Thursday, April 2, 2009

Do You Read ...Outdoors?

The WPA guide to NYC has been a great read... and it's filled with maps and illustrations too. The wonderful thing about this Works Progress Administration Guide is that it can still be used, all these years later. The old neighborhood has hardly changed. Bodegas and newsstands may move, change owners... but generally my old neighborhood ...the landscape... looks just the same as it did way back when.

Met a man on the street ~ sitting on a bench, reading. He said the book he was reading was very good. He said he didn't want to be photographed reading outdoors, because he is against looking like a person who would be reading on the street. He said he didn't normally read on the street, but usually read inside a Starbucks.

"I don't want to project that image" he said.

I was confused. He explained that people look homeless when they read on the street.

I haven't been reading a lot of new fiction since I've been putting loads of free classic books onto my Kindle. Re-reading some very excellent Daniel Defoe (Moll Flanders and Robinson Crusoe.) I find if I take my Kindle everywhere, I end up getting a lot of reading done. Much more than if I lug around a selection of books. (Which I used to do.) I no longer have to carry a huge handbag or tote to hold all of my books. I'm back to reading as much as I want wherever I want, but not much new fiction.

I've started to read Stargazey too, so far so good!


Deborah Godin said...

I think that conversation with the 'reading man' was worth a thousand photos!

tut-tut said...

Not very polite to be seen reading on the street . . . I love those WPAs, especially when they have the map. It's fun to figure out what road now was which.

R.L. Bourges said...

Reading what book of manners was that man raised on? Maybe if he read from a Kindle? That way the whole world would know he's not homeless?!? people invent such strange problems for themselves...

I'll have to check out that book by Bennis, the title sounds interesting.

LOVED the cover art on the Billie Letts book. Have to check that one out too (oy, such hardship, I can't believe it) :-)

The quotes are...delicious. You watch that apricot detected by Jane until it's just right, you split it, eat it slowly then you raise your glass to Muriel and wash it down with a bit of champagne.

Oh. And I should check out Martha Grimes, too? (Good thing you don't post every day, A R, nobody could keep up with you!)


Tom said...

It is such a nice day...i think perhaps i will read a bit out on the bench... but not before i get 3 or 4 miles in...

Marianna said...

I like reading on trains or buses. Most of all I love reading on the beach during those long, hot summer days in Greece.

Oh I am reading 'Persuasion' by J. Austen lol

Take care
peace and love

Megan said...

I agree with R.L. so much I'm getting boring, I think. But yes, what interesting and strange things people can turn into problems.

Glory, I wonder what a WPA guide of L.A. would look like. I suppose downtown itself is relatively the same, but beyond that?

You remind me that I have to complete my thoughts on OSH - hard to do now that I've fowarded my copy on to mom and can't refer to it...

lettuce said...

the homeless man made me laugh

sorry, not homeless, my mistake

R.L. Bourges said...

this for Megan:

Dear Megan: I'm not in the least bit bored with your agreeing with me. Please feel free to agree with me whenever it suits you (and vice-versa, I suppose, but agreement is fine. Really, really.) :-)

Auntie, aka cagny said...

Hello Avid,
I want to bring this interesting reading challenge to your attention. It's a Global Reading Challenge. I'm in it! Check it out at
Hope you will join in too!

Auntie, aka cagny said...

ooooops! Sorry!
I gave you the wrong link!
Go to
There! That's better.

Barbara said...

Do you read multiple books at one time? I seem to need to read sequentially. The Stargazey is next in line after I finish Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers.

mouse (aka kimy) said...

that man's remark about reading on the street is utter nonsense! what a kook!

My Classic Fiction Book List -Partial List

  • Austen, Jane: (Complete Works)
  • Balzac: Cousin Bette/ Eugenie Grandet / Cousin Pons
  • Best Russian Short Stories
  • Boyle, TC: Short Works
  • Brennan, Maeve : Short Works, 1 Novella
  • Bronte, Emily, Ann, Jane (Complete Works)
  • Brookner, Anita ( Complete Works)
  • Cather, Willa (Complete Works)
  • Chekov: Short Works
  • David Copperfield (Dickens)
  • Dickens:A Tale of Two Cities
  • Dickens:Great Expectations
  • Dickens:Nicholas Nickelby
  • Dickens:Our Mutual Friend
  • Dickens:The Old Curiosity Shop
  • Doyle, Roddy (some novels, memoir)
  • Drabble, Margaret (4 Novels)
  • Drieser, Theodore (Complete Works)
  • Fitzgerald, F.Scott (Most Novels & short works)
  • Hardy, Thomas (Complete Works)
  • Hemingway, Short stories
  • Hemingway: The Old Man in the Sea
  • Hemingway: The Sun Also Rises
  • Hugo: Les Miserables/Hunchback Of ND
  • James, Henry: Daisy Miller
  • James, Henry: In The Cage
  • James, Henry: Portrait of a Lady
  • James, Henry: The Golden Bowl
  • James, Henry: What Maisy Knew
  • James, Henry: Wings of a Dove
  • James, Henry:The Ambassadors
  • James, Henry; The Bostonians
  • Kerouac: Dharma Bums
  • Kerouac: On The Road
  • Kerouac: The Subterraneans
  • Kerouac: Tristessa
  • Lardner,Ring:Short Works
  • Larsen: Quicksand
  • Lewis, Sinclair: Arrowsmith
  • Lewis, Sinclair: Free Air
  • Lewis, Sinclair: Main Street
  • Lewis, Sinclair: The Job
  • MacGill, Patrick (Complete works)
  • Mackin, Walter (novels)
  • Maupassant: Short Works, novels
  • McGahern, John (novels of)
  • McNulty, John (Short Works)
  • Norris, Frank: McTeague
  • O'Brien, Edna (3 Novels)
  • O'Donnell, Paeder : Novels of
  • O. Henry
  • Potok, Chaim (4 novels/1 non fiction)
  • Salinger, JD : Nine Stories
  • Salinger: Franny & Zooey
  • Salinger: Raise High the Roofbeams
  • Salinger: The Catcher in the Rye
  • Sinclair, Lewis: Dodsworth
  • Sinclair, Lewis: Elmer Gantry
  • Sinclair, Upton: King Coal
  • Sinclair, Upton: The Jungle
  • Steinbeck, John: Sweet Thursday
  • Steinbeck: Winter of our Discontent
  • Steinbeck: Cannery Row
  • Steinbeck: East of Eden
  • Steinbeck: The Grapes of Wrath
  • Theroux, Paul (3 Novels )
  • Toibin, Colm: (Novels of)
  • Tolstoy: Anna Karenina
  • Tolstoy: Short Works
  • Turgenev (2 novels)
  • Twain: T Sawyer, Life on the Mississippi
  • Vonnegut: Early Works (1950s-60s)
  • Wharton, Edith: Novels of/Short Stories
  • Women & Fiction (Edit. Cahill)
  • Zola, Emile ( 10 novels)