October 2, 2017, Monday morning -- Reading Luís Alberto Urrea

In the Financial District
She is reading The Hummingbird's Daughter, by Luís Alberto Urrea. She found this book, and most of the books she reads, at thrift stores and pays about 50 cents. So far, she said, it's worked out great.

A couple of her favorite authors are Carlos Castaneda and DH Lawrence. 

She told me that I looked like a hippie (maybe it was my new black sunhat) and we started talking about it being the 50th Anniversary of the Summer of Love. She said she was there, in the Haight Ashbury in 1967, listening to Joan Baez.


September 30, 2017, Saturday afternoon -- Reading Eve Babitz

In the Mission District
She is reading Eve's Hollywood, by Eve Babitz. It's a collection of short stories about a single woman in her 20's living in Southern California and New York. The stories written in the 70's, but was published recently.

Her favorite book is the Grapes of Wrath, by Steinbeck.


September 27, 2017, Wednesday evening -- Reading Rachel Cusk

While working at a bookstore on Potrero Hill
She is reading Outline, by Rachel Cusk. She wasn't actually reading it when I walked into the shop, but I saw a book sitting next to her and asked if she would be reading it when I left, and she explained that the book I'd pointed at, The Dinner, by Herman Koch, she was just previewing for her mother, to see if it would be good for her to read on vacation (still undecided), and that the book she was really reading was the one next to it, this one, Outline, by Rachel Cusk, which is about a woman teaching writing in Greece.

Her favorite book is Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley. She's read it 4 times. She likes that it's situated between different genres. It was one of the first Science Fiction books, and is also a bildungsroman and a gothic ghost story. She also likes the story behind how it was written and that it was written by an 18 year old woman. 


September 19, 2017, Tuesday morning -- Reading Ian Morris

Waiting for the train
She is reading Foragers, Farmers, and Fossil Fuels: How Human Values Evolve, by Ian Morris. It's for a class she's taking. I wish I had written down how she described the book. Of all the readers I've ever interviewed for this blog, she gave me one of the clearest, most thoughtful summaries.

Her favorite book is The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho. She loves the story and how anyone can relate to it. Another one of her favorite books is The Power of Now, by Eckhart Tolle, because it makes her want to live every day to the fullest.


July 21, 2017, Friday afternoon -- Reading author unknown

At the Legion of Honor
In a painting by Robert Feke (1707-1752), done in 1748, Mrs. Charles Apthorp (Grizzell Eastwick Apthorp) reads a book by an unknown author.
If your eyes are better than mine, comment or email me if you can make out the writing on the page.
*****A reader wrote me to say that it appears she is reading Paradise Lost. Thank you!


September 7, 2017 Thursday afternoon -- Reading Will Eisner

In the Financial District on a balmy morning (70 degrees after a light rain), the kind of weather that makes me feel like you're on vacation even when I'm not.
She is reading The Name of the Game, a graphic novel by Will Eisner.  She finds graphic novels easier to re-enter and continue the story than traditional novels. She also loves superheroes and recently read a graphic novel about Batman.


August 27, 2017, Sunday evening -- Reading Al Franken

At a coffee shop in the Mission District
He is reading Al Franken, Giant of the Senate, by Al Franken. Earlier this month he saw Al Franken speak at the Nourse Theater, as part of City Arts and Lectures and got the book.

His favorite author is the ancient Greek poet, Sappho. 

Something good he read recently was Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body, by Roxane Gay.


August 14, 2017, Monday evening -- Reading Christopher Moore

Next to a mural by Jon Weiss and Precita Eyes muralists
He is reading The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove, by Christopher Moore. He got it for his birthday.

His favorite book is Geek Love, by Katherine Dunn. Whenever he sees it at a thrift store he buys it, reads it, and gives it to a friend. Another favorite author of his is Mark Z. Danielewski, who wrote House of Leaves.


August 6, 2017, Sunday morning -- Reading Victor E. Frankl

Walking down a quiet street in the Mission District
He is reading Man's Search for Meaning, by Victor E. Frankl. The author describes his time in four different Nazi concentration camps, what it takes to survive, cope, and find meaning.

He enjoys reading books about psychology and plans on getting a Ph.D. in the subject. His favorite book is Discourses, which is the recorded teachings of the Greek philosopher, Epictetus, who was born around 50 A.D.


July 22, 2017, Saturday afternoon -- Reading a Chinese author

At a laundromat not far from San Francisco State University
I hadn't been in this neighborhood for a while because I no longer work at SFSU. Walking through the streets, I realized I missed how quiet and peaceful this part of town is.
He is reading a book written in Chinese. I asked him what the title was and he said that it would be difficult to translate it into English. I asked him what it was about and he said he didn't know yet. If anyone reading this blog speaks Chinese, and has read this book, maybe you could comment.

He doesn't have a favorite Chinese book, but his favorite books in English are the Harry Potter books, by J.K. Rowling. He read them when he first started reading in English. Lately, though, when he reads in English he reads about finance or psychology. In psychology he recently read a book about how to understand body language.


July 16, 2017, Sunday afternoon -- Reading Gary A. Haugen and Gregg Hunter

Near the Mesoamerican Cloud Forest, at Flower Piano, an event where pianos are scattered around the botanical gardens in Golden Gate Park and you can read while being accompanied by music
She is reading Terrify No More:Young Girls Held Captive and the Daring Undercover Operation to Win Their Freedom, by Gary A. Haugen, with Gregg Hunter.

We didn't talk to her for long because I was with my siblings, but I did ask her about her favorite book or author. She said there were so many, but that East of Eden, by John Steinbeck was one of them.


July 11, 2017, Tuesday afternoon -- Reading Annie Barrows

In the Mission District on a sunny afternoon

He is reading Nothing, a young adult novel by Annie Barrows. He found it in the free bin at Adobe Books, along with The Gospel According to Peanuts, (as in the cartoon by Charles Schulz) by Robert Short. Something he read good recently was The Waters of Eternal Youth, about an Italian police officer, by Donna Leon.


June 24, 2017, Saturday afternoon -- Reading Adam Grant

In the Mission District
She is reading Give and Take, by Adam Grant. She met another author who had co-written a book with him and learned about this book that way. It's about being a giver, and how you might think that givers have less, but they have more.

From a young age she has loved stories by Paullina Simons. She also liked I For Isobel, by Amy Witting, an Australian author. In general, she likes books that tell stories and also make a point of how to be better in life.

Another author she likes is Sydney Sheldon.

In High School she loved Shakespeare.

She's writing a book proposal right now about how to be an entrepreneur. Apparently women own about the same number of businesses as men, but make far less money as men who own businesses. One of the reasons why is that more women than men don't have the money to hire a consultant. The book she wants to write will give advice that a consultant would be able to give, leveling out the playing field.

She has her own business. They make accessories out of recycled fish leather, leftover from the food industry.


June 9, 2017, Friday morning -- Reading a psychology textbook coordonné by John S. Barnhill

At the beautiful Geneva Botanical Gardens, not far from the United Nations (if I'm ever in Geneva in the winter, that's where I'll be - chilling in the glassed-in tropical forests)

She is reading DSM-5 Cas cliniques, a psychology textbook coordonné by John S. Barnhill. She graduates at the end of June! She doesn't have much time to read for pleasure, but she does like reading Danielle Steel, in either French or in English.


June 4, 2017, Sunday afternoon -- Reading Janet Evanovich

At a cafe on a mountain called Harder Kulm, high above Interlaken, Switzerland
He is reading One for the Money, by Janet Evanovich. He's German, but has been living in Australia for years, so he does all his reading in English. His favorite book is The Power of Now, by Eckhart Tolle, which he read for the first time about 10 years ago and still reads frequently. Something else good that he's read recently is the Chet and Bernie mystery series, by Spencer Quinn, narrated by Chet, the dog, about his owner who's a Private Investigator.


May 31, 2017, Wednesday afternoon -- Reading John Gray and Edna Buchanan

Between semesters, I was able to take a vacation to France and Switzerland. I spent a couple of weeks eating good food, swimming, hiking, and managed to photograph a few readers, too.

On the shore of Lake Annecy in Duingt, France
They are from the Netherlands and doing some vacation reading. She is reading Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, by John Gray. He is reading Moord in Miami, by Edna Buchanan. During their non-vacation time they don't have much time to read, but when they do have time she likes to read "chick-flick"books, and he likes books by Dan Brown.


May 20, 2017, Saturday afternoon -- Reading Captain Charles Moore, with Cassandra Phillips

I think San Francisco would be an even nicer place if everyone sat on their front steps and read.   Coincidentally, May 20, 2017, when I met this reader, was SFPorchfest, for music on porches, backyards, and stoops of the Mission District. Reading should have a day like that. Work could be cancelled on a sunny day and everyone would go home and sit on their front steps and read and talk to their neighbors about their books.
She is reading Plastic Ocean, by Captain Charles Moore, with Cassandra Phillips.
She met and interviewed the author a few years ago when his boat was docked at her hometown.  She was doing research and studying (ecology?). She got Plastic Ocean about six years ago and is finally getting around to reading it. It took a sunny day. She just gave her dog a bath and they went out into the sun to dry off. Her dog loves the sun.
She has lots of favorite books and authors, but a couple that came to mind were The Name of the Wind, a fantasy novel by Patrick Rothfuss, and Righteous Porkchop, by Nicolette Hahn Niman, about the meat industry.


May 18, 2017, Thursday afternoon/evening -- Reading Donald Miller

At that time of day when it's both afternoon and evening at the same time
 He is reading Blue Like Jazz, by Donald Miller. It was a birthday gift. I asked him if he was feeling pressure about finishing it and reporting back because it was a gift and he admitted that he does find it hard to finish books sometimes, but this is honestly good. He can't put it down. 

If he had to name a favorite author it would be Charles Bukowski. A couple of good books he's read recently are The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho and This is Water, a  transcription of a graduation address David Foster Wallace gave in 2005.


May 18, 2017, Thursday afternoon/evening -- Reading Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney and Cory Doctorow

On a sunny Thursday afternoon/evening in the Mission District
They are reading The Nest, by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney and Walkaway, by Cory Doctorow. They bought them at a real live bookstore (!!). He chose his book because on the cover it is recommended by William Gibson. I asked my "favorite book/favorite author" question and like most people, he was stumped its weight. He doesn't really have a favorite author or book -- it depends on his mood and he cycles through work books and escapist literature. Right now, he likes Neal Stephenson. Something he read recently that was good was A Spy Among Friends, by Ben Macintyre. She tried to read it but couldn't get through it - lots of who is who? and backstabbing. Something else good he read was Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman, who is an economist. It's about how decisions are made.

For her, she was on the phone for most of the time we were talking, but she said that a good book that stands out for her is Little Bee, by Chris Cleave, which she read about 5 years ago. It's about a Nigerian Asylum-seeker.
The real live bookstore where they got their books was Christopher's Books in Potrero Hill.


May 11, 2017, Thursday evening -- Reading Robert Fernandez

At a bar in North Beach
She is reading Pink Reef, by Robert Fernandez. She heard about him at a poetry workshop. After hearing one of his poems, she wanted to read more. After this, she said she's going to City Lights to see if she can get his other books. He's pretty young, she said. He was born in 1980. One of his influences is Frank Ocean, an R&B artist she loves.
Her favorite author is Eileen Myles, who I looked up online while writing this blog entry. She has won several awards and written 19 books of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. It's good to have a favorite author who's prolific!