WORD on the street (NYC: Harlem-125th Street Metro-North Railroad Station)

Unknown, reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

 1. Why did you choose this book?

I did a bookswap with a friend I worked with, and my brother had recommended this one.

 2. What did you trade for it?

Her Fearful Symmetry (by Audrey Niffenegger).

3. What are your favorite books?

The Time Traveler’s Wife (also by Audrey Niffenegger), The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald), and Jodie Picoult’s My Sister’s Keeper.

4. Do you judge books by their covers?

I try not to, I go off a recommendation, and sometimes I scan a bookstore.

5. What did you have for breakfast?

A pear, yogurt and cereal.

WORD on the street, Tuesday 4/27 (NYC: on the N between Broadway and Astoria/Ditmars)

Alan Sillitoe died on April 25, 2010 at Charing Cross Hospital in London. Two days later, we met Kayley reading The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner

1. Why did you choose this book?

A friend and I had unearthed a battered copy at a used bookstore about 2 years ago, and were drawn to it not knowing much about Sillitoe’s work specifically, but more of the adapted film from the 1960s (with Tom Courtenay and Michael Redgrave. The title is also referenced by several bands, such as Belle & Sebastian on their Push Barman to Open Old Wounds album.)  I’ve always been intrigued by this voice of post-WW II blue-collar England, and Sillitoe was a major contributor in both books and film dealing with that subject matter, written during that time. I had been meaning to borrow it from my friend since then, but saw this Vintage edition while shopping a few weeks ago. And here we are. 

2. Do you like it?

I’ve just begun to focus on this book – I’ve only read the first two stories, but I’m really enjoying his style so far. For all of their outward irredeemable qualities, Sillitoe’s protagonists are these incredibly affected individuals searching for identity and purpose in a society that has already determined what their roles should be. He has this completely honest narrative that can be tongue-in-cheek one minute and absolutely devastating the next. I’m really looking forward to the rest of it. 

3. What are your favorite books?

Something around Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov, Graham Greene’s The End of the Affair, Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited, Carson McCullers’ The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, John Updike’s Rabbit novels.

4. Do you judge books by their covers?

I try not to, but I think that a clever cover can have a real impact on why you purchase a book, especially if you aren’t familiar with the author and are initially drawn to the jacket design. If it’s done just right, I think cover art can even influence the way you perceive the story, or present a focus that you may not initially have considered. I love the cover art of this edition, by the way. 

5. What did you have for breakfast?

This book. With a coffee.

WORD on the street (NYC: on the W between Queensboro Plaza and Lexington Ave.)

Joanna, reading A Spot of Bother

1. Why did you choose this book?

I really liked Mark Haddon’s other book, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Then a friend recommended this one to me when we were discussing books with gay characters.

2. Do you like it?

I like it. In the first 40 pages or so, I wasn’t sure that it was going to catch my interest, but then it picked up and I suddenly felt invested in the story. It sometimes makes me cringe, kind of like a TV drama, when the characters aren’t understanding each other and conflicts are piling up. But the relationships are more realistic than in a TV drama, so that’s a relief!

3. What are your favorite books?

Life of Pi (Yann Martel), Interpreter of Maladies (Jhumpa Lahiri), Zeitoun (Dave Eggers), Native Speaker (Chang-rae Lee), The Bell Jar (Sylvia Plath)….

4. Do you judge books by their covers?

Not usually, because I find out about them online, and can only see a little thumbnail image of the cover anyway.

5. What did you have for breakfast?

Cereal—three types mixed together. I still haven’t found one cereal that I like on its own.

 

 

WORD on the street, Monday 4/12 (NYC: on the W between Broadway and 39th Ave.)

 Randy, reading The Age of Wonder

1. Why did you choose this book?

I read a review somewhere, maybe Salon.

2. Do you like it?

Very much.

3. What are your favorite books?

Do you want types of books or titles? That would take a long time.

Either is great.

Mostly straight literature. But lately I’ve been getting into nonfiction, like this one, historical science. But Russian lit was always my biggest thing.

Ok now a title.

Since I read it when I was 16, and I read it again all the time, Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoevsky).

4. Do you judge books by their covers?

I try not to but I definitely do, even it’s subconsciously. Especially if I know nothing about it, then the cover can make a big difference.

5. What did you have for breakfast?

Pop-tarts. Why, are you finding a correlation between breakfast and reading habits?

Not really. What kind of pop-tarts?

Brown sugar cinnamon. Pop-tarts and coffee.


WORD on the Street, Thursday (NYC: on the W between 5th Ave. and 57th St.)

Mavis, reading Never Let Me Go

1. Why did you choose this book? 

I chose it because I’ve heard a lot about the author, and wanted to read something he’d written. I also wanted to read a book with a setting outside of the US, and thought the UK would be a good place to start.

2. Do you like it?

I do like it. It started off a little bit slow (first 30 pages), and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to continue reading, but I gave it a chance and now I’m really into it. It’s definitely an interesting book with some very thought-provoking concepts. I also really like the sci-fi aspect of it, which is surprising because I generally don’t like sci-fi novels. 

3. What are your favorite books?

My favorite books are Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, The Book of Night Women by Marlon James, Jesus Land by Julia Scheeres, In the Name of Salome by Julia Alvarez and The Local News by Miriam Gershow.

4. Do you judge books by their covers?

Generally, I don’t. I look at the title first, and then read the blurb.

5. What did you have for breakfast?

Today I had a slice of whole wheat toast and some juice. I’m not really that hungry in the mornings.

WORD on the street, Tuesday 3/23 (NYC : on the N between 39th Ave. and Queensboro Plaza)

Heather, also reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

1. Why did you chose this book?

My roommate gave it to me.

2. Do you like it?

Yes.

3. What are your favorite books?

Currently The Help by Kathryn Stockett.

4. Do you judge books by their covers?

Yes.

5. What did you have for breakfast?

I haven’t had breakfast.

WORD on the street (NYC: on the W between Lexington and 5th Ave.)

WORD on the street, Friday 3/12 (W between Lexington and 5th Ave.)The Sun and Anchor introduces WORD ON THE STREET. Here Roving Vintage Bloggers ask smart, funny (and friendly) readers what they’ve chosen and why.

We can’t be everywhere, so if you’re reading a V/A title you love, send us a photo and let us know!

Julianne, reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

1. Why did you choose this book?

The cover seemed interesting.

2. Do you like it?

Yes, (but she is only on page 6). 

3. What are your favorite books?

Tom Wolfe’s The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, and A Confederacy of Dunces (by John Kennedy Toole).

4. Do you judge books by their covers?

Yes. (see no.1)

5. What did you have for breakfast?

Nothing yet.

WORD on the street, Saturday 3/13 (Greyhound station at White River Junction, VT)WORD on the street, Saturday 3/13 (Greyhound station at White River Junction, VT)

Anna, reading The O. Henry Prize Stories 2008

1.Why did you choose this book?

I was looking for something random to distract me from classes. It’s from the Dartmouth College library.

2. Do you like it?

Yes. 

3. What are your favorite books?

I’ve read mostly books on neuroscience.

4. Do you judge books by their covers?

A cover should be intriguing.

5. What did you have for breakfast?

A bagel with cream cheese.

From Imperial Life to Green Zone

The highly acclaimed, National Book Award Finalist and nationally bestselling IMPERIAL LIFE IN THE EMERALD CITY, by Rajiv Chandrasekaran, is getting an exciting second life in the upcoming major motion picture, GREEN ZONE. Starring Matt Damon, it opens wide March 12, 2010, and offers the fullest, most intimate account of life in the Green Zone: the sheltered bubble where idealistic Americans planned the occupation while Iraq fell apart.

Check out the preview here.

The Green Zone, Baghdad, 2003: in this walled-off compound of swimming pools and luxurious amenities, Paul Bremer and his Coalition Provisional Authority set out to fashion a new, democratic Iraq. Staffed by idealistic aides chosen primarily for their political affiliations and views on issues such as abortion, the CPA spent the crucial first year of occupation pursuing goals that had little to do with the immediate crises of a postwar nation. In this acclaimed firsthand account, the former Baghdad bureau chief of The Washington Post gives us an intimate and remarkably dispassionate portrait of life inside this Oz-like place, which continued unaffected by the growing mayhem outside. This is a quietly devastating portrait of imperial folly, and an essential book for anyone who wants to understand those early days when things went irrevocably wrong in Iraq.

CHECK OUT THE ALL-NEW FOREWORD from Paul Greengrass, director of GREEN ZONE, included in the new special movie tie-in edition of IMPERIAL LIFE IN THE EMERALD CITY, after the jump. Continue reading