Chuck Palahniuk, her favorite author. She's read most of his books. Her favorite is Rant. She said that the plot and mystery in his books make you think and that they are good at making you feel a certain way, a way she couldn't put into words, but she said that Palahniuk is good at describing violence.

He is reading The Sisters Brothers, by Patrick deWitt. His favorite author is R.A. Salvatore, who wrote the Dark Elf fantasy trilogy. He said that the battle scenes are especially good because of how he describes strategy and weapons.
 Good luck!


April 29, 2015, Thursday afternoon -- Reading Alex Segura and Dan Parent

In the Castro
He is reading Archie Meets Kiss, by Alex Segura, illustrated by Dan Parent. This is the first Archie comic book he's read, but he's a fan of Kiss. He saw it at the library and thought it looked fun.

One of his favorite authors is F. Scott Fitzgerald.


April 20, 2015, Monday evening -- Reading Ruth Ozeki

At Porchlight, a storytelling series, before recording the podcast
She is reading A Tale for the Time Being, by Ruth Ozeki, which she got as a present. Some of her favorite authors are John Irving, Rebecca Solnit, and Haruki Murakami. Of Murakami's books, her favorite is The Windup Bird Chronicle.


April 18, 2015, Saturday afternoon -- Reading Lynne Olson

On the Muni
He is reading Citizens of London: The Americans Who Stood with Britain in Its Darkest, Finest Hour, by Lynne Olson, about the alliance between Britain and the United States in World War II.

When he was a kid his favorite author was Lucius Beebe, whose railroad books he enjoyed.  He went on to tell me that Beebe was a journalist and writer of books in the 1930s and 40s and that he wrote a society column as "Mr. New York" in the Herald Tribune, and later moved to Virginia City, Nevada where he revamped a newspaper that Samuel Clemons wrote for (not at the same time -- Clemons wrote for it in the 1860s)!


April 18, 2015, Saturday afternoon -- Reading James W. Loewen

Near the Embarcadero
She is reading Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong, by James W. Loewen, which she recommends. She got it at Book Passage at the Ferry Building and likes it so much she's been annotating every page.


April 18, 2015, Saturday afternoon -- Reading J.K. Rowling, translated by Gemma Rovira Ortega

At the Ferry Building amid a goat festival
She is reading Harry Potter y el misterio del principe (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince), the sixth book in the series, by J.K. Rowling, translated by Gemma Rovira Ortega.

She is a human rights lawyer and sometimes has Spanish speaking clients, so she's reading this (and has read the previous five, too) in Spanish to improve her language skills. When she was a child she read these books in English.

Her favorite author is John Steinbeck and her favorite of his books is East of Eden.