what new yorkers are reading on the subway

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Ghost Brigades

Uptown F Train at Broadway-Lafayette
Walking up to people on the subway and asking them a question throws the interviewer into a void of possibility. There is the fear that the person sitting or standing there will respond by clobbering the questioner. Or simply refuse to answer the question. The space in between riders feels sometimes like a holy separation--it's New Yorker's space, as we used to say in California, and crossing the unspoken barriers into that space feels risky. My biggest fear, however? That the person will turn out to be reading an interesting book and have a lot to say about it. Which is exactly what happened with Hatim, who was reading the mass market paperback The Ghost Brigades, by John Scalzi. Hatim is working towards his doctorate in Media and Communications. He was reading the novel because he studies "popular narratives about technology and politics." How did this novel fit into this kind of investigation? We'll never know because he had to get off the train at 14th Street.

No comments: