April 10, 2014, Thursday morning -- Reading Neil Gaiman

On the sidelines of the morning commute, smoking a cigarette, and reading American Gods, by Neil Gaiman.
Neil Gaiman is his favorite author, so he's reading his books over again. Neverwhere is his favorite. Other favorite authors of his are Stephen King (his early books) and Tom Clancy. He also loved the Harry Potter books, by J.K. Rowling.
"You'll never see me without a book," he said.


April 9, 2014, Wednesday morning -- Reading Kemble Scott

Walking through the SoMa, reading SoMa, by local author, Kemble Scott.
The book takes place after the dot-com boom in 2001 and explores life in the neighborhood, including the sexual encounters of the characters.  She works in sexual health and is reading this book to learn more about the populations she serves.
 Her favorite book is The Fifth Mountain, by Paulo Coelho.


April 7, 2014, Monday morning -- Reading William T. Vollmann

Before his morning commute, at a coffee shop in the SOMA
Reading The Royal Family, by William T. Vollmann.  He moved here 7 or 8 months ago and is reading books that are set in San Francisco.  This one takes place in the Tenderloin and North Beach.

Among his favorite books are The Unbearable Lightness of Being, by Milan Kundera; War and Peace, by Leo Tolstoy; and Paul Auster's The New York Trilogy


April 2, 2014, Wednesday morning -- Reading Siddur Sim Shalom for Weekdays

Enjoying the sunny weather, in front of the main library

Reading Siddur Sim Shalom for Weekdays, a Jewish prayer book, in both Hebrew and English.  She is reading at a prayer that begins, "We are thankful for the gift of our soul."

Her grandfather was a book binder (which is how she got her last name - Binder), and every time she visited him as a kid she got a book and a silver dollar. He also had a lot of National Geographics and she covered her bedroom walls as a child with the maps.
Her favorite author is Hermann Hesse.


Winter 2014, Saturday afternoon -- Reading a children's story

This was one of those weeks when every time I felt extroverted enough to talk to readers, I had forgotten my camera at home.  So, here's a couple of readers I photographed in January that I never posted.  I'm posting with the watercolor app, Waterlogue again in celebration of the rain.
These readers were so engrossed they looked like they could sit there for months... and they did.
It's actually a photo of a sculpture entiled "No, Mommy, That One," by Seward Johnson.  It was in the Fillmore with several other lifelike sculptures by the same artist (see my 3/3/14 post), which have since been taken down.  Here's a link to a photograph of the original sculpture.


March 23, 2014, Sunday evening -- Reading Thoreau

Doing a little après-snorkel at Two-Step, not far from Kona, Hawai'i
 Reading Walden, by Henry David Thoreau, inspired by Alexander Supertramp, the main character in John Krakhauer's non-fiction book, Into the Wild.   Supertramp, AKA, Christopher McCandless, ventures into the backcountry of Alaska and brings with him Walden to read.
Into the Wild is his favorite book.


March 23, 2014, Sunday evening -- Reading Veronica Roth and David Mitchell

On a bed of lava next to the snorkel spot "Two-Step" on Hawai'i's big Island (where I was, serendipitously, for Spring Break!!!)
Reading Allegiant, by Veronica Roth and Number9Dream, by David Mitchell.

Somehow my thumb got in the photos, though I'd like to think of it as non-dangerous lava flow.
Note to the readers:  The David Mitchell book I was talking about was Ghostwritten.  It was so oddly (but delightfully) bizarre and had many stories fit together within it and one of the characters also had a memory issue.  Thanks for letting me photograph you on your vacation.


March 14, 2014, Friday evening -- Reading Colonel Balck

On Friday evening I was at a lecture by Rick Prelinger, organized by CCA.  He talked about archives and working from pre-existing materials - this idea (as I interpreted his lecture) that future art can honor past art and that is one of the purposes of archives. In the background of his talk there was a slideshow in  which one of the pictures showed boxes of media (films? books?) that were just sitting in room.  I feel a kinship with his idea that archives should be used/accessed instead of boxed away.  It's one of the reasons I do my blog - to appreciate a book being read at a moment in time.  The moments a book is actually being read in its entire "lifetime" are, I think, few. 

In the spirit of appreciating pre-existing work, this blog post continues from the work of Dennis Oppenheim, whose photograph hung in the gallery where Prelinger gave his lecture:

On Jones Beach, reading Tactics: Vol II, Cavalry Artillery, by German Colonel Balck
Oppenheim's print reads:  Reading Position for second degree burn. Stage I, Stage II. Book Skin, Solar Energy. Exposure Time: 5 hours. Jones Beach.


March 13, 2014, Thursday evening -- Reading Jean Genet

At a laundromat in the Mission District, reading Querelle of Brest, by the french author, Jean Genet.  It takes place in a French sea port in Brittany and was recommended to him by a friend. 
His favorite books are The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger and The Pearl, by John Steinbeck, which he read in high school.  Recently, his favorite books have been by David Sedaris.  Before this he read Sedaris's Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls.  


March 13, 2014, Thursday evening -- Reading Sophie Kinsella

At Union Square, reading Shopaholic Takes Manhattan, by Sophie Kinsella.
She doesn't have a favorite book, and can't remember the last time she read one, but she loves to shop....and she said that she knows that reading is good for your brain.
 Happy St. Patrick's Day!


March 10, 2014, Monday evening -- Reading John Ronald Reuel Tolkien

On 9th Street in the SOMA

Reading The Two Towers, by John Ronald Reuel Tolkein (I'd always wondered what the J.R.R. stood for).

He is an avid reader. "I don't read books," he said, "I devour them."

The reason for his avid reading is that he is 8-years sober and at his 6-month point when he was having a rough time his sponsor gave him some advice.  He told him that whenever he either wanted to kill someone or have a drink, he should pick up a book, lock the door, and don't even let God in, unless you want to talk to him.  He now reads at least 3 books a week.

"When you watch a movie," he asked, "where's the action?"  
"On the screen," I said.
"When you watch TV," he asked, "where's the action?"
"On the screen," I said.
"When you read a book," he asked, "where's the action?"
"On the pages," I said, and he shook his head and told me I was wrong.
"It's in your head," he said.  "Here on the page, all there are is words."  Then, he went on to explain that all that work your head is doing is creating connections that will make you 68% less susceptible to dementia, if you read a book a week.  His cited was a John Hopkins study.


March 4, 2014, Tuesday evening -- Reading Carol O'Connell

At the grilled sandwich place on 20th Street 
Reading It Happens in the Dark, by Carol O'Connel. 

She's got the author Elizabeth George on CD in the car and James Patterson at her bedside table.  


March 3, 2014, Monday morning -- Reading the Bible

At United Nations Plaza
When he's not reading the Bible, he likes reading about railroading.  When he was a kid he lived near the Southern Pacific line, he said, and since then he's always loved trains, both real ones and models.


Winter, 2014, Saturday afternoon - Reading India Blake

On Fillmore Street, reading Captured, poems by India Blake. 

I saw her first from the bus on my way to a friends house and, then hours later, she was still there.  I wasn't able to ask her about her favorite books, or what she thought about this one though, for a very simple reason.
She is a scultpure, by the artist Seward Johnson and was part of the Fillmore Sculpture Project.      


February 24, 2014, Monday night -- Reading Christopher Isherwood

At the Revolution Cafe during an intermission of Classical Revolution (great classical music that happens every Monday night)
Reading Goodbye to Berlin, by Christopher Isherwood, which she had just picked up at nearby Dogeared Books on Valencia Street.  She was saying that she likes that it's open late, which reminded her of another bookstore, in Seattle, which is also open late, called Twice Told Tales, that has lots of cats that can wander all over the store overhead on interconnected bookshelves.
Her favorite book of all time is The Passion, by Jeanette Winterson, which she loves for the language.  When she was 13, her first favorite book was Wuthering Heights, by Emily Brontë

She said she reads all the time.


February 23, 2014, Sunday afternoon -- Reading Dr. Claudia Welch

On Van Ness Street, waiting for the bus

Her favorite book of all time is Siddhartha, by Hermann Hesse.  

On the walk on which I took this picture I passed the new Sightglass coffee shop at 20th and Alabama (no readers), the Streat Food Park at 13th and Bryant (no readers).  When I got to where Van Ness begins,  the newspaper vendor was reading a book (!!), but he said no to a photo.  From the All Star Cafe, to where Van Ness runs into the Bay, this reader was the only one I found. 


February 18, 2014, Tuesday evening -- Reading Sallie Walker, David Adler, and Michael Bedard

On Market Street
In celebration of Black History Month, reading Bessie Coleman, Daring to Fly, by Sallie Walker, illustrated by Janice Lee Porter, about a black woman stunt pilot (she could walk on the wing and parachute, "she could do almost any trick in an airplane, no matter how daring"), who was the first African American woman to earn a pilot's license.

She's also reading A Picture Book of Harriet Tubman, by David Adler, illustrated by Samuel Byrd; and Sitting Ducks, by Michael Bedard, about alligators who operate a duck factory.  Sitting Ducks is her favorite book.  She's read it 109 times with her mother and, even though she's only in first grade, can sound out and read a lot of the words herself.


February 18, 2014, Tuesday morning -- Reading Author Unknown

Waiting for the bus at Market and 5th Street


February 16, 2014, Sunday morning -- Reading Elmore Leonard

At The Bug hostel/resort near Yosemite
Reading Raylan, a crime novel by Elmore Leonard, named for the main character, Raylan Givens, a  Deputy U.S. Marshall. 

The reader is actually a friend of mine, who was stealing a bit of reading time between a day of snow shoeing and the drive back to San Francisco.  I tried to find someone who I didn't know who was reading in the lodge, but readers (of books) were scarce. 


February 8, 2014, Saturday afternoon -- Reading Robert Neuwirth

Working the cash register at Mission Minis, a cupcake shop on 22nd Street
Reading Shadow Cities: A Billion Squatters, a New Urban World, by Robert Neuwirth for an anthropology class at SF State.  This is his last semester before he finishes his Bachelor's degree. 

His favorite book is Night Over Day Over Night, by Paul Watkins, which is set in 1944 and told from the perspective of a German teenager fighting for Hitler's army.  The book is his favorite because of the way the narrator is portrayed.  The conditions are tough, but the character doesn't gripe.  "Have you ever seen the movie Drive?" he asked me.  I hadn't, but he explained that the narrator reminds him of the Ryan Gosling character in that movie, who plays a getaway driver and has a similar demeanor when dealing with adversity.

I had been doing my grocery shopping in the rain when I spotted this reader.  I'm still celebrating the pause in our drought by posting in watercolor using Waterlogue.