Friday, July 4, 2008


So clearly I'm making the rules up as I go along, but on Thursday morning I thought of another one--the person spotted with the book on the NYC subway or bus must actually be reading the book, not just carrying it prop-like. Of course I do not really think that New Yorkers carry books as props, but what about the tourists? What do we know about them, really?

And I'm sorry to say that I could have had a star cameo in this post, because I saw Project Runway's Michael Kors walking down the street on Thursday, and although he was not technically on the subway, I was on my way to the subway, so certainly that counts for something. Except he wasn't reading a book. Nor was he carrying one. He was carrying a bottle of water, and he wasn't even reading its label. Just walking and carrying it. He looked great, not orange at all, like he often does on the show.

Ok! Great news! I did get to see some readers on the downtown 3 train yesterday morning. One woman was reading In the Midst of It All, seeing no irony apparently that in putting her purse on the seat next to her in the standing room only subway car, she really was in the midst of it all. Or is that not what "irony" means? I'm using Irony in the Alanis Morrissette sense. Another woman was reading a library copy of Two Lives, which apparently is not the Two Lives about Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas, by the scandalous Janet Malcolm.

On the way back on the Bronx bound 5 uptown train, as I had to get off prematurely at 14th Street because the man that I was sitting next to had on more perfume than I had put on during my lifetime, I saw a woman reading "Follow the Story" and a man reading "Lolita". I've read Lolita several times, never with complete enjoyment. I think that more people than not will admit that it makes them somewhat uncomfortable, even though we have all been trained to admire it.

I got on the next 4 uptown train. I know that I am not the only person to change trains because someone is too odorous/insane looking. Once I got off the train a few stops early because a fellow passenger announced at top lung volume, "Please join me in celebrating Allah!" and I wanted to get off the train, but I couldn't just get off, I had to go through this whole, "Oh, is this 23rd Street? Why, that is my stop!" for the benefit of an unspecified, yet sure to be appreciative, audience.

On the 42nd Street platform, I saw a woman reading The Bitch is Back, and judging by the cover (bada-bump!) is not necessarily back from fashion camp. On the uptown 6 we practically had a moving library with one woman reading Hood Rat by K'wan (did you know that a hood rat is a woman of questionable repute? Could it be a sequel to Lolita) a woman across from her reading Persepolis and someone else with a copy of Ian McEwan's Atonement. I loved Atonement so much that I would not see the movie. I couldn't stand Saturday, and I would see the movie in a heartbeat.

On the way back, I saw Scott Westerfield's Specials, part of the Uglies trilogy, (who knew there was an Uglies Trilogy?)! and America in Normandy, by John McManus. I will admit to being intimidated by people who read history books for pleasure because I generally only read them as part of a plea bargain. The last book of the week for me was Lords of North, described as "a splendid Saxon novel". Another one of those, eh?

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