Since the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) Book Club is a finalist for the Georgia Commute Options' Road Warrior of the Year award it seems only appropriate as its founder that I post something to acknowledge its nomination. Little did I know when I began the club in 2009 as a spoof on book clubs in general that it would rise to any level of recognition.
I plan on being at the award ceremony on the behalf of the club on April 29th, but I think the chances of winning are highly unlikely. Even though Vegas has the odds at 500 to 1, why not prepare an acceptance speech just in case?
The MARTA Book Club, which is open to anyone who reads a book while riding public transportation, has served two main purposes. The 27 postings which lists all the books I have seen people read over the years (I call it "bookspotting") reflects the makeup of those who ride whether they read Bibles, romance novels, textbooks or the occasional outlier such as Plato's The Republic.
The second purpose is more personal. I have used the book club to comment and sometimes rant on the MARTA experience and policies -- whether it was complaining about rate hikes, changes in service, or satirizing the Code of Conduct. Coincidentally (or maybe it did a little good), MARTA has improved over the six years and ~10,000 miles I have been riding, although it still does have its bad days. What is a bigger problem is the safety of those on foot and bikes. Being a pedestrian crossing the 10th Street bridge from the Midtown Station has the danger equivalence of rock climbing.
But the MARTA Book Club turned out to only be the beginning. As a writer and a rider, I began to use my experiences and observations of commuter life as an inspiration to write stories, which I am putting together in a book entitled Down & Outbound: A Mass Transit Satire, which will be published sometime this year.
So as you can see, my relationship with MARTA is more than as a daily commuter or even a -- shall I dare hope -- a Road Warrior. It has influenced me also, not only by the books I read riding to work but by the ways in which it connects me to this city.
Why MARTA, you sound like you're my muse.
What We Are Reading
Here's a list of books being read since the last posting. If you are interested in visiting all the MARTA Book Club postings, go here.
The Fall: Book Two of the Strain Trilogy by Guillermo Del Toro
A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy O'Toole
Death Traps: The Survival of an American Armored Division in World War II by Belton Cooper and Stephen Ambrose
Double Cross by James Patterson
Sonography: Introduction to Normal Structure and Function (textbook)
The Master and Margarita by MiKail Bulgakov and Diane Burgin
Armor and Blood: The Battle of Kursk: The Turning Point of World War II by Dennis Showalter
The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood
Blue Highways by William Least Heat Moon
Fall of Giants by Ken Follett
Tears of a Tiger by Sharon Draper
Undercover User Experience Design (Voices that Matter) by Cennydd Bowles and James Box
Borderlands LA Frontera by Gloria Anzaldua
The Republic by Plato
NYPD Red 2 by James Patterson and Marshall Karp
The Alchemist by Paula Coelho
The Plot Against America by Philip Roth
On Writing Well by William Zinsser
Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill
Nine Days by Fred Hiatt
Keep reading, get to work on time, and watch for puddles on the platform.