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Feb. 15th, 2007

Better Late Than Never

Due to distractions beyond our control... the NYC Subway Reading Project and the Maria Calendar: Girl for All Seasons zine's publishing dates has been pushed back to March 1st.

Which just happens to coincide with Maria Calendar's Birthday!

So mark your datebooks accordingly.


Blog updates should occur this weekend, February 17-18th.

Thanks for your patience!

Jan. 29th, 2007

To A Haggis

Took the B train midtown to St. Andrews on West 44th St. last Thursday night to celebrate Robert Burns' 246th birthday; whiskey, haggis, and bagpipes abounded: http://www.standrewsnyc.com/

Here's a smattering of what was served up on the B while on the way there:

1. September Child: The Story of Jean Dalrymple- Jean Dalrymple.

I believe Dalrymple is/was a Broadway producer. My Internet search yielded little information. Anyone with knowledge of who this person is/was please comment on this entry. Your insights will be greatly appreciated.

2. Beth Israel Employee Handbook

3. Executive Power- Vince Flynn

4. Wing It: Delectable Recipes for Everyone's Favorite Bar Snack- Christopher O'Hara

I was surprised to see a cookbook because, a.) reading such a book for leisure on the subway struck me as odd and b.) to cook for one's self in Manhattan is odder still. Perhaps that's why it was a cookbook on how to prepare "bar snacks."


Since Manhattan is a major publishing city, it wasn't surprising to see a hipster, "I'm not getting paid, but this internship will look killer on my journalism resume," college aged woman reading an advanced copy of this:

5. Little Pink Slips- Sally Koslow (Street Date: April 19th, 2007)

Now, I do admit, I read the "Entertainment" section of CNN.com. But, I was never one for "dishing dirt" or gossiping. And quite frankly, I've turned a blind eye (and a deaf ear or at have at least tried) when it comes to Rosie O'Donnell.

Seems like everyone is picking on "Rosie" these days. First it was Donald Trump. Now, it's Sally Koslow.

Koslow is the former Editor in Chief of McCall's before it was "reinvented" as the ill-fated "Rosie" magazine. "Rosie" was supposed to be tailored in the style of Oprah's magazine, "O." For whatever reason, Koslow was let go from her position at "Rosie." "Little Pink Slips" is apparently Koslow's fictionalized account of Rosie's alledged editorial board coup.

See for yourself. I'm staying out of it:



Here's the rest from today's A Train commute:

6. Children Playing By a Statue of Hercules: A Collection of Short Stories- David Sedaris

This looks like a pretty solid collection. It includes Amy Hempel's "In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson Is Buried." I remember reading Hempel as an English major while an undergrad at Rutgers.

7. Housekeeping: A Novel- Marilynne Robinson

8. 90 Minutes in Heaven: A True Story of Life and Death- Don Piper and Cecil Murphy

And I swear I'm not making this up. This was the next book I spotted after "90 Minutes..."

9. Life on the Other Side: A Psychic's Tour of the Afterlife- Sylvia Browne and Lyndsay Harrison.

Kinda creepy, eh?

Jan. 23rd, 2007

Gotta Be Good

The real joy of this project is discovering new titles and authors I may not have been exposed to otherwise. A creature of habit when it comes to literature, I tend to reach for biographies when perusing the stacks. So not only does this project expose me to new literature, but to new things in general such as the experimental treatment for depression known as EMDR (which by the way is an acronym NOT an anagram as I had stated in the previous post). Plus I'm such a sucker for "independent" anything; filmmakers, publishers, etc. That's why this title proved a pleasant surprise:

1. The Game Chose Me- Ebony Stroman*

Ebony Stroman is the 22-year-old author, editor, and independent publisher behind Ebandte, Inc.

Based in Jamaica Queens, Ebandte offers novels from "promising authors" who don't deliver the "same ole story." "A book by Ebandte gotta be good!", boasts the website's masthead.

Stroman has several other self-penned titles featured such as "The Hood" as well as writer Thomas Anthony Walker's "Unfallen Roses / Petals & Thorns." Titles may be purchased directly from Ebandte.

Submissions are also encouraged and welcomed. Check them out:


It's just nice to know that DIY (Do It Yourself) is alive and well in Queens. Take that Barnes and Noble!


And the rest:

2. Meltdown: The Predictable Distortion of Global Warming by Scientists, Politicians, and the Media- Patrick J. Michaels*

I guess one would call Patrick J. Michaels the Anti-Al Gore. I honestly don't think global warming is merely hype as Michaels professes, but wouldn't it be nice if that's all it turned out to be?

3. Weep No More, My Lady- Mary Higgins Clark*

4. Honeymoon- James Patterson & Howard Roughan*

Jan. 22nd, 2007

The Kindness of Strangers

Arguably, Tennessee Williams is the greatest American playwright. Don't get me wrong, I love Wendy Wasserstein, Lorraine Hansberry, and Tom Kopit. But when it comes to absolute lyricism and profound symbolism, for my money, Williams is at the top of the list.

Maybe I'm biased because I am/was a high school English teacher and I taught A Streetcar Named Desire for about seven years running. But in those seven years I never tired of teaching it. Every time I found some new nuance, image, or phrase that deepened my understanding of the play. I don't think there's any other playwright who has so beautifully and brutally captured the day to day struggle of living. (Sam Shepard? Eugene O'Neil? Arthur Miller?)

To see dozens of people reading everyday on the subway assures me that Blanche's speech to Stella about how in this world "there's art, and poetry, and music" and plea not to "hang back with the brutes" were not in vain. People still value art. People still value the written word. I guess that's why it struck me as so profound to see this next title during my commute home this evening:

1. Tennessee Williams: Selected Letters Vol. II 1945-1957- Albert J. Devlin and Nancy Marie Patterson Tischler*

"The opposite of death is desire," says Blanche. And one can see that desire portrayed so well by Kim Hunter and Marlon Brando in the film version:


And don't even get me started on the fire escape symbolism in The Glass Menagerie.


The rest for today:

2. We Got Fired... And It's the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Us!- Harvey MacKay*

3. The Teeth of the Tiger- Tom Clancy*

4. Running With Scissors: A Memoir- Augusten Burroughs*

Jan. 20th, 2007

Subway Train #6

Since it's still early in the project, I really haven't noticed any patterns regarding genres, titles, or authors. The whole idea of listing trains and titles is to try and see by the end of 2007 if there are any preferences among subway riders. So far tastes seem to run the gamut from textbooks, to religious texts, to romance novels, to NY Times best sellers. It's nice to see such an eclectic mix.

John C who rides the 6 train has started to see some patterns emerging:

1. The Bible

"...over a one week period I saw no less then 12 people reading it."

2. Rich Dad, Poor Dad- Robert T. Kiyosaki, Sharon L. Lechter

"Spotted 3 times."

And here's an author I thought I'd see more often:

3. Cell- Stephen King

King truly is a prolific writer. I especially like his memoir "On Writing." A quick read, it offers valuable advice for writers and readers alike:


Plus "Carrie" is one of my all time, favorite movies. Can you guess where I ranked in the high school food chain?


New York State Senator Hilary Clinton announced today on her website "I'm in!", meaning the 2008 presidential race. But she's not the only democrat that people are talking about when it comes to the White House.

Barack Obama the democratic Senator from Illinois has made quite a media buzz. His memoir (does he have two published?) is one title I think we'll see more of on the rails:

4. The Audacity of Hope- Barack Obama

In an interview posted on Amazon.com Obama advocates the importance of reading:

"Nothing has a bigger impact than reading to children early in life. Obviously we all have a personal obligation to turn off the TV and read to our own children; but beyond that, participating in a literacy program, working with parents who themselves may have difficulty reading, helping their children with their literacy skills, can make a huge difference in a child's life" (amazon.com).

Thanks to John C. for the four titles listed above.

Keep those titles coming!

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