May 7, Wednesday evening -- Reading Jon McGregor

Before the showing of Les Amours d'Astrée et de Céladon at the Clay theater for the San Francisco International Film Festival. She was delighted to have her photo taken. Books, she said, are her mission.

Reading So Many Ways To Begin, by Jon McGregor, which she got at the Mechanics' Institute Library, a membership library in downtown San Francisco. They have a lot of specialized books, but also fiction, and they have special events, like author talks and films and chess tournaments. The library makes her feel priviledged--it’s like being part of a private club.

Her favorite book? Tough question! She reads about ten books a week and doesn’t have a favorite. A good author she read recently was Denise Mina, who is Scottish.

As a child, growing up in Germany, she read a lot of American westerns by the German author, Karl May. How he wrote them, she doesn’t know, but he got it, she said, exactly right. In Germany there are no praries, deserts, sand storms, but when she read the books, she said the descriptions were perfect--“you can feel those horses pounding.” She re-read the books when she moved to the United States.

Are you a member at any membership libraries?


ao.roamer said...

Sometimes I read many books,also do not find the more favorite one

TootsNYC said...

There's a mechanics' library in NYC, a block from my old office. I always meant to join, but finally gave it up as a pipe dream (I never leave the office)

About Karl May: Wikipedia says this:
"He compensated successfully for this lack of direct experience of the Western milieu by an ingenious combination of creativity, imagination, and factual sources including maps, travel accounts and guide books, as well as anthropological and linguistic studies."

Liza P. said...

10 books a week? Very ambitious and very cool! I wish I was a quick reader

Susana said...

I sell books in English in Portugal, mainly to the expatriate community so I'd like to think my bookshop is a bit like a club. We have an exchange book system and I keep people up to date with what's being read in the US and the UK.

I wish I could read 10 books a week but it's more like 1 or 2 a month. Shame on me, I know, since I have thousands to choose from. Thing is, I don't like to read at the shop as I am often interrupted and prefer to curl up in a ball with a book and cup of tea or coffee at night.

Melanie said...

I used to work at a Mechanics Institute library in Montreal; but it had changed over to a more general public library by the time I was there. It still had membership fees, though, as it was still privately run.

Jon McGregor said...

I'm a member of a membership library - Bromley House, in Nottingham, England. It's an old 18th century townhouse, with old 19th century books alongside the new acquisitions. It's very atmospheric, and a nice place to work as well as read. I wrote a lot of this book in there, so it's nice to see that its made its way to the Mechanic's Institute in San Francisco.
Thanks for making my day!

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