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Pickle Me This

September 13, 2011

Books in Motion #9

The book is not dead, altered Ikea Billy bookcases notwithstanding. (Seriously! Seriously!) I know this because during these last few days, I’ve been riding subways like a person with places to go, and people to see. And what I’ve seen en-route are people reading– people riding science fiction, the Bible, Stig Larssen, Penelope Lively, The Sound and the Fury, Maeve Binchy, and some unidentifiable hardcover in the hands of a man who was also carrying a suitbag that was labelled “Ronald McDonald”. I’ve seen so many others too, but couldn’t be bothered to take note of all the titles, but the point is that the book still owns public transit, or at least during the hours I travel, which are hardly peak, but still.

Tonight on the ride home from Robert J. Wiersema’s event promoting his new book Walk Like a Man, I sat down beside a woman who was reading  Dave Eggers’ What is the What? Another passenger approached her, wanting to know more about the book. “I’ve just started it,” she said. “It seems good though–” Which seemed like the perfect moment for me to add a bit of my own praise. “I loved it,” I said, and then explained that Eggers had written a fictionalized autobiography, which was a lot to explain actually as I was getting off at the next stop. But I was happy to share my opinions, being a a fairly broadly-read individual who thinks a lot about books. I assured the woman reading it that she’d enjoy it, and let them both know that the novel was well acclaimed.

And then I got off the subway and realized that neither of them knew that I was a fairly broadly-read individual who thinks a lot about books, the person accustomed to answering the bookish questions posed in my presence. To them I was just the crazy lady two seats over with an unkempt ponytail and too many shopping bags, and now I’m feeling a little embarrassed.

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