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.

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December 17, 2014, Wednesday afternoon -- Reading Ernest Hemingway

Did you notice that this photo was taken on Wednesday afternoon, but I'm posting it on Wednesday morning.   I'm a time traveler!!! 

Here's the real story:
At Bondi Beach, in Sydney, Australia, where I am for winter break, on the other side of the date line

He is reading For Whom the Bell Tolls, by Ernest Hemingway.  He likes to read both old and new books, for balance.  Before this he read the most recent Bourne book, The Bourne Ascendancy, by Eric Van Lustbader. 

Some of his favorite books are the Lord of the Rings series, by J.R.R. Tolkien.  He also really liked a crime trilogy by Martin Cruz Smith: Gorky Park, Polar Star, and Red Square, set in the time in which the Soviet Union was collapsing.

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December 10, 2104, Wednesday evening -- Reading Edward Humes

In downtown San Francisco
He is reading Mississippi Mud, by Edward Humes.  He got it from a bookstore at the Ferry Building.  When I asked him if he had a favorite book or author he said no, that he likes to read across the spectrum -- Science Fiction, Mystery....


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December 8, 2014, Monday evening -- Reading Jenny Schroedel

I usually don't approach people sitting in their parked cars because it tends to startle them, but this time it turned out to be okay.
He is reading The Everything Saints Book: The inspring lives of martyrs and miracle workers throughout history, by Jenny Schroedel.  The page he's on right now is about Junipero Serra, who started founding missions in California in 1769.  There's Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, San Jose....

He likes the St. James Bible's Old and New Testaments and a book about angels (Book of Angels?)  I wasn't sure if there was an A or a The at the beginning of the title and when I looked online, I found that the difference in article is two different books.

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December 7, 2014, Sunday afternoon -- Reading Samuel Eliot Morison

At a cafe in the Mission District

He is reading Maritime History of Massachusetts: 1783 - 1810, by Samuel Eliot Morison.  One of his favorite authors that he's read recently is J.D. Salinger.


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No post today. Check back on Monday. I almost went out in the rain to find a reader, but home was just way too cozy.

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November 29, 2014, Saturday afternoon -- Reading Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon

At a coffee shop on Valencia Street
She is reading Preacher, by Book Six, by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon.  It was recommended by friends.  
One of her favorite authors is Neil Gaiman.

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November 25, 2014, Tuesday evening -- Reading LaVyrle Spencer

At the food court of Westfield Center shopping mall
She is reading The Gamble, by LaVyrle Spencer.  She saw it at the Beat Museum, on Broadway Street, second hand, and bought it because she's read it before (and liked it) and needed some fluff to contrast with the political science books she's been reading.  She's a tour guide, from Norway, and will be leading a tour in Russia next, so she's been reading about Putin and Ukraine, and she needed a break.

From the top of her head, some of her favorite books are Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell; crime novels by Jo Nesbø (a Norwegian author) and Michael Connelly; and the Harry Potter books, by J. K. Rowling.  When I told her I was reading The Secret History, by Donna Tartt, she said to add that to the list of favorites and that that book, and Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones were two books that she consumed in one sitting. 

She reads in English when the books are set in English-speaking places.  For example, she said that she threw out her Norwegian translation of Gone with the Wind because of how the translator handled dialect.  People who were harvesting cotton using the same dialect as potato farmers in Norway and she knew the story wasn't taking place in Norway, so it was too disorienting.  The English version, she said, is better.
Sorry for the blurry picture, though it sort of makes the food court look softer and cozier.  Note to self: use a flash when in doubt.  Note to blog readers:  look at how nicely a fork keeps a book open.

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November 23, 2014, Sunday afternoon -- Reading Joseph Heller

I didn't get around to photographing a reader for today's post. Instead, I spent 19 1/2 hours of my weekend binge-listening to an audiobook of Joseph Heller's Catch-22. Here's a link to all of the readers on this blog who inspired me to read it, who were either reading it or mentioned it as one of their favorite books. This is one of the hazards of my blog -- it makes me want to read. 

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November 18, 2014, Tuesday afternoon -- Reading George R. R. Martin

At the BART station
She is reading A Storm of Swords, the third book in the Game of Thrones series by George R. R. Martin.  She hasn't watched the TV series yet, but said she might after she finished the series.

One of her favorite books is East of Eden, by John Steinbeck.  She likes it for the humanity.  There's a character, she said, who wants to commit suicide, but doesn't because someone tells him to pretend he's happy instead.  She thought that was good advice.  Other authors she likes include Margaret Atwood and Kurt Vonnegut.

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November 13, 2014, Thursday afternoon -- Reading James Horn

At the 24th Street BART station, getting ready to play some Woodie Guthrie, Leonard Cohen, and Bob Dylan
He is reading Kingdom Strange: The Brief and Tragic History of the Lost Colony of Roanoke, by James Horn.  He's always been interested in Roanoke and learned through the website Archeology News that there was a new book out that looks at the genes of local contemporary people to determine if the people of Roanoke were absorbed into the Croatan tribe.

He said he goes through phases of reading -- A Jack London phase, a Jane Austen phase.  One of his favorite Jack London books is The Valley of the Moon, which takes place in Oakland and Napa.  Persuasion was his favorite of Jane Austen's books.   I asked him if he would be reading more books about Roanoke and he said he didn't think so - this is the latest book on the topic, and he wouldn't want to read anything less current, but he might read about Jamestown next.
He tries to play at the 24th Street station on Thursdays and the 16th Street Station on Fridays.

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November 5, 2014, Wednesday afternoon -- Reading a book edited by Manuel Pumarega

At Librería Donceles, the pop up Spanish bookstore on 20th street
She is browsing through the shelves and reading Frases Celebres de Hombres Celebres, (Famous Phrases by Famous Men) edited by Manuel Pumarega. 

Something good she's read lately was from a series called Drawing Room Confessions, by Mousse Publications, which she picked up in a gallery in Oslo.  The series has interviews of people who are interviewed from 3 different perspectives.  For example, the book she read was about the artist, Luis Camnitzer, as interviewed by two 17-year old girls, an artist, and the former mayor of Bogotá .  On the cover of the books in the series is a photograph of an actor who the person interviewed would like to be played by if a movie was made about their life.
Librería Donceles is a project by Pablo Helguera, and hosted by Kadist here in San Francisco.  On their website (here's a link),  Helguera's idea of "double removal," is described -- that the the donated books in the shop, "await new lives, new meanings, through the possession of a new owner." 

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November 2, 2014, Sunday afternoon -- Reading Natalie Angier

Selling his friend's artwork on 19th and Valencia
He is reading The Canon: A Whirligig Tour of the Beautiful Basics of Science, by Natalie Angier.  It was recommended by his ex-girlfriend.  He was looking for a pop sci book that would give a more complete picture than the other pop sci books he was reading -- Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation, by Michael Pollan, and Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal, by Mary Roach.  He is interested in reading about science, but doesn't like to read text books.

One of his favorite books is Blood Meridian, by Cormac McCarthy, which he just read.  He also really liked Danny, the Champion of the World, a children's book by Roald Dahl. 

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November 2, 2014, Sunday afternoon -- Reading T.J. English

In Dolores Park, reading next to the reader I posted about on Monday, and enjoying the last few hours of his trip before returning home to Sydney, Australia
He is reading Paddy Whacked: The Untold Story of the Irish American Gangster, by T. J. English.   It's about the Irish American mob.  He really likes the true crime genre.

His favorite book is Marching Powder: A True Story of Friendship, Cocaine, and South America's Strangest Jail, by Rusty Young, about an Englishman who is a drug runner and gets stuck in a Bolivian jail.  When the author was backpacking in South America he took a tour of a prison and met the person who he would write the book about.  He wound up bribing a guard to let him stay, and share a cell with the drug trafficker, so he could continue to interview him and learn about life in prison.

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November 2, 2014, Sunday afternoon -- Reading Juan Pablo Villalobos

Enjoying the sunny weather in Dolores Park

 She is reading Down the Rabbit Hole, by the Mexican author, Juan Pablo Villalobos.  It's about a child whose father is a drug baron.  She found it at Green Apple books, on their sale table at the front of the store.  She said that her rule about buying books is that if she reads the first page and wants to read further, than she gets the book. 

One of her favorite books is Jitterbug Perfume, by Tom Robbins.  She read it 16 years ago and she won't read it again because she's afraid that if she does, it will have lost its luster.  She is unwilling to test the theory that a good book stands up over time.  She also liked Skinny Legs and All by the same author.  She likes Tom Robbins because his is absurdist without being too absurd.

Another author she really likes is the French author, film maker/director, David Foenkinos.  She likes his books for his narrative voice.
The third arm in the picture, the one that does not belong to her, belongs to the person she was reading with.  On Wednesday I'll post about him. 

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October 26, 2014, Sunday afternoon -- Reading Michel Houellebecq

At the top of Bernal Hill
He is reading The Elementary Particles, by the French author, Michel Houellebecq, translated into English by Frank Wynne.  He picked this book up because he read in a New York Times article that the writer of Mad Men, Matthew Weiner, said that Houellebecq was his favorite contemporary author. 

One of his own favorite authors is the Norwegian author Karl Ove Knausgård, who was recommended by a friend.  Knausgård has written 6 biographical novels about his life.  He said the author's life isn't really that interesting, but what makes the books good is the poetic language.  He also said that Knausgård is controversial in Norway because he writes about his friends and family and doesn't change names.
Coincidentally, back in August, I photographed a Brazilian fashion designer reading the very same book (in the original French -- Les Particules élémentaires) in Paris last summer, also sitting on a wooden bench with a great view.  Here's the link.

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October 22, 2014, Wednesday morning -- Reading Armistead Maupin

Early morning on the BART platform

She is reading Tales of the City, by Armistead Maupin (my flash washed out the picture).  It's the San Francisco Public Library's One City One Book book for 2014, but that's not why she's reading it.  The reason is that she was reading a collection of essays by Joan Didion which mentioned San Francisco, and as a result, she remembered that she had this book (about San Francisco) on her shelf.

One of the best books she's read lately has been Freedom, by Jonathan Franzen. 



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October 16, 2014, Thursday afternoon -- Reading Sherman Alexie

Outside of Tartine in the Mission District
She is reading The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie.  She usually doesn't have time to read, but is on vacation, visiting from Denver.

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October 12, 2014, Sunday afternoon -- Reading a book edited by Daniel Handler

At a bar on 20th Street
She is reading The Best American Non-Required Reading, edited by Daniel Handler.  She just bought the book at its release at a Litquake event at Z-Space nearby.  The selections in the book, she said, are chosen by high school students at 826 Valencia, an after-school tutoring program.

Her favorite book right now is called Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, by Annie Dillard.  She picked it up because she'd just moved to Toronto from Iceland and wanted to immerse her self in the natural world.  Pilgrim at Tinker Creek has lots of descriptions of nature, she said.  It's set in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia in the 1970s. 

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October 12, 2014, Sunday afternoon -- Reading Rebecca Solnit

On a sunny afternoon in Dolores Park
He's reading The Faraway Nearby, by local author Rebecca Solnit.  He's read three of her books and really enjoys her writing.  Her best he thinks is Field Guide to Getting Lost.  It's the kind of book, he said, that gives you chills.

Recently he's been reading books by Colum McCann.  He randomly picked up Let the Great World Spin, by McCann, at Modern Times and then went on to read Dancer, also by McCann.  Both books, he said, have the same organizational structure, but Dancer, about Rudolph Nureyev is better.   He explained the structure as a collection of fictional narratives woven together around a historical figure/event in a way that is both respectful and relevant. Let the Great World Spin was set around Philippe Petit, who tight rope walked across the twin towers in 1974.

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