Commuting in NYC…without a Kindle

25 Feb

Today I had one of those spectacular moments that make me really happy to live in a city with subways.

I was heading home on the train, squeezed in between total strangers, and the woman beside me leaned over to check which station we were at.  She apologized, waving the book she was reading at me and explaining that she’d missed her stop before because she was too engrossed in her reading.  I waved my book back and we got to talking about our reading.

Turns out she was in the middle of Elizabeth Strout’s excellent Olive Kitteridge, which I loved.  She liked how nothing major happens, that it was more “subtle” and beautifully written.  I raved about Strout and recommended Amy and Isabelle.

That’s it, she went back to her book, and I went back to mine.  But what a lovely moment, between two readers, made possible because we could both see what the other was reading.  Take that, Kindle.

Because one of the best smells on earth is the earthy fragrance of a used bookstore,



2 Responses to “Commuting in NYC…without a Kindle”

  1. Dylan Landis February 28, 2010 at 8:25 am #

    Jho, there’s a perfume that’s redolent of books–I just looked it up: It’s called In The Library. Described as “English Novel taken from a Signed First Edition of one of my very favorite novels, Russian & Moroccan leather bindings, worn cloth and a hint of wood polish.”
    Here is the link, if you’re curious; I’ve never smelled it:
    Tell us what you were reading.

  2. jhointhecity March 2, 2010 at 2:59 pm #

    Dylan, I’m going to have to add finding (and smelling) that perfume to my to-do list, since they seem to be based in Brooklyn.
    I was reading Stephanie Grant’s Map of Ireland, which I picked up by chance at my local library (one of my favorite pastimes is to browse the “new fiction” stacks – you never know what you’ll find). I had to read it because the narrator is from Southie (South Boston) and I went to high school nearby. It’s a fascinating first-person narrative, about South Boston in the 1970s, when Black students were first bused from Roxbury (predominately Black and poor) to Southie (predominately white/Irish and poor) (and whites to Roxbury). I’m a sucker for a good blurb, and it was blurbed by Alison Smith, whose Name All the Animals I absolutely loved.

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