what new yorkers are reading on the subway

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Secret Life of Bees

Uptown A Train in Manhattan
Alisha is a court reporter and was reading The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk. She hadn't progressed very far, page 14, but has hope because it was recommended to her by someone who has the same favorite book as she does, I Know This Much is True, by Wally Lamb. She reports that the novel is about a young white girl living in the South. Her mother died and she's being raised by her Black house keeper. Then she told me about www.bookcrossing.com. It's a website that encourages people to leave their books in places where others are likely to find them, effectively passing on good books to someone who might need a new book to read on the subway. I love this idea. When I was much younger, I didn't believe in collecting books, and I gave away every book I enjoyed, or throughout the bad books. I like to refer to my books now, as a teacher, so I hold on to them, but I still love to give away books to people who would enjoy them, and have people recommend books as well. Bookcrossing, according to the website, is itself a noun in the Oxford Concise English Dictionary that means "the practice of leaving a book in a public place to be picked up and read by others, who then do likewise." If only we had a little shelf built into the subway trains where we could exchange books.

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