I dropped Herman Melville’s Benito Cereno in my carry-on bag—it’s a pirate story about a slave revolt that could be labeled narrative nonfiction. For some reason, it reminded me of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen. Obviously, there’s Watchmen’s comic-within-comic pirate story, “The Black Freighter” where the stranded protagonist falls prey to insanity causing him to become as corrupt as the pirates he has escaped. But more than that, Cereno’s final section entitled “From a Narrative of Voyages and Travels . . .” is filled with pseudo documents, such as legal transcripts, depositions, and diary entries. The Watchmen is interspersed with bogus documents from fictional crime reports and psychological files to a celebrity autobiography entitled Under the Hood.
It’s busy in Denver . . . I only caught a few of titles around me.
A teenage boy in a red sweatshirt is devouring The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I thought this so weird (teenagers reading diet books?) that I had to go look it up. “Rather less 1984 and rather more Death Race 2000, [this] is a gripping story set in a postapocalyptic world where a replacement for the United States demands a tribute from each of its territories: two children to be used as gladiators in a televised fight to the death” (amazon.com). – Now that makes more sense, considering Worlds of Warcraft, Halo, and the video game fare young men seem to enjoy.
The graying, loafer wearing husband of a mid-century couple is reading Five Minutes with Vito by Anthony Parinello, a how-to book about interacting with “Very Important Top Officers” (being an ex-exec the idea makes me just want to say, “Don’t act like an idiot” and “Get to the point!” His linen clad wife is perusing Stieg Larsson’s thriller, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. “Did you know there are three books in this series?” she asks. Luckily, she started with the first.
Love is Frank to a severe looking woman clad in denim.
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert now sports a cover with the actress playing the movie role and is being read by a woman who looks like Julia Roberts. I wonder if this traveler is going to Italy, India, or Bali to
A crabby woman sporting a cast on her foot (hence the attitude) takes on The Lonely Polygamist: A Novel by Brady Udall. Books with “A Novel” in the title always make me wonder if people buying A Novel would otherwise think they are nonfiction. I mean is there a lonely polygamist? Not likely, especially in this book since the main character is a guy with four wives and 28 children.
What are you reading as you ride the bus, BART, or flying to some dreamy destination?
What are the people around you reading?