May 5, 2022, Thursday evening -- Reading Kristin Neff, Ph.D.

On a calm, warmish evening in Oakland, California

She is reading Fierce Self-Compassion, by Kristin Neff, Ph.D. She had read the author's previous book and liked it better. 

When I asked her about her favorite book, she said Black Paper: Writing in a Dark Time, a collection of essays by Teju Cole, a Nigerian author. She said the writing is gorgeous and the book is about race and the complexity of the current moment. 

I'm trying to remember our conversation and get everything right, but I think she said that in the book one of the things he writes about is visiting places, such as the US/Mexico border and it is by physically being there, that by going to these places, he can really feel in his body what the situation is, to really understand it. 


November 17, 2021, Wednesday afternoon -- Reading Jiang Zongfan

I spotted this reader on my way to the university and was thrilled that not only did I have enough time to talk to her and not be late for class, but also that she said yes! In the past few weeks since I have been actively looking for readers to talk to again, I have been turned down three times. It felt so nice to get a yes. She even took her mask off for me for the photo. 

The book is Apocalpyse 1: Signal of Doomsday, by Jiang Zongfan.  In Chinese, if I wrote it out correctly, it is 末世訊號 天啟. She said the book is about high school students....and of course, the Apocalypse.


October 29, 2021, Friday afternoon

In Da'an Forest Park, a stone's throw from a pond, on a pleasantly cloudy day, reading a publication about the social responsibilities of a university that is not far from the Taipei zoo. 

Taipei, Taiwan


October 16, 2021, Saturday afternoon - Reading Virginia Woolf and Kyoko Fukuchi

They picked books that had ocean themes to take to the beach. Hers is set in Japan around a fish market and his is set in Scottland...different seas, but the water they look out upon when they glance up from the page is all connected.


October 10, 2021, Sunday evening

In New Taipei City, Taiwan

At the 7-11 en route to the canal I like to walk along, I spotted this reader. 
A few days ago my Taiwanese friend, whose name is also Sonia !!!, helped me make a card that I could show readers explaining my project. This was the first person I showed the card to. I am interested in seeing how readers in Taiwan will respond to my project. This reader was totally fine with being photographed, which felt great.


March 7, 2021, Sunday afternoon

In Taichung on the grounds of the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts. I photographed these readers months ago and, because I was busy with work and other things. They were so nice and spoke English to me. Don't ask me what the translated titles of the books are, though....


October, 23, 2020, Friday afternoon -- Reading a book in Chinese

New Taipei City, Taiwan

I have been in Taiwan since the end of August. I see lots of people reading books everywhere. On my walk to school I saw this reader and kept walking because I don't speak Chinese yet....but then I realized that if I want to continue posting for my blog I would eventually have to start talking to people again. My blog is about my meditation on the importance of books, and how much readers appreciate them and this man, having his lunch and reading, seemingly in a serene moment of a busy day, touched me, so I turned around and went back and see if the reader spoke English. He spoke English enough for me to get permission to post his picture on my blog, but I couldn't understand what his book was about. 


August 5, 2020, Wednesday afternoon -- Reading Geoff Dyer

 At the edge of the park

He is reading Out of Sheer Rage: Wrestling with D. H. Lawrence, by Geoff Dyer. The book makes him happy. It's funny and it cheers him up. This is not his first time reading it.

Geoff Dyer is one of his favorite authors. He also likes Thomas Bernhard, Milan Kundera, Michel Houellebecq, and Vladimir Nabokov. 

He is Austrian and reads in Spanish, German, and English. When he reads in Spanish he reads slower than in English and German. Some of his favorite authors to read in Spanish are Roberto Bolaño and Jorge Luis Borges. 

He asked me why I started doing the blog and I told him that 14 years ago I was working on a novel that I never finished. He told him that this book he's reading right now -- Out of Sheer Rage -- is perfect for me, because it's about an author who wants to write something, but just moves and moves from one place to another, like Rome where it's too hot to write, and doesn't do it.


August 2, 2020, Sunday evening -- Reading Apartamento

In a park I had never been to before (Covid lockdown has opened up so many new things in my world -- my friends and I were looking for a park that wouldn't be too busy to eat takeout in)

He is reading Apartamento, a Spanish design magazine, though he said that he usually reads books. One of his favorite authors is J.G. Ballard, who writes speculative fiction. His favorite books of J.G. Ballard are  The Drowned World, a post-apocalyptic novel, and Vermilion Sands, a short story collection. He said that the author is obsessed with suburbs. 

Something good he read recently was A More Beautiful Question, by Warren Berger. 


July 31, 2020, Friday afternoon -- Reading Paolo Bacigalupi

On a warm afternoon

He is reading by Paolo Bacigulupi. It was recommended by a friend.

Something good he read recently was Seveneves, by Neal Stephenson.


June 29, 2020, Monday afternoon -- Reading Michelle Obama

On a beautiful afternoon

She is reading Becoming, by Michelle Obama. She's really enjoying it. Recently she read Beach Read (the actual title) and said it was the opposite of good.

I am a little envious of her chair. I think I might read in the park if I had a chair like that.


June 27, 2020, Saturday morning -- Reading Eduardo Galeano

At a Mexican restaurant in the Mission District - chips and salsa al fresco, and a book!

She is reading Voices of Time: A Life in Stories, by Eduardo Galeano, a Uruguayan writer.

Some of her favorite authors are Carson McCullers, Joyce Carol Oates, and Isabel Allende.

She told me about a bookstore/café shop on 3rd Street called Word that I've never been to before. Their website says they're closed until July 17th, but it looks like a great place.
I used to love going to this restaurant because it's decorated so festively. It makes me happy seeing the chairs and tables on the street every time I walk past.


May 9, 2020, Saturday morning -- Reading Carmen Maria Machado

Standing in a socially distanced line for the grocery store

He is reading Her Body and Other Parties, by Carmen Maria Machado. 

Off the top of his head his favorite author is Tom Robbins. 


April 29, 2020, Wednesday morning -- Reading Torcuato Luca De Tena

Sitting outside a cafe

He is reading Los Renglones Torcidos de Dios, by Torcuato Luca De Tena. The title translates into God's Crooked Lines. It's about a detective in a mental hospital.

His favorite book is Marina, in Spanish, by Carlos Ruiz Zafón.


March 30, 2020, Monday morning -- Reading Ta-Nehisi Coates

I won't be interviewing readers while we are socially distancing.

I have taken a lot of pleasure in books during this time. Right now I am listening to the audio book The Water Dancer, by Ta-Nehisi Coates. It's a surrealist book set in the United States before the Civil War. It's a completely different world than the world we live in right now.

I listen while I walk around my neighborhood and cross and re-cross the street to maintain distance between walkers, joggers, cyclists, and homeless encampments. I feel fortunate to have shelter while we shelter in place, and plenty of soap and water to wash my hands with.

I also listen to my book while I walk up and down my backstops for exercise, so that I can be in good enough shape to walk up to the teachers room on the 10th floor when I return to work.

I wish you strength, health, and peace, and lots of good books.


March 12, 2020, Thursday afternoon -- Reading Jay Kirk

At a cafe in the financial district

She is reading Kingdom Under Glass: A Tale of Obsession, Adventure, and One Man's Quest to Preserve the World's Great Animals, by Jay Kirk. The book is research for a horror story she is writing about a real human skull being found in a taxidermy exhibit at a museum.

Something good she read recently was the Sun Down Motel, a suspense novel by Simone St. James.


March 7, 2020, Saturday evening -- Reading Tara Westover

In the window of a café
He is reading Educated: A Memoir, by Tara Westover. It was recommended by his family and he borrowed it from his roommate. He said it's good, and he's almost finished.

Something else he liked was The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers, by Ben Horowitz.


March 1, 2020, Sunday afternoon --Reading Alice Bag and a report from the Congressional Budge Office

At Dolores Park on a beautiful sunny day, still no rain the day after the driest February since 1864....I guess we really need the moisture, but it was really nice to have a sunny day in the park
He is reading Violence Girl: East L.A. Rage to Hollywood Stage, a Chicana Punk Story, by Alice Bag. He picked it up at Dogeared Books, because he's into that kind of music. Recently he read and enjoyed Drown, a short story collection by the Dominican-American author, Junot Díaz. 

She is reading Effects of a Carbon Tax on the Economy and the Environment, a report by the Congressional Budget Office. She has to write a review about it for a class she's taking. The report, she feels, is not for the layperson. As a college student she finds the reading difficult. She thinks that because the information is so important, the writing should be more accessible. The message is basically this: the world is going to keep going downhill unless we make changes. Recently she read, and really liked, Solo, Solita: Crossing Borders with Youth Refugees from Central America, edited by Steven Meyers and Jonathan Freedman, and White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism, by Robin Diangelo. 


March 1, 2020, Sunday afternoon -- Reading a book edited by Sue-Ellen Jacobs, Wesley Thomas, and Sabine Lang

At Dolores Park on an amazingly sunny day
He is reading Two-Spirit People: Native American Gender Identity, Sexuality, and Spirituality, edited by  Sue-Ellen Jacobs, Wesley Thomas, and Sabine Lang. He is giving a presentation at a festival and is reading this to prepare. The festival is the Weaving Spirts Festival, which explores diversity in Native People and as their website says, "decolonizing sexuality, performance, and language."

One of his favorite authors is Marlon Riggs, who was a poet, an educator, a filmmaker, and a gay rights activist.


February 22, 2020, Saturday afternoon -- Reading Koushun Takami

In Japantown Center, where he just bought this book
He is reading Battle Royale, by Koushun Takami. He was supposed to have finished reading it in the 8th grade for a project, but only got half way through. Now he's a freshman and he's determined to finish it. The book has about 650 pages.

He doesn't have a favorite author, but does like J.K. Rowling and Rick Riordan, who he said writes stories for teens about Greek mythology.

Lately he's been reading a lot of mangas, like the Tokyo Ghoul series by Sui Ishida and My Hero Academia, by Kōhei Horikoshi.

After he finishes Battle Royale he's planning to read Animal Farm, by George Orwell, which his younger brother recommended.