January 23, 2016, Saturday evening -- Reading author unknown

In Bangkok, in the Bangrak neighborhood
She is reading an article in a celebrity magazine. While cell phones are everywhere, and most vendors I saw were passing the time between customers on their cell phones, there were a few who spent their time reading printed text. This woman was all set up with a reading light and was happy to have her photo taken.

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January 19, 2016, Tuesday evening -- Reading author unknown

In the sleepy seaside town of Prachuap Khiri Kahn, Thailand
She is selling cuttlefish and reading a romance novel.
Asking permission to photograph her for my blog was challenging. In other countries that I've traveled to I've spoken enough of the local language to explain my blog, but I'd never studied Thai before and the YouTube sites I studied before my vacation didn't cover "how to ask people if they want to be on your reading blog." So, I had to, with a very slow internet connection (Horray for T-Mobile -- free international roaming), show her examples of other posts. She was happy to be photographed.

I also tried some cuttlefish. The cart she is sitting at is attached to a moped/scooter that she drives around town or parks at the market. All the cuttlefish vendors (we saw them in Bangkok, too)  have a horn they toot to let you know cuttlefish is coming through the neighborhood, just like an ice cream truck plays their signature music. After you order, she takes a cuttlefish off the clothesline where it's drying, runs it through the wringer (the device on her left) to flatten it out, then grills it, and then flattens it out further and serves it with a cup of sweet chili sauce with ground peanuts. It's really delicious -- chewy and a little crispy. All this attached to a scooter!

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January 19, 2016, Tuesday afternoon -- Reading Herman Koch

On a boat in the Gulf of Thailand
He is reading, in Dutch, Geachte Heer M., (or Dear Mr. M.) by Herman Koch. It's told from 5 different view points. A teacher has affair and then is killed. What happened? The author has also written a more famous novel called The Dinner.

His favorite author is Van der Heijden, who he likes because the writing is both difficult and clever, touching and emotional. He read Tonio - Ein Requiemroman, a 600 page book about the author's son who died at age 20.

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January 12, 2016, Tuesday afternoon -- Reading

On a hot and hazy day in Sydney, Australia 

He is reading about cars and typewriters from 1966 in Australia Remember When, by Bob Byrne, published in 2915. A friend loaned it to him. 

He lives in a public house where there isn't a good place to read, so he likes to come here, near the ferry terminal at Circular Quay. 

He's from London, but first came here to visit in 1951, visited a couple more times, and then moved here in the 60's.

His favorite book is The Longest Night: The Bombing of London on May 10, 1941, by Gavin Mortimer.
If you look at the picture closely you can see the opera house.

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January 8, 2016, Friday afternoon -- Reading Eckhart Tolle

At Bondi Beach, in Sydney, Australia 

She is reading A New Earth, by Eckhart Tolle, in Hebrew. She is visiting Australia from Israel.

Her favorite book is The Master and Margarita, by the Russian author, Mikhail Bulgakov. When she was 8 years old her family emigrated from Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) to Israel. Her mother gave  her the book when she was 13. It's deeper and more magical than any other book she's ever read. She said you would have to have a good imagination and sense of humor to write such a book, and no fear at that time to write such a book at that time and place.

Recently she's read the Millennium series, by Stieg Larson; Twilight, by Stephanie Meyer and the first two-and-a-half books of the Fifty Shades of Grey series, by E.L. James, which she stopped reading because she found it annoying. She also thought the main character was so similar to the main character in Twilight.

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January 4, 2016, Monday Morning-- Reading Lee Child and Cathy Kelly

In the Sydney, Australia domestic terminal 

He is reading Make Me, by Lee Child. She is reading Between Sisters, by Cathy Kelly. They just returned from a cruise and are on their way home. His favorite author is Lee Child. She laughed and said she likes anything that's easy reading.
(I'm in Australia visiting my husband's family and was reading Cockroaches, by Jo Nesbo, on the 15-hour flight.)

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December 20, 2015, Sunday evening -- Reading Anthony Powell

In Helena, Montana


He is reading A Dance to the Music of Time: Spring, by Anthony Powell.  We were sitting in the kitchen at the tail-end of a party, and out comes the book. It's always a good idea to have a book when the party slows down. He read us selections aloud when we asked.

One of his favorite books is Sheldon Jacob's Guide To Successful No-Load Fund Investing, by Sheldon Jacobs, Lawrence Solomon, and Layne T. Aurand.

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December 17, 2015, Thursday evening -- Reading Kahlil Gibran

At a taqueria in the Mission District
He is reading The Prophet, by Kahlil Gibran. His grandmother gave it to him a few years ago and he gave it to his cousin, who carries it with him all the time. This is a copy he got to replace the one he gave to his cousin.

Something good he's read recently is Tales of Power, by Carlos Castaneda. It's about an apprenticeship with a shaman. He said it was really trippy and it blew his mind.

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December 10, 2015, Thursday evening -- Reading Molly Crabapple

Waiting for friends on a rainy night
Sometimes this blog is hard to keep up because I don't always feel like talking to strangers, but after I caught a glimpse of the lovely red inky illustrations within the text of the book, I couldn't help myself. She is reading Drawing Blood, a memoir by Molly Crabapple, an illustrator she likes and follows on Twitter.

One of the best books she's read lately has been The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, by Gabrielle Zevin, which is about books, and love.

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December 6, 2015, Sunday afternoon -- Reading John Wyndham

Reading before a piece of pie
She is reading Chocky, by John Wyndham. She said that the book is Sci Fi, but also a book about families.  The family is concerned about a child having an imaginary friend, but the friend may not be imaginary.

Her partner, who is sitting across the table from her, is going to read it after she finishes. They have so many books at home, they said, that they are thinking about stacking them up like a table (tables?) and putting a surface over it/them.

A good book she's read recently is 1Q84, by Haruki Murakami. She said it was pretty phenomenal and that she thinks Murakami is one of the best contemporary authors.

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November 26, 2015, Thanksgiving afternoon -- Reading Alexandre Dumas

On Haight Street
He is reading The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas. He reads it once every two years or so. He reads it again and again not, he said, for the revenge, but because, of the way the character's heart is warmed and he's allowed to be human again.

I asked him it was his favorite book and he said he didn't know if he had a favorite book, but the book he has read the most is Fool, a parody of King Lear by Christopher Moore.

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November 18, 2015, Wednesday Evening -- Reading Haruki Murakami

Leaving the BART station
She is reading The Wind -Up Bird Chronicle, by Haruki Murakami. It was recommended by her sister-in-law and she had a heard a lot of people talking about it. However, although she's almost finished, she doesn't love it.

Her favorite author is Kurt Vonnegut.

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November 6, 2015, Friday morning -- Reading Jennifer Egan

Where North Beach, the Financial District, and Chinatown intersect, reading a book where the short story and novel intersect

He was walking down the street while reading and when I stopped him and asked my question. He looked at me for a moment and laughed. He said that I'd photographed him before. It was about 18 months earlier, he said, a few months after he'd moved to San Francisco. He'd been reading at a coffee shop in the SoMa. I couldn't remember anything except that the book had a racy cover, and the sun was in his eyes when I took the photo. Here's the post.

This time around, in the shade of the FedEx truck, he said he had been reading the classics, but is taking a break from them. He's not exactly slumming it, though, reading a Pulitzer Prize winner -- A Visit from the Goon Squad, by Jennifer Egan.

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November 5, 2015, Thursday afternoon, Reading Edward Rutherfurd

In the Mission District

He is reading New York, by Edward Rutherfurd. He was talking to his mother about books the other day and she recommended this and, he said, he's enjoying the ride. Before this he was reading Pema Chödrön, Rumi, Suzuki (I didn't write it down and I can't remember if he said D.T. Suzuki or Shunryū Suzuki), and other books related to Buddhist thought. After reading from this genre for so long, reading fiction brought something fresh to his life. He said he's planning on reading more fiction in the future.


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November 1, 2015, Sunday afternoon, Reading Carlos Castaneda

On Valencia Street
He's reading A Separate Reality: Further Conversations with Don Juan, by Carlos Castaneda. Castaneda is, he said, an anthropologist and a shaman. He found the book on the street.

His favorite author right now is Boethius, a Roman writer who died in AD 524, who, he said, synthesized Christianity and Plato's philosophy together with mystical thinking.

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October 16, 2015, Friday evening -- She is reading many authors, edited together by Erick Lyle

Sitting in the beautiful, mural-rich Balmy Alley
She is reading Streetopia, edited by Erick Lyle. It's about the Streetopia exhibition in the Tenderloin neighborhood in San Francisco that happened in 2012. Artists got the community involved and turned abandoned storefronts into interactive art places, celebrating the Tenderloin as a neighborhood.

Lately, a couple of her favorite books have been Home Ground: A Guide to the American Landscape Paperback, edited by Barry Lopez & Debra Gwartney, and The Place That Inhabits Us: Poems from the San Francisco Bay Watershed, edited by Sixteen Rivers Press, with a foreword by Robert Haas.

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October 14, 2015, Wednesday evening -- Reading Stephen Kinzer

I am always impressed when I see people walking while reading. It seems to say that they love what the author is saying so much, that would risk walking into an uncovered utility hole, just to keep on being in the author's thoughts. Or, maybe these readers are just more coordinated than I am.

In the Mission District, walking while reading
We had a very short conversation. She is reading All the Shah's Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror, by Stephen Kinzer. One of her favorite authors is Rashid Khalidi, a Palestinian-Lebanese author who is a professor at Columbia.

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October 11, 2015, Sunday afternoon -- Reading Marina Keegan

At Dolores Park
He is reading The Opposite of Loneliness: Essays and Stories, by Marina Keegan. He was first introduced to the author's work shortly after she died in a car accident, when his friends recommended some of her short stories and essays.  Later, this book was published posthumously and he found himself wanting to read even more of her writing.

Keegan recalled being paid $100 to attend a recruiting session at Yale by a hedge fund: “I got this uneasy feeling that the man in the beautiful suit was going to take my Hopes and Dreams back to some lab to figure out the best way to crush them.” (from an article by Nicholas Kristof, published in the New York Times)

His favorite author is Jorge Luis Borges. One of his favorite Borges books is The Garden of Forking Paths.


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October 1, 2015, Thursday morning, Reading Gordon Chin

I always love it when I find readers who are reading about the big issues of the day, like the reader from September 19th who was reading about migrant issues, and this reader, who was reading about how neighborhoods have responded to gentrification.

In the Mission District 
She is reading Building Community, Chinatown Style, by Gordon Chin. She said that what Chinatown has faced can be considered when dealing with gentrification in the SoMa and Mission. She said it wasn't the same, of course, as in Chinatown, but it can be learned from.

One of her favorite authors that she's been reading lately is Jhumpa Lahiri.



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September 19, 2015, Saturday afternoon -- Reading Jonny Steinberg

At a park on Valencia Street
She is reading A Man of Good Hope, by Jonny Steinberg. It was a gift from a friend who is working in Africa on migrant issues, and gave this book to 5 of her friends to help them better understand what is going on concerning migration. In this book a boy from Somalia leaves his home after his family is killed in a civil war.

Before this she read The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, by Michelle Alexander, a dark book about racism. Recently she also read The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, by Junot Díaz.


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