May 19, 2015, Tuesday evening -- Reading John Muir

Last week my friend Allison (pictured) showed us around her old stomping grounds in Sequoia National Park, where she used to live, just inside the park, when she was in elementary school. Naturally, she grew up with a love for the great outdoors. Once she tried to skip school, but got scared by a coyote and ran back home.

At Sequoia National Park, sitting next to the campfire before dinner
She is reading Collected Works of John Muir, Naturalist. She's working on writing a screen play about Mr. Muir.

She told us stories about how Muir climbed a tree in a wind storm to ride it back and forth over the forest. This reminded me of JMW Turner, the landscape painter, who had himself tied to a ship mast to better experience the sea.
In the background is her tent, that she's had since 1997. It rained on us, but the tent held strong.


May 21, 2015, Thursday morning -- Reading Raymond Carver

At Sequoia National Park
He is reading a collection of short stories by Raymond Carver. A friend of his from college, in Boston, where he is studying funk and groove drumming, is from the same town Raymond Carver is from -- Catskanie, Oregon -- so he decided to read this.

The night before he was sitting on the bear bin reading a book his sister brought along about why Star Wars is so popular. He was reading it because he finds that he can't read too many short stories in a row.

One of his favorite books is Gravity's Rainbow, by Thomas Pynchon, though he admitted that he wasn't "fully present" through all of it. (A few years ago I interviewed a reader whose page-by-page illustration of Gravity's Rainbow was shown at the Whitney. Here's the post.)  He likes Pynchon's other books, too, like The Crying of Lot 49, which he read in High School. Something good he read recently was House of Leaves, a horror/love story, by Mark Danielewski.


May 14, 2015, Thursday morning -- Reading Victor Hugo

At a cafe near Bernal Hill

He is reading Les Miserables, by Victor Hugo. He's been reading it for about a year now, with other books in between. When he finishes these last hundred or so pages, next up is Midnight's Children, by Salman Rushdie. 

His favorite book is Ulysses, by James Joyce, which he loves for complexity and Joyce's ability to adapt a myth into a story, and for its digressions.


I've decided to post just once a week. See you on Monday!


May 4, 2015, Monday afternoon -- Reading Colin Rickards

On Mission Street
He is reading The Man from Devil's Island, by Colin Rickards, about a penal colony in French Guiana. A friend recommended it.

One of his favorite books is The Tale of the Body Theif, by Ann Rice.


April 29, 2015, Thursday afternoon -- Reading Patrick deWitt and Chuck Palahniuk

In the Castro
She is reading Beautiful You, by Chuck Palahniuk, her favorite author. She's read most of his books. Her favorite is Rant. She said that the plot and mystery in his books make you think and that they are good at making you feel a certain way, a way she couldn't put into words, but she said that Palahniuk is good at describing violence.

He is reading The Sisters Brothers, by Patrick deWitt. His favorite author is R.A. Salvatore, who wrote the Dark Elf fantasy trilogy. He said that the battle scenes are especially good because of how he describes strategy and weapons.
 Good luck!


April 29, 2015, Thursday afternoon -- Reading Alex Segura and Dan Parent

In the Castro
He is reading Archie Meets Kiss, by Alex Segura, illustrated by Dan Parent. This is the first Archie comic book he's read, but he's a fan of Kiss. He saw it at the library and thought it looked fun.

One of his favorite authors is F. Scott Fitzgerald.


April 20, 2015, Monday evening -- Reading Ruth Ozeki

At Porchlight, a storytelling series, before recording the podcast
She is reading A Tale for the Time Being, by Ruth Ozeki, which she got as a present. Some of her favorite authors are John Irving, Rebecca Solnit, and Haruki Murakami. Of Murakami's books, her favorite is The Windup Bird Chronicle.


April 18, 2015, Saturday afternoon -- Reading Lynne Olson

On the Muni
He is reading Citizens of London: The Americans Who Stood with Britain in Its Darkest, Finest Hour, by Lynne Olson, about the alliance between Britain and the United States in World War II.

When he was a kid his favorite author was Lucius Beebe, whose railroad books he enjoyed.  He went on to tell me that Beebe was a journalist and writer of books in the 1930s and 40s and that he wrote a society column as "Mr. New York" in the Herald Tribune, and later moved to Virginia City, Nevada where he revamped a newspaper that Samuel Clemons wrote for (not at the same time -- Clemons wrote for it in the 1860s)!


April 18, 2015, Saturday afternoon -- Reading James W. Loewen

Near the Embarcadero
She is reading Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong, by James W. Loewen, which she recommends. She got it at Book Passage at the Ferry Building and likes it so much she's been annotating every page.


April 18, 2015, Saturday afternoon -- Reading J.K. Rowling, translated by Gemma Rovira Ortega

At the Ferry Building amid a goat festival
She is reading Harry Potter y el misterio del principe (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince), the sixth book in the series, by J.K. Rowling, translated by Gemma Rovira Ortega.

She is a human rights lawyer and sometimes has Spanish speaking clients, so she's reading this (and has read the previous five, too) in Spanish to improve her language skills. When she was a child she read these books in English.

Her favorite author is John Steinbeck and her favorite of his books is East of Eden.


April 12, 2015, Sunday afternoon -- Reading Mario Vargas Llosa

It felt like summertime in San Francisco, the kind of weather that's almost too hot for jeans.

In the Mission District
She is reading Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter, a novel by the Nobel Prize winning Peruvian author, and politician, Mario Vargas Llosa, in preparation for an upcoming trip to Peru with her brother. She was also going to get a book by Daniel Alarcón, who lives in San Francisco, and is a Peruvian American, but already had too many books.

Her favorite book of all time is Anne of Green Gables, by Lucy Maud Montgomery, which she read when she was nine. A scene that sticks out in her mind is the one where Anne was being made fun of for having red hair so she tried to dye it blond (or auburn?), but it came out green.

Something good she read recently was Supercapitalism: The Transformation of Business, Democracy, and Everyday Life, by Robert Reich, which talks about inequality, and the balance between democracy and capitalism. She said the book was really illuminating.


April 9, 2015, Thursday afternoon -- Reading Larry Niven, Poul Anderson, and Dean Ing

At the BART station

He is reading The Man-Kzin Wars, created by Larry Niven, with Poul Anderson and Dean Ing.

One of his favorite books is Dune, by Frank Herbert.
He said that I'd photographed him once before, a couple of years ago. I looked through my blog and couldn't find the post, but I'm sure I must have, and it wouldn't be the first time I've approached a reader a second time. Although San Francisco is a big city, I am a creature of habit and so are a lot of readers. I get on the same buses, go to the same places and sometimes, aside from work, I might go weeks without leaving my neighborhood.


April 3, 2015, Friday afternoon -- Reading Leslie Feinberg

On Mission Street in the Mission District
She is reading Stone Butch Blues, a novel by Leslie Feinberg, about butch and femme culture in the 1960s, when society was much less accepting of gay culture and gay bars were illegal.
Something good she read recently was...

I was wearing a splint for my sprained wrist and didn't write it down.  I thought I would be able to remember, but can't. Maybe the author Renata Adler? This is just a guess. 


February 28, 2015, Saturday afternoon -- Reading Ann Leckie

At a park on Valencia Street

He is reading Ancillary Justice, by Ann Leckie, which he got at Borderlands bookstore next to the park.

I am posting this over a month after taking this picture because I got caught up with getting married, and then I sprained my wrist. So, as a result, I'm looking at my notes about our interview jammed beneath notes on ice estimates, emailing students, and what to text relatives, and all I see is an author's name: Patrick Rutherford, and I'm not sure who this author is or what he means to the reader.

That's all. I'm back to posting again, though!


February 13, 2015, Friday morning -- Reading Daniel Polansky

On a sunny morning, near Union Square
He is reading Low Town, by Daniel Polansky. He doesn't have a favorite book or author. He said he likes to read everything. Before this he read The Brethren, by John Grisham and The Maze Runner, by James Dashner.


February 12, 2015, Thursday morning -- Reading Ed Greenwood

Manning the Classics Students Association fundraising table

He is reading Spellfire, by Ed Greenwood. His favorite books are The Lord of the Rings trilogy, by J.R.R. Tolkien. He even has the ring inscription tattooed on his right bicep (which he showed me! The calligraphy was awesome).  Another favorite book is Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card.


February 7, 2015, Saturday afternoon -- Reading Lynne Huffer

This is my second time photographing this reader!  The first time was this past September on 16th Street, again reading while walking.

In the Mission District, on the way to a Gay Shame meeting (their website says that Gay Shame is a celebration of resistance and that all are welcome)
He is reading Are the Lips a Grave?: A queer feminist on the ethics of sex, by Lynne Huffer. It's about reconciling feminist philosophies with queer philosophies. He's not convinced that they are reconcilable without a great deal more thought/time.
Thanks for letting me photograph you again.


February 4, 2015, Wednesday morning -- Reading William Somerset Maugham

In the Mission District, enjoying a cup of coffee on a break from work
He is reading The Moon and Sixpence, by William Somerset Maugham.  It's based on the life of the painter, Gauguin.

Four months ago he read Maugham's Of Human Bondage, which is a semi-autobiographical account of the author's life, and has been on a Maugham kick ever since. He's read about 40 of his books so far.
The minute I walk away from a reader, I always have at least another 5 questions, in this case, where did you find this beautiful, old edition of the book? at 40 books, is this one of the last ones left to read? what will you read when you finish Maugham? what other authors do you like?  have you binge-read other authors?


February 8, 2015, Sunday afternoon -- Reading William Sargant

At Toys R Us
 She is reading Battle for the Mind: A Physiology of Conversion and Brainwashing, by William Sargant, which she highly recommends.  She's reading it because, at the moment, she is "writing two articles about the sad mechanics of brainwashing and mind wars in Russia."

As for the favorite book of all time question, she said it's impossible to answer, but that today, it's War and Peace, by Tolstoy.
Btw, I am not the photographer for this lovely photo.  Instead, I saw it on Facebook and asked the reader, author Zarina Zabrisky herself, if I could ferret it away and put it on my blog. She's one of my favorite people to see at literary readings because she's so dynamic.  There were also pictures on FB with this one of her screaming around the store on a scooter.