Thursday, July 3, 2014

Subway Riders Review Books in New Blog

For those who still miss the Underground New York Public Library, a marvelous photojournalism-style blog that was seemingly abandoned by its owner more than a year ago, here is Subway Book Review.

Subway Book Review is a Tumblr site that features black-and-white photographs of New York City subway riders holding the books that they were reading while in transit or waiting for the train. Below the photos are the riders' first names and their brief reviews of the books that they were reading. For instance, there is Josh, who was spotted reading Green Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson:
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Josh: "This is book two of the Martian trilogy. It gives every possible perspective about starting a civilization from zero. The first book is about the colonization of Mars. Book two is about the transnationals vs. the underground who live there. Every character has a believable opinion and no one is perfect. It all seems so possible and like it could happen. The author wrote this in the mid-'90s and it's incredible how relevant it is. We're using up this Earth and the question is where are we going to go? It makes a great example of starting over not being easy, even if you had a chance."

There is also Melissa, who was reading The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini when she was approached by the photographer. Her take on The Kite Runner?
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Melissa: "I don't know much about the story yet. It's set in Afghanistan during the war. I heard so many good reviews about it, but was reluctant to read it. My friend who is Arabic really tried to convince me to read it. Two days ago I found this book in a trash can. I was sad to see it there, but also felt lucky and like it was a good sign. I'm happy to share my friend's culture - she taught me some Arabic words and I'm able to understand them in the book, which is great and important to me."

Then there's Jamilya, who was getting into American Gods by Neil Gaiman when she was noticed by the person behind Subway Book Review. On American Gods:
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Jamilya: "It's sort of like a modern fantasy story. The main character Shadow gets swept up in an ancient war that is way beyond his scope. As he falls deeper into battle, he learns more about himself and what he's capable of. He also learns about the American Gods, who were brought over as slaves and settlers and now have weakened powers because no one knows who they are. People don't believe anymore. They're too caught up in other things like technology. I just finished the chapter about slavery. America is a pastiche of cultures. We're a recently developed country. It's interesting to think about how we're forming solidarity and are trying to reconcile past differences in order to build on what we have now."

Uli Beutter Cohen is the person behind Subway Book Review, and she recently spoke to the Huffington Post about her increasingly popular Tumblr site. "When I moved to New York, I started Subway Book Review out of a desire to connect with the many vibrant personalities that make New York the place it is," she told the Huffington Post. "Once I had that on my mind, I quickly noticed how much New Yorkers read and how dedicated they are to printed publications. The subway feels like a microcosm of the New York literary world. Within one car, you can find it all: self-published work, the next bestseller and beloved classics. It's the perfect place to get an unusual and often surprising tip from a stranger about what to read next."

Discussing her criteria for reviews, Uli Beutter Cohen told the Huffington Post, "I follow three rules: Reviews must be held underground. A portrait of the person and their book must accompany the review. Printed books only. Some of my followers are writers, which inspired me to hold author interviews on the subway. I am excited to see what else I can add to the Subway Book Review."

To check out Subway Book Review, go to THIS LINK. If you happen to ride the New York subway, perhaps you'll find yourself and your current read featured!

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