August 14, Thursday afternoon -- Reading Charles Bukowski

From a vertiginous rooftop overlooking Market and Montgomery Street I spotted a reader. If I were a book vulture, looking for something to swoop down upon, I'd have found my prey. But, I'm not. I just talked to her and I didn't swoop. I took a staircase, then an escalator, walked through a food court and a farmers' market and finally, at street level, was amazed that she was still reading. The moments that people read the books they carry around, especially during lunch hour, are fleeting. So many times people close their books as I approach, not because I approach, but simply because it's time to do something else. Today I was lucky.

Reading Hot Water Music, by Charles Bukowski. She read his book Post Office, then saw a documentary about him, and then ordered a bunch of his books, this one included, from Powell's in Oregon.

Another favorite author, Chuck Palahniuk. She likes how both Bukowski and Palahniuk write how you might talk, a quality of her own writing that her English teachers criticized her for in high school.

When she was young she liked Judy Blume. She started reading her books when she was ten and they got her through her teenage years. As we were talking it suddenly came to me that I had a dream about Judy Blume the night before! I was at a book reading and she was there and she was young, like in her early twenties, and I really wanted to meet her. How bizarre! I wonder how many authors I dream about but don't remember dreaming about.

She writes, too, in her blog--rants, and other miscellaneous musings -- check out She's also written a screenplay about three sisters in crisis. There aren't, she said, enough women characters on the big screen.

If you could spend the afternoon in the sun, sitting in that red chair, and the shoe shine man said you could sit there as long as you wanted, just so long as you read to him, what would you read? (I don't know where he is, who he is, or what he likes to read, but that black object between the two chairs is, I think, a book.) Or, maybe, a more realistic question, what would you like him to want to hear?


20something said...

I would want him to hear books by Bill Bryson. He has several travel books, an autobiography about his childhood, and one about, well, everything. His writing style is immensely engaging and hilarious. I read part of "A Walk in the Woods" to a friend that is in the hospital. The book is my fav and laugh out loud funny!

Jess said...

Education of a Wandering Man by L'Amour. A man who stays in the same place for work should hear of a book-loving world traveler.

Ms. B. said...

To 20something said, I just finished Bill Bryson's memoir! It truly was laugh-out loud funny at parts. And, I loved the last paragraph; what a wonderful way to summarize our times.

Have you read Harris and Me by Gary Paulsen? It is the funniest book I have ever read. It is about a boy who visits a distant cousin who lives on a farm. It was the book that explained to me how boys can think the way they think. It's a middle school book, but it is worth the read at any age.

For females, Angus, Thongs and Fullfrontal Snogging is funny. It reminded me, at 48, what I thought and how I thought in my teenage years. It's out of England and it's a whole series, but I loved it.

(Maybe that's why I teach middle school--I still enjoy middle school books!)