March 6, Thursday evening -- Reading James Joyce

At Sunflower, a Vietnamese restaurant on 16th Street.

I'd done a two minute BART platform interview because I'd been concerned about finding a reader before I got home, but while my sister and I were having dinner, a woman came in and sat down with her book. It's sort of impolite to interrupt your dinner while you're with people, but Liz gave me permission.

....and it turns out that she read my article in The Chronicle in January! (The link is in the sidebar.) It was good to see you're notorious, my sister said....who wound up paying for both of our meals when I had my back turned. (Thank you, Liz!) She took it back, though. I bought her dinner on Tuesday night.

Reading Ulysees, by James Joyce.

When I see someone reading James Joyce I always have to bring up a James Joyce fan I interviewed for a post in October 2006 who had tattooed on his wrist "non serviam", a phrase from Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. And, here's another James Joyce post that I love, from Nov. 2006, of an ambulatory book eating book seller (you have to see the picture) who gave me a copy of James Joyce's Dubliners, saying that it's what turned him on to Joyce.

She did not get her book from an ambulatory book eating book seller. She got it at Forest Books, just a couple blocks from where we were eating. She's always wanted to read it and now she's got the time. Three months. It was cold and rainy in England where she's from so she decided to spend the winter in San Francisco. I told her how my sister and I were dying to leave and go to Arizona and she laughed. It's all relative, she said. While we were shivering and going to work, she was enjoying her own balmy San Francisco, writing short stories and reading good books.

Her favorite book of all time--One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

Recently she read a good story by Ambrose Bierce called Parker Addison Philosopher.

Her own novel--it would be about love gone wrong. ...part of the reason she's in San Francisco. I'm also here, she said laughing, to make new mistakes!


Where would you go for your writing/reading holiday?

18 Comments:

A G Venkat Sharma said...

Cool! Very refreshing!
Really appreciable! Well i wondered if you are interested in link swap!

The Tech Thing - Venkat
(http://pluking.blogspot.com)

Caroline online said...

Good luck to her, and I would go to Nantucket!

Barbara said...

I LOVE YOUR BLOG! It's such a great idea. Thank you.

Melissa said...

I'm glad this showed up in the "Blogs we've noticed" section.

This is a great idea. I read an article yesterday in an education newsletter that a study done in England shows that 52% of elementary school-aged children prefer reading to video games and TV. I wish that statistic were true of us!

Susan B. Evans said...

Yesterday, in Spanish Class, the professor asked us to tell her what we thought was 'the best book in the world'(in Spanish of course) and the student who had to answer said, "I don't read." When did illiteracy become something to be proud of? I hope she finds your blog! This is a great read.

Moonlitstorm said...

That is so hard to decide... Wether to have the hustle and bustle of a crowd, people who may inspire, or to have quiet solitude to devote yourself completly to your thoughts. Maybe I need to find somewhere that could provide both depending upon my mood. Great Blog, I am adding it to my link section.

Rob Hopcott said...

What a great job you are doing at the interviews.

I started a similar blog called 'Adventures on a Bench' whereby I sat on a bench in a busy place and then chatted to people who came and sat down besides me.

The people you meet - as you know - are incredible.

Good luck and well done :-)

Wildwoods Home said...

I too loved " One Hunmdred YEars of Solitude" by Gabriel Garcia Marquez! What a breath of fresh air to read about readers. I enjoyed this - it has taken me out of my own winter blues here in rural New Hampshire!

Anonymous said...

Une belle selection de films dvdrip sur:

http://info-sharing.blogspot.com/

Shannon Hodgins said...

Love your blog! I'm a librarian and I'd like to offer that people do love to read. Congrats on a blog of note! I always visit when it looks like anything "reading."

ahvarahn said...

Oddly enough, I like to write on trains; my writing holiday waits in London, and a week of endless riding on the circle line.

Danielle said...

My book/writing vacation would have to be Boston. So many story inspirations on the T, not to mention book suggestions. Portland, Oregon would be my second choice because I'm pretty sure I could spend a week in Powell's Bookstore.

Mel said...

I agree that this is a "blog of note!" I think it's a great idea. Personally, I'd also love to have the time to read Ulysses, but I've only managed Joyce's short stories so far.

Lavon said...

I am happy I found this blog.

I will have to take my camera with me on my morning commute to work. There are at least 3 readers each day on each of the buses I ride on the way to work. Coming home there are not as many readers but a few. I like this idea and will imitate you.

Sonya said...

...I sort of asked that question because I think *I'm* in need of a writing and reading holiday!

Dear Ahvarahn,
I also love to write on trains. There is something about being in motion, from point A to point B, like you're already accomplishing something just by moving, so anything you write is an added plus....

Have a great time on the Circle line!

Dear Lavon,
If you do start interviewing readers and posting them on a blog, would you send me the url so I can link to it?


Thanks for your comments.
sonya

J. H. Wilson said...

Great post. Reading is such a critical part of our culture and so critical to the future of free thought and expression.

J.H.
(http://ofthoughtanddiscussion.blog.spot.com)

A. Stageman said...

I would definitely go to London; sit in a little coffee shop and read my life away...

Kasthu said...

I've never been able to understand James Joyce; Dubliners was a little incomprehensible to me and I'm afraid to try Ulysses.

I'm glad I stumbled across your blog! Happy people reading!