Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Bookspotting Day 7

The day didn't start well. I normally like to get to the train station in plenty of time so I can spot anyone reading on the platform, maybe even have a nosy in the waiting room. Today though I was running late and the train was already on the platform so I had to jump on. Then I caught a glimpse between the seats at a woman reading a book. Great! Not so much. After shuffling about in my seat to get a better glimpse and can see the book: 'Teach Yourself Further German'. Now all books have value, and I like the variety of books I come across, but in this case I think the chances that someone who stumbles across my blog would be interested in this book are slimmer than most that I spot, not least because you'd presumably have to know a fair bit of German already to progress on to this book. Anyone interested in learning German would probably be best starting with 'Teach Yourself Beginners German' or something like that.

Just as I'm getting off the train, I spot a middle aged woman reading a book that I can't quite read the title of. I focused a bit more as I went past (okay I stared a bit), much to the annoyance of a man who was probably her husband. Luckily I was getting off at that point. Anyway, the book was 'The Testament of Mary' by Colm  Toibin. I thought it was some sort of religious book at first but it turns out it is almost the opposite, some might call it heretical. It is the story of Mary, mother of Jesus, who is bereft after the death of her son. In her mind, he was a vulnerable young man who was surrounded by people who couldn't be trusted. Not the traditional bible story anyway. This book was shortlisted for the 2013 Man Booker Prize.

That was it for the morning. This afternoon I was expecting a quiet journey home, as England were playing. Evidently as they were already out of the world cup nobody was interested though, as the train was as busy as ever. At the station, a woman in her 30s was enjoying herself sat waiting for her train, feet up on her suitcase, reading 'The Fault in our Stars' by John Green. It is a love story about a teenage cancer patient, who falls in love with Augustus at a cancer support group. It is one of the most popular books of the moment, and there's a film coming out any day now at the cinema. It is classified as a young adult book, but from what I've heard just about everyone who reads it thinks it is amazing. It's on my to read list, I really should get to it soon...

In the seats in front of me was a bald young-middling aged businessman who was chatting with colleagues, but there were two books on the table in front of him. Does that count? Were both his? One was a book I'd already seen on Day 4 - 'The View from Castle Rock' by Alice Munro. I'm fairly sure it was a different person reading it though. The second book was 'Light Years' by James Salter. It is the story of a well off married couple who on the surface look very happy but underneath the cracks gradually start to show. The story is episodic and covers a long period of time, each episode covers a dinner party or other social occasion.

Thought that was it, but as I was getting off the train I passed a woman reading a book. I couldn't see the cover, but peered over her shoulder to look at the title at the top of the page she was reading... Further German Part 3. Argh! Same woman I saw this morning.

After getting off the train, I really did think that was it, but crossed paths with a man carrying 'Great North Road' by Peter F Hamilton, fingers keeping his place in the book as he walked for his train. Peter F Hamilton is a science fiction author who writes big, epic space operas - mostly multi book series, but this one is a standalone, albeit 1000+ pages. It is set several hundred years in the future, but set mostly in Newcastle (upon Tyne) in the North East of England. Also partly on an alien planet too, but mostly Newcastle. It is part big space opera, part whodunnit. The world building is excellent, and the story is good too. There's a murdered clone that apparently didn't exist, a mysterious alien and lots of technology, including a world where everything is 3D printed. (In the interest of full disclosure, Peter F Hamilton is a favourite author of mine, he won't be everyone's cup of tea, but I like his books a lot).