december's installment of mystery train ended yesterday in a grand-guignol tide of merciless identifications, probably because i've been bellowing about how i can't post a new list until the previous one's readers have been matched up with titles (even though the list before it still has four orphans). let's bring bookish back in 2012 and get cracking again without delay, shall we?
here are twelve subway riders and the books they were reading when i started taking creepy notes on them. who got his or her hands on an advance reader copy of catherine chung's first novel? might the argentina enthusiast be someone i'd like to travel with on my way down to antarctica?* is there something buried in our dna which compels us to use airplane tickets as bookmarks?** can we talk about how amazing it is that someone's reading mercedes lackey in the twenty-first century? as before, if you correctly pair a book with its reader, i'll update the lists. tip of the hat, as always, to coverspy - and may the odds be ever in your favor.
[final update: as of 01.10.12, no riders remain! well done, internets; i'll begin my creeping anew on the morrow. see below for the correct pairings.]
01 F, early 20s, curly, layered blonde hair, high-collared, draped black coat, black skirt, black tights, black spike-heeled booties, crossed legs, gold-studded black hobo in lap, sniffling, D train [catching fire, suzanne collins - jacob's first mercy killing]
02 F, 20s, long, thick black hair twisted back at temples, long eyelashes, thick mauve scarf, long black puffer with grey-faux-fur-trimed hood, narrow, pointy-toed, high-heeled, black mary janes, R train [a clash of kings, george r. r. martin - rob, hunting witches]
03 F, late 20s, freckles, golden-red hair in short, neat ponytail, long camel coat, pink-and-aqua scarf with gold threads, dark brown shell, long gold necklace, rust-colored leather bag on shoulder, jeans, caramel moccasins, F train [straphanger: saving our cities and ourselves from the automobile, taras grescoe - rob 2: electric boogaloo]
04 F, early 50s, thick, straightened blonde hair, half-rim tortoiseshell glasses, coral lipstick, black anorak with gold zippers and buttons, black prada shoulder bag, black riding boots over black leggings, B train [eyewitness argentina (dk eyewitness travel guides) - MDF spotted the well-heeled traveler]
05 F, early 30s, snowflake manicure, stick-straight, center-parted, chin-length, dyed red hair, red hooded pea coat, grey tights, black ballet flats with snakeskin bows, linda the bra lady bag, F train [wives and daughters, elizabeth gaskell - rob identifies casa de kidchamp's nod to #boobsweek]
06 M, early 40s, hair swept up and back from brow, full cheeks, half-frame glasses with upturned corners, thick brown leather jacket, green boot-cut sweatpants, blue converse all-stars, blue case logic satchel in lap, D train [arrows of the queen, mercedes lackey - george, like talia, is an empath]
07 F, 60s, thin-brimmed black hat lined with black faux shearling, curly steel grey hair, wire-rimmed reading glasses, royal blue barn coat, black gloves, tapestry cross-body bag, heavy black hiking boots, grey flared trousers, C train [a fine balance, rohinton mistry - maggie lands a hit from the southern hemisphere]
08 M, 40s, stout, artfully mussed hair, beard with white streaks, black pea coat over dusty blue fisherman's sweater, bright red vans, two black duffels between feet, F train [the sixth man, david baldacci - MDF spied the baldacci enthusiast's artful muss]
09 F, early 20s, brown bangs, black hood up and clutched below chin, knitted olive scarf looped around under hood, black manicure, pigeon-toed black combat boots over black leggings, F train [miss peregrine's home for peculiar children, ransom riggs - MDF, neighborhood goth watch]
10 F, late 40s, short hair, rectangular purple reading glasses, intricate, dangly silver earrings, deep purple turtleneck, large gold rings on every finger but her thumbs, long-tasseled black scarf, black coat, black slacks, penguin classics tote hung on knees, F train [the girl from foreign: a memoir, sadia shepard - george: the revenge]
11 F, early 20s, zaftig, cable-knit black cap over long, straightened dark brown hair, raisin-tinted lipstick, black slouch boots over indigo jeggings, grey leather crossbody bag, D train [extremely loud and incredibly close, jonathan safran foer - suspected by jacob, scorner of suspect editions]
12 M, late 20s, thinning, close-cropped hair with widow's peak, thick eyebrows, neatly trimmed moustache and beard, brown waxed-canvas coat with luxe orange plaid lining, black-and-white pony sneakers, bright purple backpack between feet, boarding pass as bookmark, F train [forgotten country, catherine chung - jacob's second mercy killing]
*fun fact: if you head for antarctica via argentina, you don't need a yellow fever vaccination.
**i dog-ear books, both at the top corners (to mark my place) and at the bottom corners (to designate pages i want to revisit for THUNDERTOME). some pages are scored thrice and end up looking mangled, but they are mangled with love.