Seen on the Subway

The Visible World by Mark Slouka

The Reader: A rather petite twenty-something blond woman wearing a very tasteful and fashionable combination of white blouse, black skirt, shiney gold flats, and a bright purple leather purse. She was close enough to me on the crowded train, and I am probably a foot taller than her so I could see that she had beige pumps in her Sephora carrier bag.

The Book: “…an evocative, powerfully romantic novel about a son’s attempt to understand his mother’s past, a search that leads him to a tragic love affair and the heroic story of the assassination of a high-ranking Nazi by the Czech resistance.”

The Verdict: This book sounds good to me. But unless someone tells me it is good and I should read it, I don’t think I will make the effort to get my hands on a copy of it. I mean The Glass Room was such a great Nazi-occupation novel, this one would have to be pretty amazing to not be disappointing.

Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter by Mario Vargas Llosa

The Reader: Slightly pudgy thirty-something guy wearing Dockers and what appeared to be fancy brown bowling shoes. (You know, the goofy looking American kind.) Funny thing about him is that I caught him trying to see the title of my book. I rather nonchalantly made it easy for him to see the cover of my Heart of Darkness.

The Book: An autobiographical novel about an 18-year old student who falls in love with a 32-year old divorcee while working at a radio station that produces a half dozen soap operas a day and buys scripts by weight from writers in Cuba. Set in 1950s Peru.

The Verdict: I am on the fence on this one. Reading a book set in Peru and one about a young scriptwriter kind of pique my interest, but the satirical look at soap operas, not so much.

The Help by Kathryn Sprockett ( x 2!)

The Readers: At the bus stop this morning there was a woman reading a hardcover edition of this novel. Since it is a bestseller, and now a movie, I wasn’t going to write about it. But then after we both got on the bus, another reader got on with a paperback edition. One woman was white, the other African-American. Given the plot I thought that was kind of interesting. I would like to get them together and hear what they have to say about it.

The Book: I don’t really need to explain this one do I?

The Verdict: I tend to not like reading novels that have considerable amounts of any kind of dialect. Not a hard and fast rule, but when I picked this one up last year I wasn’t in the mood for it. I don’t think I will read it.

5 thoughts on “Seen on the Subway

  1. Luvvie June 11, 2011 / 4:01 pm

    This is such a great meme! It is a meme isn't it? I'm a bit vague when it comes to these terms. I have to say that The Help took me by surprise. It ended up being one of our most stimulating book club discussions last year.


  2. music-books-steve June 11, 2011 / 9:26 pm

    My ex loved Latin American literature and Llosa was one of his favorites. Perhaps for this reason, I haven't read him, but I trust my ex's taste.

    Oh, and a small correction, it's Kathryn Stockett. (Rather embarrassingly, the code at her own site [and therefore the Google citation] mis-spells here first name as “Katheryn Stockett”.) This book has astonishing staying power. Even now we can't put a copy out at the bookstore without having it sell within a few hours.


  3. JoAnn June 12, 2011 / 9:19 am

    Nice of you to let that guy see what you were reading!
    My oldest daughter (in Manhattan for the summer) just informed me that The Help will be her next 'subway book'. She refused my hardcover though, claiming it's too bulky. I think she's just looking for an excuse to go to Strand books again ;-)


  4. Thomas at My Porch June 14, 2011 / 9:38 am

    Luvvie: It is a regular feature here on My Porch but I think to be a meme it needs to be promoted as something for other bloggers to continue the thread on their own blogs.

    Steve: I care so little about The Help that I am not sure I have the energy to correct the post. Just adds character right?

    Diane: The more into my own reading I am, the harder it is to look around.

    JoAnn: I almost never take hardcovers on the Metro. And if you lived in Manhattan I am sure you would be looking for reasons to go to the Strand as well.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.