Sunday, July 27, 2008

I Saw The Same Book Twice!

Seriously, what are the chances? What are the chances that in the morning I would spot a commuter on the train reading a novel and on the way back see the very same commuter with the very same book? Come on, this is New York! This is the subway! Same subway car twice? What a coincidence!

On Tuesday, July 22nd, I saw a man reading Tim O'Brien's July, July, which reminded me that I'd been wanting to read The Things They Carried for a long time now. A woman was reading Chuck Palahniuk's Choke, which I have always been intrigued by, but the anatomical cover art turns me off. Man reading Paris 1919. A 2008 edition of What Color is Your Parachute? Does it change colors every year? I had no idea that the book was still around. A woman was reading Donald McCaig's Rhett Butler's People with such intensity that I was a little surprised not to see her lips move. Maybe I didn't look closely enough.

On the way back downtown, I saw a woman reading Jennifer Weiner's Good In Bed, a chick lit book that I could not get through because I kept getting bored. Hmm, maybe I can subtitle this blog Books That I Could Not Finish. Another one was reading Two Little Girls in Blue, by Mary Higgins Clark. I bought it for my mother in law when she broke her hip while visiting us in New York and was laid up in the hospital. While waiting for her one day, I read the back and that was pretty much all I needed to know. Children kidnapped, if I recall correctly. And apparently wearing blue outfits. I heard Mary Higgins Clark speak once and she is so charismatic and lovely, and yet I find her completely unreadable.

Butterfly Lost. a mystery by David Cole. Never heard of him or the book. P.D. James' The Lighthouse. I've only read one P.D. James book, and I am going to read another one. Yes, I know that's a big announcement. I'm sorry that I didn't give you more warning. And then it happened! On 23rd street, in walked Choke again! Still reading! Well, she wasn't reading when she walked in, but I am assuming that she did once she sat down. I wouldn't know, because I had to get off the train then.

On July 23rd, I saw someone engrossed in Bill Buford's Heat, which I've read and recommend. Buford worked at Babbo, a top NYC Italian restaurant that everyone should visit and he chronicles his adventures. Great read for foodies and gossips alike. There was also someone sleeping with an open copy of The Big U-by Neal Stephenson sprawled across his chest. Others were reading Beautiful Boy (another Starbuck's book, this time about a father's journey through his son's addiction. Would you like a latte with that?), The Firm, vintage John Grisham and Rough Crossings: The Slaves, the British and the American Revolution. Last but definitely not least, the person sitting next to me was reading Black Nationalism in Capitalist America, which for some reason isn't listed on

Heading home, there was an Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood, and on the train I was greeted with Dirty Diplomacy, which I hope to whatever is holy wasn't a Henry Kissinger confidential. I also spotted Rex Stout mystery and The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay which I started but could not get through. Whenever I see a book that I could not finish, I scrutinize the reader making her way through my failure. There was nothing about this woman that I could pinpoint that made her stick with Kavalier & Clay. Another reader was clutching Tell No One, which looked like something that I would get from the library when I was thirteen and bored out of my mind. She wasn't thirteen, although I can't comment on boredom status. And then there was Plum Sykes' Bergdorf Blondes. Yes, I hate chick lit, but I liked this one. What can I say? I'm inconsistent. And possibly a hypocrite.

Thursday and Friday were low book days on the subway. On July 24th, I saw Confederacy of Dunces, which I really do love quite a bit because it is so funny and the story of its posthumous publication is so tragic. On July 25th, the week ended with my seeing Hard by Wayne Hoffman and Where the Girls Are: Growing Up Female With the Mass Media. No, they were not together.


Ann said...

There's a new P.D. James coming this fall, so you can schedule that in. She's a master.

And Tell No One is a *great* "airplane read," which would also make it a great subway read -- though I am always afraid to get too engrossed in a book on the subway, for various reasons.
(disclosure, I work for the publisher of both books mentioned above, but I would love them even if I didn't).

I was happy this weekend to see several people reading on benches in the Boston Common and the Public Garden, but the only book I could identify was Eat Pray Love.

Marinka said...

I confess that when I looked up "Tell No One" it did look completely fantastic.

I have a renewed appreciation for people reading on public transportation, as opposed to fiddling with their blackberries.

Mayberry said...

I love the whole idea for this blog ... more more more please!

Olga said...

Did you see anyone read the "Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell"?
And what will you make of a person reading this book on subway?