February 13, 2015, Friday morning -- Reading Daniel Polansky

On a sunny morning, near Union Square
He is reading Low Town, by Daniel Polansky. He doesn't have a favorite book or author. He said he likes to read everything. Before this he read The Brethren, by John Grisham and The Maze Runner, by James Dashner.


Read More...

February 12, 2015, Thursday morning -- Reading Ed Greenwood

Manning the Classics Students Association fundraising table

He is reading Spellfire, by Ed Greenwood. His favorite books are The Lord of the Rings trilogy, by J.R.R. Tolkien. He even has the ring inscription tattooed on his right bicep (which he showed me! The calligraphy was awesome).  Another favorite book is Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card.

Read More...

February 7, 2015, Saturday afternoon -- Reading Lynne Huffer

This is my second time photographing this reader!  The first time was this past September on 16th Street, again reading while walking.

In the Mission District, on the way to a Gay Shame meeting (their website says that Gay Shame is a celebration of resistance and that all are welcome)
He is reading Are the Lips a Grave?: A queer feminist on the ethics of sex, by Lynne Huffer. It's about reconciling feminist philosophies with queer philosophies. He's not convinced that they are reconcilable without a great deal more thought/time.
Thanks for letting me photograph you again.

Read More...

February 4, 2015, Wednesday morning -- Reading William Somerset Maugham

In the Mission District, enjoying a cup of coffee on a break from work
He is reading The Moon and Sixpence, by William Somerset Maugham.  It's based on the life of the painter, Gauguin.

Four months ago he read Maugham's Of Human Bondage, which is a semi-autobiographical account of the author's life, and has been on a Maugham kick ever since. He's read about 40 of his books so far.
The minute I walk away from a reader, I always have at least another 5 questions, in this case, where did you find this beautiful, old edition of the book? at 40 books, is this one of the last ones left to read? what will you read when you finish Maugham? what other authors do you like?  have you binge-read other authors?

Read More...

February 8, 2015, Sunday afternoon -- Reading William Sargant

At Toys R Us
 She is reading Battle for the Mind: A Physiology of Conversion and Brainwashing, by William Sargant, which she highly recommends.  She's reading it because, at the moment, she is "writing two articles about the sad mechanics of brainwashing and mind wars in Russia."

As for the favorite book of all time question, she said it's impossible to answer, but that today, it's War and Peace, by Tolstoy.
Btw, I am not the photographer for this lovely photo.  Instead, I saw it on Facebook and asked the reader, author Zarina Zabrisky herself, if I could ferret it away and put it on my blog. She's one of my favorite people to see at literary readings because she's so dynamic.  There were also pictures on FB with this one of her screaming around the store on a scooter.

Read More...

February 2, 2015, Monday afternoon -- Reading Wayne Gisslen

On Fillmore Street
She is reading Professional Cooking, by Wayne Gisslen, for a city college class she's taking. Right now they're learning how to cook Chinese food, and the other day they made lamb meatballs and ground the meat with a meat grinder. When she graduates she wants to cook soul food.
 

Read More...

February 2, 2015, Monday afternoon -- Reading François-René de Chateaubriand

In Noe Valley
He is reading a collection of short stories by François-René de Chateaubriand, for a 19th century short story class at San Francisco State.


A couple of authors he reads a lot of are Christopher Rice (son of Anne Rice), who writes thrillers and mysteries; and Émile Zola, a 19th century French novelist.

Read More...

January 31, 2015, Saturday afternoon -- Reading Lawrence Wright

I love it when I can hold a cute dog on my lap while interviewing a reader.

On Valencia Street
She is reading Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief, by Lawrence Wright.  She picked it up because she just gave it to a friend (who likes reading/learning about secret societies)...and wanted to read it, too, so she checked it out from the library. She can't wait to finish it so she can talk to her friends about all the creepy things in the book!

Before this she read God of Small Things, by Arundhati Roy, which was recommended by her friend who has a Tumblr called Books and Places to Read (I think that's what she said). Before that she read The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri.

The best book she's read recently is Shadow of the Wind, by Carlos Ruiz Zafón, which is set in post-war Barcelona and is about a conflicted author, and love, and has a forgotten book library.
She's a fourth grade teacher, so she also likes books that help her bond with her students, like the Harry Potter books.

Read More...

January 26, 2015, Monday afternoon -- Reading Sri Nisargadatta

This afternoon I took the 22 bus from the Mission District to the end of the line and walked along Crissy field towards the bridge. It's one of my favorite walks and I had to do it while I still have time. I go back to work at the end of the week.

Overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge
He is reading The Ultimate Medicine, as prescribed by Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj: Dialogues with a Realized Master, by Sri Nisargadatta, edited by Robert Powell. He reads, he said, out of desperation. He said that at the beginning of your life, you look outward, but there comes a time when you look inward. Books help him look inward. The public library, he explained, is a gift.

Two of his favorite books are The Tao of Physics: An Exploration of the Parallels Between Modern Physics and Eastern Mysticism, by Fritjof Capra and The Quantum and the Lotus: A Journey to the Frontiers Where Science and Buddhism Meet, by Matthieu Ricard and Trinh Xuan Thuan.  He said that quantum physics has finally caught up to where Eastern mystics were 2700 years ago.

In the evenings he has been reading Scandinavian Noir, particularly Jo Nesbø and Jussi Adler-Olsen.

Read More...

January 24, 2015, Saturday afternoon -- Reading Claudia Rankine

In the Mission District
She is reading Don't Let Me Be Lonely: An American Lyric, by the Jamaican poet, Claudia Rankine.  It's a nonlinear story about death and solitude in the 21st century. It was recommended by a friend.

Her favorite author is Gabriel García Márquez. She just went on a buying spree on 24th Street and purchased Crónica de una muerte anunciada (Chronicle of a Death Foretold), by Márquez, in Spanish, which she first read in high school when it was hard for her to read Spanish.  She's looking forward to reading it again. She also bought Mi Pais Inventado (My Invented Country: A Memoir), by Isabel Allende, and Slouching Towards Bethlehem, a collection of essays by Joan Didion.

Before this she read We the Animals, by Justin Torres, which is about family and growing up Puerto Rican in New York. She really recommends it.
This is my first blog post from San Francisco after being away from home for a month. It feels great to be in crisp sunny weather, walking around the neighborhood, grocery shopping, and photographing readers.

Read More...

January 17, 2015, Saturday morning -- Reading Veronica Roth

This is my last Australia post. On Monday morning I returned back to San Francisco on a 13 hour flight, went to Trader Joe's to restock the fridge, and asked a man reading a kindle, sitting on a bench, surrounded by grocery bags, if I could take his photo for my blog and he said no.  No one had told me no the entire month I was in Australia. I was in the equivalent of a reading Disneyland. I mostly photographed friendly tourists from northern Europe, blissed out on the sun. This reader, in this post below, however, is a local.
 
At Bondi Beach in Sydney, Australia
She just got back from vacation where she finished reading the Game of Thrones series, by George R.R. Martin. She's now re-reading this book because she has nothing new left to read.

Question: If you live in a place like this, where do you go for vacation? I should have asked.

Read More...

January 14, 2015, Wednesday evening -- Reading Saskia Noort and Sophie Kinsella

Visiting from Rotterdam, in the Netherlands and enjoying the sun at Bondi Beach, in Sydney, Australia
They are reading De Eet-Club (The Eating Club), by the Dutch author, Saskia Noort and Can You Keep a Secret, by Sophie Kinsella (which she found at the hostel they're staying at.)

The Eating Club, translated as The Dinner Club in the English edition, is mystery/thriller about city people who move to a village and find friends who they have dinners with, and then they get mixed up in affairs and murder.

A notable Dutch author they told me about, other than Saskia Noort who is also the woman on the left's favorite, is Suzanne Vermeer, who writes thrillers. I looked this up on Wikipedia and Suzanne Vermeer was a pseudonym for Paul Goeken, but after he died in 2011 the publishing company kept the name and an unknown writer or writers are, you could say, ghost writing???

Read More...

January 11, 2015, Sunday night -- Reading Ernest Hemingway

Beneath a free-wireless portal in Bondi Beach, in Sydney, Australia
He is reading The Old Man and the Sea, by Ernest Hemingway. Lately, he's been reading the classics, because he has time. He quit his job in the tech industry in the San Francisco Bay Area and has been traveling.  Before this he was reading SEAL Team Six: Memoirs of an Elite Navy SEAL Sniper, by Howard E. Wasdin and Stephen Templin. He read it because one of his friends was accepted to Seal Team Six, a group that was responsible for the raid on Osama Bin Laden.

One of his favorite books is Sea-wolf, by Jack London. (Do you notice a theme here?)
His t-shirt is a Big Lebowski reference -- Calmer than you are.

Read More...

January 5, 2015, Monday evening -- Reading Peter Temple

At a hotel on Walsh Bay in Sydney, Australia
She is reading Truth, by Peter Temple. She found it on the shelf of the hotel bookcase and picked it up because, she said, "I am a seeker of truth." However, she wasn't enjoying the few pages she'd read so far when I approached her.  "It's violent," she explained. A few hours later, after I'd eaten dinner I went back to the lounge room in the hotel and saw that she'd returned the book to the shelf. 

Coincidentally, it's the same book I photographed on Christmas Day in Kangaroo Valley.  That reader said she was only skimming it, so she could get to books she'd been given for Christmas.  According to Wikipedia, Truth is a crime novel set in the state, Victoria, Australia, and has won the Miles Franklin, a prestigious Australian literary award.
 The last bit of pleasure reading she did was Fifty Shades of Gray, by E.L. James. She was studying law, then elementary education, so she hasn't had much time to read.

Read More...

January 2, 2015, Friday morning -- Reading Douglas Coupland

At Bronte Beach in Sydney, Australia
He is reading Toutes les famillles sont psychotiques (All Families Are Psychotic), by Douglas Coupland. He is French, living in Australia, and it's one of the books he picked up when he was last in France, that was recommended to him.

The best book he read in 2014 was a biography of Winston Churchill.  He said that he likes to read about history from different perspectives, that we get used to reading about historical events from our own country's historians.

Read More...

January 1, 2015, Thursday evening -- Reading Dan Buthler & Day Öhrlund

On New Year's Day at Bondi Beach in Sydney, Australia
She just flew in from Sweden to visit family (via Austria to visit more family and Dubai where her flight connected), and is trying to stay awake until bedtime.  It's  hours from Austria to Dubai and then another 14 to Australia.  The bright sunlight, she said, helps.  Just a day ago she was skiing with ice stuck to her eyelashes.

She is reading Erövraren, by Dan Buthler & Day Öhrlund.  The title means "conqueror."  I didn't ask what it's about, but it's a crime novel. I told her about how I was in Sweden earlier this year, er, um, I mean last year, and read a crime novel in which the police were constantly going to coffee shops for coffee and cinnamon/cardamom buns and how, when you're reading you really want one, and then you, as the reader go yourself.  She nodded in agreement. 

She also likes to read the British authors Ken Follett and Frederick Forsyth, translated into Swedish, as well as Swedish novelists, including Lars Kepler (who is the pen name for not just one, but two Swedish authors -- Alexander Ahndoril and Alexandra Coelho Ahndoril -- who are married.

She asked me if I had seen a show called The Bridge, a crime drama, which was written by Hans Rosenfeldt, about finding a body on a bridge between Sweden and Denmark.  The story was then adapted for the U.S. to take place across the border of Mexico and California.

Read More...

December 25, 2014, Thursday afternoon -- Reading Anne Michaels and Peter Temple

At the Kangaroo Valley watering hole for a Christmas swim (a couple hours south of Sydney, Australia)
They are reading Fugitive Pieces, by Anne Michaels and Truth, by Peter Temple, so they can get on to the books they gave each other for Christmas.

The woman on the left, reading Fugitive Pieces, her favorite book is In the Skin of a Lion, by Michael Ondaatje, which is the prequel to The English Patient.  The woman reading Truth, her favorite book is either The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak, or The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver.  And, the woman on the right, she's holding the family's new puppy.

Of note, if you ever plan on swimming in a river in Australia, at least in this part of the country, there are no water snakes.  I did get my toe nibbled on by a skink, though (on land). 
 Merry (late) Christmas and Happy New Year!

Read More...

December 20, 2014, Saturday evening -- Reading Sophie Kinsella

On the side of a street near Bondi Beach, in Sydney, Australia (where I'm on vacation)
She is reading Wedding Night, by Sophie Kinsella. She picked this book up because she's read others by the same author that she liked.  She likes reading chick lit and Lee Child's thrillers.  There's another author she mentioned, too, but I can't remember the name....

She's here in Australia finishing her semester of study abroad, studying business at the University of Sydney, and will soon be returning to the cold winter of Sweden.  She remarked that while she's been here she'd notice the few degrees in temperature difference between places around Australia - colder on the south coast - but that will be nothing compared to the 25 degree (Celsius) difference when she returns home.

She's been reading in English because it's hard to find Swedish books here. One of her favorite Swedish authors is Astrid Lindgren, who wrote the Pippi Longstocking books. 

Read More...

December 18, 2014, Thursday afternoon -- Reading Victor Canning

At Bondi Beach, in Sydney, Australia
She is reading The Whip Hand, a mystery by Victor Canning.  She found it at a second hand store.  It's set in England, between the wars.  It was rediscovered and republished.

One of her favorite books is Poppy, by the Australian author, Drusilla Modjeska.   It's a book she's loaned out several times and still likes having on her bookshelf.  It's a story that the author wrote about her mother, from facts and imagination.

She also really liked The Narrow Road to the Deep North, by Richard Flanagan, though she found it more difficult to read.  The book won the 2014 Man Booker prize.  It's about an Australian doctor and is about World War II and it's effects, and love.  Richard Flanagan is considered one of Australia's best contemporary novelists.

Read More...

December 18, 2014, Thursday afternoon -- Reading Dennis Lehane

At Bondi Beach in Sydney, Australia (where I'm on vacation)
He is reading The Drop, by Dennis Lehane. He likes reading books that are made into movies, so that he can see the movie later.  He just completed a business degree.  One of his favorite books was Like A Virgin: Secrets They Won't Teach You at Business School, by Richard Branson.
 In the little bottle with the red cover is fish oil, an important ingredient in Asian cooking (he works as a delivery person for MissChu, an Asian restaurant which, as I've heard, a cult following).  He's originally from Vietnam.  He used to read in Vietnamese all the time, but hasn't read in his native language for over four years, so long that he's forgotten the names of his favorite authors.  For now, he's been reading only in English.

Read More...