Big Brother Book Club: From Victor Hugo to David Sedaris


Occasionally when we’re on the 1 scoping out all of your reads, there’s a title that we just can’t see no matter how much we squint or how long we wait for a page turn, or train lurch that shifts the book ever so slightly. We’re intrigued and we cra

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ne our necks (as inconspicuously as possible) in hopes of seeing it. We wonder if people are starting to notice.

This morning, there was a particularly frustrating lady sitting diagonally from us with a behemoth of a library book between her hands. There was a dead white guy on the cover. MARK TWAIN? No. EDGAR ALLAN POE? No. Blast! We didn’t recognize the face, and wow was the protective, plastic covering reflective, making it even harder to make out what the tiny black font said.

As the train screeched to a stop at 18th Street, and the lady closed the book and stood up to take her leave, we managed to catch the fine print as she walked past and waited for the door to open. VICTOR HUGO! Mystery solved. A quick Amazon search confirmed that the cover was in fact that of Modern Library’s LES MISERABLES. We hope you appreciate our dedicated detective work.

RAYMOND CARVER’s first collection of stories WILL YOU PLEASE BE QUIET, PLEASE? and MARJANE SATRAPI’s THE COMPLETE PERSEPOLIS , whose now iconic illustrations are recognizable from afar, were spotted. The day after our glorious election a woman sat engrossed, halfway through BARACK OBAMA’s DREAMS FROM MY FATHER. Ironically, one of JOHN MCCAIN’s favorite authors, ERNEST HEMINGWAY, made an appearance with A MOVEABLE FEAST which was recommended by a friend who told us that it was a Hemingway we’d actually like. DAVID SEDARIS popped up with DRESS YOUR FAMILY IN CORDUROY AND DENIM as well as LAURIE HALSE ANDERSON’s story of teenage alienation, SPEAK.

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