the dirty dozen {mystery train,* round V}

it's been nearly a year and a half since i last asked you to guess what folks on the new york city subway are reading based on what i tell you of their fripperies, and that makes me sad; there are few things i like as well as sweeping generalizations based on clothing and books. the world has changed since some gal on the B train abandoned her paul auster for an oriental trading company catalog and the marriage plot probably disappointed a male backup dancer on a different B train: hilary mantel won the booker prize again, michelle williams announced she was growing out her pixie cut, natasha trethewey became our poet laureate, and visible bras became socially acceptable. it's time to reconsider the mystery train.

who's giving foxy knoxy her day in court? should i, in turn, give one to hemingway?** how would one benefit from a zipper which opened across but not around one's knee? is the male reader going extinct? how does the way we talk change the way we work? book titles are linked to descriptions and cover images, if additional research is your bag. if you correctly pair a book with its reader, i'll update the lists; if you understand the bra thing, that makes one of us. guess early, guess often, and good luck!

{the peeps}

01 F, early 20s, bobbed hair, round tortoiseshell glasses, beauty mark, grey cowl-neck sweater, black wool coat with pearly purple buttons, little brown satchel worn over left shoulder and right hip, black-and-white knee-length tweed skirt, short black lace-up boots with black socks, M train [the catcher in the rye, j.d. salinger - MDF spots a twitchy lady]

02 F, late 30s, red polarfleece hat, nordic blonde hair, moss-colored floral scarf, black quilted barn coat, long grey sweater, dark jeans, brown pebbled leather slip-ons with orthopedic soles, black hobo bag with gold zippers, pregnant, B train

03 F, 20s, forest green flapper hat with brown leather band pulled low over brow, ivory knitted scarf pulled up over mouth, black and white chevron tweed coat, red right sleeve, crossed legs with royal blue tights, black loafers with white tongues, M train [a moveable feast, ernest hemingway - anon pegs a farewell to awesome]

04 M, late 20s, shaved head, heavy stubble (proto-beard?), blue-gray striped oxford rolled up to the elbows and worn open over a white tee, loose blue boot-cut jeans, extremely clean black hiking boots, B train

05 M, late 60s, gray bottlebrush moustache, gold-rimmed readers worn low on nose, khaki baseball cap with "new york" in white embroidered script, metal cane and black messenger bag between knees, dunkin donuts cup at feet, blue plaid shirt, black slacks, brown leather slip-ons, F train [lords of the north, bernard cornwell - MDF's second victim]

06 F, early 20s, long brown hair tucked behind ears, beauty mark under right eye, nails bitten to the quick, grey heather tank, shrunken khaki band jacket, mint and navy blue keds, black skinny jeans, multicolored tote bag at feet, F train

07 F, early 20s, white-blonde hair in high, tight ponytail, grey cocoon cardigan over black tank, marigold-yellow nails, blue skinny jeans, black loafers, cover bent behind book, flipping back and forth between pages, B train

08 F, late 20s, wild streaky ringlets, black button-down with white polka dots, eight multicolored friendship bracelets, happy face with dimple in black marker on back of right hand, pegged patchwork jeans, black platform supergas, mustard-colored jansport on both shoulders, F train

09 F, early 20s, high black folded-over bun, sheer white lace top under small black cardigan, black skinny jeans, louis vuitton damier print tote, black watch plaid wellingtons, D train

10 F, early 20s, glossy brown hair in kerchief headband, thin gold chain with small medallion, oversized camo-print jacket over loose white button-down, black skinny jeans, cracked tan leather crossbody bag, black tasseled loafers, coffee in right hand, F train [victoria, knut hamsun - MDF makes the ID]

11 F, late 40s, heavy, square-framed black glasses, wavy hair swept back with wide band, big black cardigan over rumpled blue and white shirt, black slacks with heavy silver zipper across left knee, huge spring-green bag in lap, black airwalk sneakers with tan laces, white plastic shopping bag hooked over left wrist, five silver rings, F train

12 F, 30s, shoulder-length, wavy brown hair, cornflower blue long-sleeved spandex top, dark grey yoga pants, black windbreaker, black-and-white pumas, tall fuchsia umbrella between knees, victoria's secret shopping bag at feet, large black leather purse with silver hardware in lap, coffee in right hand, B train

{the books}

la vérité sur l'affaire harry quebert, joël dicker
waiting to be heard, amanda knox
lords of the north, bernard cornwell
the catcher in the rye, j.d. salinger
victoria, knut hamsun
how the way we talk can change the way we work, kegan lahey
a storm of swords, george r.r. martin
the river why, david james duncan
robopocalypse, daniel h. wilson
en el tiempo de las mariposas, julia alvarez
a light to the gentiles: reflections on the gospel of luke, william c. mills
a moveable feast, ernest hemingway

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

**i know i ask every year or two. reader, that's how hard it is.


esb said...

First off: My bras have been visible since approx 1989.

esb said...

I'm going with 02 for Catcher in the Rye.

lauren said...

bzzt! 02 is not catcher in the rye. my bra had a brief visible phase, à la the flying dutchman, circa 1989. some say you can still see it if you look into the eye of a storm near the cape of good hope.

Anonymous said...

jacob said:

wow, 2 male readers out of 12 - that's depressing. it's actually pretty even in my book club (though it's run by a guy, and this is iowa city, so maybe not generalizable).

4 - hamsun
5 - mills
6 - salinger
11 - alvarez
12 - knox

lauren said...

the collector here is undoubtedly prejudicing her results, though if anything, i'd guess that when i do see male book-readers i'm more likely to write them down because i find them more exotic. then again, they generally have boring clothes. i was also going to try to argue that maybe men are more likely to own e-readers or tablets, but that didn't seem to be the case as of last year (though stats on those devices swing all over the place from year to year). who can say?

your guesses are incorrect, sir!

Anonymous said...

MDF said...
1: [exasperated] Fuckin' Holden... 2: Knoxed-up? 3: Hiding a super-perverted Robo-induced grin of pure pleasure. 4: Aspires to the beardier religious culture of Eastern branches. 5: No crullers on the high seas, sadly. 6: Feasting on those nails. 7: "Zut alors! Language software is for shit..." 8: Catholic martyrs and dressing LOUD, that's what she loves. 9: Duncan. 10. Hungry, hungry Hamsun. 11: Wonders what it's like to be naked in front of R. R. Martin. 12: O' Kegan/Lahey, you had me at Ken Wilber blurb.

lauren said...

@MDF but are there cronuts? hat guy was one of my favorites.

01: correct! she dressed carefully.
05: correct! to the hinterland!
10: correct! RIP, knut.

lauren said...

LPC from the below post: "Is number 12 reading the George Martin book?"

alas, she was not!

Katherine said...

02 is the gospel of luke
04 is hemingway, ew

lauren said...

Katherine incorrect for both guesses, but a correct ew - the hemingway reader is a gal, the poor thing!

Anonymous said...

#3 is hemingway. the horror.

lauren said...

correct, anon, and it's so sad.