Though normally I'd be celebrating the 25th installment of the MARTA Book Club it's been hard times for Atlanta's premier, impromptu reading club, whose only membership requirement is to read a book while riding public transportation.
You may not be aware that back in November of 2013, with little fanfare, the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) reduced the number of rail cars on the Blue Line from 8 to 6, which eliminated my favorite reading spot (one of lesser used cars at the tail end of the train – the caboose position). Since then, if a commuter was taking the Blue Line westbound during morning rush hour he or she was probably standing up if they boarded at the Decatur station or later. This makes it difficult if you're reading a book of any heft.
Beginning today, trains are now running every 10 minutes instead of 15 apart during rush hour. While this is good news for some, it is making me a little apprehensive. Will this mean less time for reading while waiting for trains? Are the number of cars going to be reduced again making it a challenge to read anything, but a magazine? Electronic readers like Kindles already affect MARTA book club membership adversely. I am worried about a further decline in membership.
As you can see from my list below, either fewer people are reading these days or perhaps my observational skills have waned. Nevertheless, here's what I have spotted people reading on MARTA public transportation since my last posting.
Light on Snow by Anita Shreve
Stella Bain by Anita Shreve (not the same reader)
Sherman: Soldier, Realist, American by B.H. Liddell-Hart (See previous posting about this book)
A Genius for War: Life of General George S. Patton by Carlo D'Este (Fun Fact: Did you know that Patton studied Liddell-Hart's book on Sherman? )
The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
Nick Cave: Sinner Saint: The True Confessions, Thirty Years of Essential Interviews by Mat Snow
Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James
Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace (A tough book to carry on the train)
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand (Ditto)
Broken Harbor: A Novel by Tana French
A Taste of Power: A Black Woman's Story by Elaine Brown
Mother Tongue by Bill Bryson
The Starbuck's Experience: 5 Principles for Turning Ordinary into Extraordinary by Joseph Mitchell
The Columbus Affair: A Novel by Steve Berry
Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu
The Cathedral & The Bazaar: Musings on Linux and Open Source by an Accidental Revolutionary by Eric S. Raymond
Novels by Tami Hoag, Sandra Brown and Janet Evanovich
For those interested in revisiting the past 24 MARTA Book Club spottings, see the MARTA category link on the right