This is a shout out to that tattered paperback --- a yellowed time capsule that continues to be in circulation while withstanding the onslaught of E-books and the proliferation of audio books. Unlike more modern fanfare, these evocative paperbacks can bring back memories of our reading youth, do they not?
For my mass transit reading, I prefer the light, feathery disintegrating paperback that is easy to hold like a news magazine or a newspaper. As one who is recovering from carpal tunnel surgery and has developed some chronic ligament damage in the wrist, I have all but abandoned heavier book fare on my MARTA (Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority) commute.
For example in my contributions to this edition of the MARTA Book Club, the club whose sole participatory requirement is to read a book while riding MARTA, I recently finished the ultra- thin Albert Camus' classic, The Stranger (1942) which may be light physically, but a heavyweight in its existential indictment of humanity. And currently I am reading a mass market paperback copy of John Hersey's A Bell for Adano (1944). This is my third Hersey book in the past few years. His writing career expanded over 50 years and he's very underrated as a 20th century American writer.
Another mass market paperback classic that I saw someone reading was Robert Pirsig's The Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry in Values (1976). Not surprising, I recognized the book from its almost sepia colored back cover of man, son, and motorcycle all gazing meaningfully at a mountain in the distance.
Other books spotted recently while riding MARTA include:
The Windup-Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami.
Rooster Bar by John Grisham
The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Over Parenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success by Julie Lythcott-Haims
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach of Living a Good Life by Mark Manson
Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
In the Garden of the Beasts: Love, Terror and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin by Erik Larson
The Romanovs, 1613 -1918 by Simon Sebag Montefiore (Heavy book - you could bludgeon somebody with the 800 page hardback edition)
Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin
A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities that Arise in Disaster by Rebecca Solnit. This is a trade paperback that I just finished. Solnit has some fascinating insights about how people and communities really react to disasters in contrast to the misleading portrayals propagated by the movies and the media. Admittedly, it could have used a little editing, because Solnit seemed to bludgeon the topic, but maybe it was lack of this reader's commitment to engage in "heavy reading."
For the previous 32 MARTA Book Club postings, visit here.