27 May 2011
Seen on the Subway
The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
The Reader: Late 30s/early 40s man in one of those grey suits that has kind of a green tinge to it with a non-descript green tie. His work ID lanyard was from the University of Florida. I actually saw this gentleman twice on successive days. Both times I saw him on the bus in my neighborhood going to the Metro station in the morning. But the second day I also saw later in my commute after I had changed from one train to another. Turns out we both got off at the same stop.
The Book: Rather than say anything about this classic novel that everyone is sure to already know, I will comment on the particular edition the man was reading. He had this very cool edition seen in the photo here, and coincidentally the exact same edition I have at home. But wait! Then when I saw him again the next day I noticed he was reading a different book and I thought "Hmm, this guy likes to mix it up." On closer inspection, however, although he was reading a different book, it was the same title. For some reason he had another edition of The Sun Also Rises. He went from the edition shown here to something with a rather plain blue cover. I almost broke my rule of not speaking to my subject to ask him why he switched editions. The only thing I can think of is that given the unimpressive plain cover of the edition he was reading on day two, is that it probably was an annotated/academic edition.
The Verdict: I own the book and I generally like Hemingway so I will definitely read this one.
The Loved One by Evelyn Waugh
The Reader: A twenty-something pocket gay at the end of a work day with his bow tie untied, slouching way down in his seat. (For those unfamiliar with the term "pocket gay", it was coined by Jack on Will and Grace when Jack referred to a rather diminutive guy (not just short, but petite) with whom Will had a date. Since then I have used the term to refer to any well groomed man of similar stature--whether they appear to be gay or not.) The clip below has terrible quality video but still funny when Jack explains.
The Book: Waugh's Brideshead Revisited is one of my favorite books of all times. And I enjoyed the film Bright Young Things based on Waugh's Vile Bodies. But in general I am not a big fan of his more satirical stuff. A little too whimsical and chaotic for me. This one, however, is billed as an Anglo-American tragedy, so maybe it will be more my thing. Still it is hard to picture Evelyn Waugh (or any Englishman for that matter) in Los Angeles.
The Verdict: This rather short novel was in the stack of books I was going to attack last weekend when I was going to have My Own Private Readathon. Since that never happened I am going to try and make this weekend (a long one at that) a reading weekend so I will probably get to this one soon.