01.27.12: the dirty dozen {mystery train,* round IV}

that last matched batch of books and their train-ridin' readers went down as decisively as i did when i sprained my ankle two weeks ago; well done, everyone! thanks to the latter plunge, since last we convened to speculate about the subway system and its denizens, purpy and i have spent a lot of time on both trains and buses; while i would love to present you with a sub-challenge of bus riders and their books, we all know the bus is full of text-scorning ruffians. you should see them eat, though!

this passel, on the other hand, continues to savor the printed word. would the dueling eugenides-readers (for whom i've decided to bump the batch to thirteen, since with the repeat there are only twelve books) make a good crime-fighting duo? if so, which one would take their motorcycle's sidecar? which text was one mystery reader underlining with such gusto? where was the man with the waxed moustache going? am i among these people in a fabulous disguise?** so many questions; as yet, so few answers. as before, if you correctly pair a book with its reader, i'll update the lists.

{the peeps}

01 F, early 20s, long, loose, dark hair, gray-blue puffer coat with high cloud collar, big, caramel-brown leather purse in lap, black messenger bag and brown paper bag at feet, crocheted black tights, heavy dark-brown harness boots, ditched book and switched to oriental trading company catalog after six stops, switched to lucky after two more, B train [city of glass, paul auster - MDF recalls my auster-hatred]

02 M, early 40s, short, gelled hair, rectangular, wire-rimmed reading glasses, narrow, square jaw, frowning, red-and-white plaid shirt, beat-up indiana jones-ish leather coat, ipod and big black messenger bag in lap, green chinos, brown desert boots, F train

03 M, 60s, wild white hair, two-tone reading glasses, short down-filled north face jacket with sex and the city crew patch on left shoulder, faded black jeans, black swiss army backpack hanging from left knee, tan work boots, F train [shell game, carol o'connell - MDF spots the first of the murdering kind]

04 M, late 30s, intentional stubble, slight flip in bangs, black wool overcoat, blue and white microstriped dress shirt worn open-necked over white tee, french cuffs with black monkey's-fist cufflinks, grey slacks, shiny black slip-ons, ratty grey gym bag worn cross-body, B train [republic, lost: how money corrupts congress—and a plan to stop it, lawrence lessig - rob knows his purposeful menswear]

05 F, early 40s, shoulder-length, curly black hair, charcoal grey wool coat with button-down epaulets, lavender scarf, grey pencil skirt, sizeable diamond engagement ring and wedding band, shoulder bag made of beige seatbelts, flat black boots, holding orange library card, A train [well-offed in vermont, amy patricia meade - MDF pegs the second killer as well]

06 M, 30s, grey knit cap, faint stubble, navy zippered members only jacket over grey-green hoodie, japanese denim jeans, monochrome black chuck taylors, grey-and-navy gym bag in lap, wearing grey flip-up smoking mittens, L train

07 M, late 30s, stubble and grizzly goatee, grey folded-up knit cap, black anorak with white-lined hood, dirty jeans, grey airwalks with red stripes, massive black messenger bag over shoulder and in lap, ankles crossed and tucked under seat, R train

08 F, 20s, round face, long, loose, side-parted brown hair, purple-and-green missioni zigzag scarf, big brown purse with gold straps and a little green purse tucked inside, horizontally-quilted black puffer coat, flared-leg jeans, pointy-toed black oxfords, holding book up with both hands right in front of her face, F train

09 M, 30s, full red beard and waxed, upturned moustache, denim driving cap, thick white plastic glasses, dark jeans, blue plaid shirt under open khaki trench, heavy gold chain, blue slip-on vans, tall blue-on-blue doctor's satchel between knees, M train

10 M, 30s, caesar haircut with long bangs, thin face with high cheekbones, heavy black sock-hop-era wool coat over hoodie, jeans, grey and black running shoes, huge khaki-and-acid-green messenger bag on lap, B train [the marriage plot, jeffrey eugenides - MDF - was it the bangs?]

11 F, 20s, wavy hair in model-on-a-go-see updo, brooke shields eyebrows, red lipstick, red ski patrol parka with white reflective stripe, grey heather leggings, black motorcycle boots, black leather bucket bag with little brass feet, B train

12 M, 30s, black wire-rimmed glasses, short, dark, curly hair, incipient neck beard, oversized black nylon hoodie, worn unzipped, dark jeans, dark brown leather moccasins, gripping train pole with the crook of his arm, large plastic zabar's bag at feet, B train

13 F, 50s, curly, shoulder-length, salt-and-pepper hair, black wire-rimmed reading glasses, long, black wool coat, massive black new york public radio tote bag hanging over knees, teal leather purse in lap, book full of notes and passages underlined in red pencil, F train [mrs. dalloway, virginia woolf - MDF, unafraid]

{the books}

republic, lost: how money corrupts congress—and a plan to stop it, lawrence lessig
juliet, naked, nick hornby
word freak: heartbreak, triumph, genius, and obsession in the world of competitive scrabble players, stefan fatsis
the marriage plot, jeffrey eugenides
a tree grows in brooklyn, betty smith
the kandy-kolored tangerine-flake streamline baby, tom wolfe
city of glass, paul auster
getting things done: the art of stress-free productivity, david allen
shell game, carol o'connell
mrs. dalloway, virginia woolf
the marriage plot, jeffrey eugenides
super sad true love story, gary shteyngart
well-offed in vermont, amy patricia meade

*tip of the hat, as always, to coverspy.

**at one point this week i was trying to nab the guy sitting next to me (a dodgy proposition, as they can usually see what you're writing); i couldn't catch the outside of his book and didn't recognize the text, though, so i gave up and started reading my own. when he closed it and got up to leave, i realized we were both holding copies of pulphead; then a black hole opened up in the seat-molding betwixt us and swallowed the entire train.


Rachel (heart of light) said...

I resent the slur against bus riders! (Although I admit that I regularly end up eating my breakfast on the bus - for us it's against the rules on both the bus and the subway, but for some reason the bus rule is never enforced unelss someone attempts to board holding a cup without a lid)

kidchamp said...

to be fair, rachel, i should note that 1) people eat on the subway all the time as well and 2) my sample population here is the m21 and the m14, and they pass through some of the hungriest (and jolliest) neighborhoods in manhattan. the book thing really is weird, though. nobody but NOBODY reads on those bus lines. 

jacob said...

i'll take the chicken peck approach and go one at a time (saves embarassment at getting all 13 wrong). i suspect that 01 is a college student, and was assigned the virginia woolf (which is why it was abandoned after 6 stops).

kidchamp said...

bzzt! i too suspect that she is a college student, but she appeared to be reading for pleasure (which amused me, given her posture). the reader who abandoned her book for a catalog and a magazine amused me even more; she's one of my favorites from this round.

valya said...

was that a clue?  in that case, i'd give 08 the woolf. i'm going to guess that 01 was reading word freak. it didn't hold my interest either, and i have been known to leaf through an oriental trading catalog.

_M_D_F_ said...

01: Eugenides- 'cuz meh! 02: Lessig- concerned about it. 03: O'Connell- loves murder... and thaumaturgy! 04: Auster- piteous or detestable. 05: Meade- loves murder outright. 06: Hornby- known to bathe an ape or two. 07: Wolfe- swagger jacker. 08: Smith- a sociopath blooms on F train. 09: Eugenides- was Eugenides for halloween. 10: Fatsis- word freak-a-holic. 11: is this Our Lady reading Shteyngart? 12: Woolf- prefers Between the Acts; shit's just too commercial. 13: Allen- her marginalia is NOT fucking around.

Mr. Parham said...

What is loose hair?

kidchamp said...

my brows, alas, are often more brezhnev than brooke, but a flattering guess! 03 is correct; i loved that guy and his jacket. 05 is also correct; i always wonder about the ladies with those bags. 

kidchamp said...

hair which isn't tied back or up? think axl rose v. erykah badu. wait, axl has those cornrows, bad example. think steven tyler v. busta rhymes.

jacob said...

well, i abandoned the shteyngart (after the equivalent of, i don't know, 18 stops), so my hope (and next guess) is that 01 and i are literary soulmates.

kidchamp said...

alas, valya and jacob, both incorrect! valya, that's good to know about word freak; i've thought of picking it up, but will avoid. jacob, being in shteyngart's stomping grounds (and having been around here for occupy wall street) helped a LOT with getting through SSTLS; i put it down a couple of times as well, but ended up liking it. 

Rob S. Parham said...

Lessig=04, he's trying to figure out which side of the money he wants to be on.
Hornby=06, He sounds like my meatspacer, sounds like he'd like the book.
Fatsis=13, unsourced gut reaction.
Eugenides=08, sounds Vigin Suicide type gal.
Smith=01, it's the loose hair.
Wolfe=02, he has the right stuff.
Auster=12, reading a mystery he is subconsiously trying to be more prepared and alert so he stands.
Allen=09, he is put together and totes wants to do more
Woolf=11, I only have one lady left.
Eugenides=07, I think he'd laugh before 10
Shteyngart=10, He's the only reader i have left on the list.

kidchamp said...

you pegged 04) lessig - that was the most businesslike fellow i've seen on the train in some time. what's the deal with those monkey's-fist cuff links? is that sprezzatura?

08 did have a bit of a virgin suicides thing about her, but nay: the marriage plot readers are both dudes.

02 is in fact reading the opposite of wolfe; the wolfe reader, in turn, was perhaps the opposite of that fellow.


_M_D_F_ said...

01: Auster- Hawt neglect. 02: Allen- What do green chinos mean? 06: Eugenides- Thing 1. 07: Fatsis- Ankles = AND1 Scrabble. 08: Shteyngart- Our Lady operating incognito? 09: Hornby- Tuck that ice in; you aren't iced out. 10: Eugenides- Thing 2. 11: Smith- Impossibly. 12: Wolfe- Radically chic. 13: Woolf- Check her pockets.

kidchamp said...

01: ding! she looked super-mad about auster, too. good girl.
08: if i ever do grow long hair, i'm just going to let it go and go. and i shall hold my books right in front of my face. i've been warned away from reading what she's got, though.
10: ding! thing 1 is not, in fact, unlike him.
13: ding! she'd head for the river packing tea and drown in relaxation. 

Anonymous said...

06 is juliet, naked.

Anonymous said...

11 is supersad lovestory

lauren said...

alas, anon 1:56 and 1:58, both incorrect! speaking of shteyngart, i just finished little failure, his boss memoir. i am now perpetually tempted to use failurchka as a term of endearment for the cats.