Before she ended her blog Bookish NYC, I used to love reading Karen’s weekly post about the books she saw people reading on the subway that week. I have often contemplated doing something similar on my blog, but I know I wouldn’t be as good as Karen was at describing the people who were reading the books.
And then part of me didn’t want to do it here in DC because it seemed that most folks on the Metro here read either non-fiction, bibles/daily devotional books, or news periodicals. Non of which I find interesting enough to blog about.
But, since moving to our new neighborhood, I have been surprised to see people on my local bus to the Metro reading lots of interesting fiction. No “Girl with the Whatever” books, no vampire books. Instead I have seen things like Anita Brookner and Elizabeth Bowen and even a Barbara Pym. And sure, there are still plenty of people reading the previously mentioned stuff I don’t feel like blogging about. But given the rather wonky make up of my new neighborhood (25% have bachelor’s degrees and an additional 36% have graduate degrees) rather than the de rigeuer copies of The New Yorker or The Economist that are everywhere in DC, you see things like Meteoritics and Planetary Science. And, although it may be non-fiction I saw a young woman reading Mad World, the story of Evelyn Waugh and the writing of Brideshead Revisited.
I still don’t plan to follow in Karen’s footsteps, but on Monday on the morning bus I couldn’t help but note the following:
Trim, tidy, forty-something gentleman with briefcase reading Manhattan Transfer by John Dos Passos. If MT is anything like Dos Passos’ USA trilogy, I wouldn’t exactly call it light reading.
Casual thirty-something guy who looks like he has young kids and who usually has an e-reader had a wonderful. slightly ratty old Penguin Classics edition of V.S. Naipaul’s A House for Mr. Biswas.
And then there was me with my copy of Heinrich Boll’s End of a Mission.