Big Brother Book Club: Kindles, Public Enemies, and Corbusier


For those of you who are new to the Big Brother Book Club, we give up our precious subway reading time each week to bring you the scoop on what the world around us is reading. It’s a hard job filled with all kinds of exciting espionage-related tasks we dare not speak of to the unindoctrinated. Just know, that wherever you are reading, the book spy is out there, working hard for you.

We have to start out by saying that we are deeply ashamed of our previous Kindle-love for the hypocrisy it has thrust on our Orwellian name. Suffice to say that our book spy did not see anyone reading 1984 on their Kindle this week since Amazon deleted it from everyone’s library, and it makes us very very sad. Bad Kindle!

It was a hot, sticky week on the subway making it even harder to spy on what the world was reading. The first read to inspire our interest was in the hands of a hipster kid standing next to us at the station; after catching us staring, he told us over his shoulder that the book, Public Enemies , was way better than the movie as he shoved his way onto the V train.

The rest of our week of spying went much smoother, though it got surprisingly gory. It started with a glimpse of The Blood Detective once we finally got onto our train. The bloodbath continued when Dearly Devoted Dexter reminded us that we meant to get the novels read before the new season starts. And the killers kept on coming when The Killer Inside Me turned up in the purse of a sleek business woman while we waited for our morning coffee. Feeling murderous, New York?

Le Corbusier: A Life on the L train re-introduced us to Charles-Edourard Jeanneret, and we once again want to be a brilliant self-taught architect, painter and utopist with an awesome pseudonym — why are all the good ideas already taken?

Denis Johnson’s Tree of Smoke and some Aeschylus both slowed up as we stood inside the subway station waiting for the rain to stop, though we were slightly more intrigued by the girl with the art portfolio across her lap who was reading White Mischief: A Cultural History of Cocaine . Does that say something about her or us?