Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Bookspotting Day 2

Okay so I caught a later train this morning to work, and was looking forward to hopefully spotting more books on the 9.38 train to Preston.My logic was these wouldn't be busy commuters but more leisurely travellers so there might be more books to spot. Nothing. No book in sight anywhere, in my train carriage or on the platform (and there was no one in the waiting room -I checked!). Disappointing.

I was getting a slightly later train back, in part because of the thunderstorm and torrential rain about the time I normally leave. The basement at work was flooded and the car park under a foot of water. Got to the train station to find that while all the trains were running normally, the station facilities were not. The waiting room, shop and cafe were all closed, with station staff rushing round with brooms, brushing water out of the buildings and onto the train tracks. Great, I thought, with everyone (literally) flushed outdoors there'll be more chance to spot people reading. I scanned the whole packed platform - nothing. Surely today wouldn't be a complete blank?

I had a few minutes before my train, so I wandered over to the next platform just to see. Nada. Zip. Then right at the end of the platform I saw a woman hunched over a book. Unfortunately I couldn't see what she was reading, and she really was right at the end of the platform, there was nothing beyond her and it would have looked really odd to walk past and then back. Plus my train was about to arrive.

As I walked onto my platform, I passed a guy in a baseball cap reading a big hardback book, probably a library book from the look of it (I've had a lot of those cumbersome hardbacks from the library before now) Despite giving him more scrutiny than was probably wise, I only got a couple of words 'Iron Mountain', so I quickly pulled out my phone to look it up. Sure enough I found the exact book: 'Daylight on Iron Mountain' by David Wingrove. It is the second book in the Chung Kuo science fiction series, a future history about an Earth dominated by China. The first book is 'Son of Heaven'. Interestingly, this series was first started in 1989, so although it is very fashionable and hardly prescient to write now about a future dominated by China, in the 1980s it was more of a long shot. For more information on this series, I suggest reading this Wikipedia article - there's a lot of books!

Then I got on the train and found three people reading books as I walked to my seat! Reading is clearly alive on well, on the 5.28 train to Barrow in Furness anyway! The books were:

'The Impossible Dead' by Ian Rankin - I used to read Ian Rankin's Rebus novels, until I watched a few tv adaptations and got lost between what I'd seen/read and what I hadn't. I've since lost track of what he's been writing, except he finished with Rebus and moved on. Apparently he's got a new character, Malcolm Fox, a divorcee in his 40s. According to one review he is quieter and 'warier of confrontation' than Rebus, but a great new character. Anyway, this is the second Malcolm Fox novel, the first is 'The Complaints'.

'Brave New World' by Aldous Huxley. A classic science fiction novel, published in 1931 that accurately predicted many technological and societal changes. Regularly in the top novels of 20th century lists.

'A Feast for Crows' by George R R Martin - Book 4 of A Song of Ice and Fire, which began with Game of Thrones. The woman with this book was obviously reading ahead of the TV series, something I've been considering.

Another good day of Bookspotting, in the end anyway!