Subway Book Review: Books help us remember ‘we are part of the same human storyline’ – The Lily

Books are part of our identity. They represent our fears, our secrets, our hopes. Asking a stranger, “What are you reading?” has become my way of gaining a new perspective on life.

For the past four years, I’ve talked to strangers on the New York City subway about their books and have collected hundreds of stories. In doing Subway Book Review, I’ve realized that it’s important to see what people around the world are reading. A common denominator like a book helps us to remember that we are part of the same human storyline.

This month, I’ve spotted classics like James Baldwin and J.D. Salinger on the New York subway, and also couldn’t help but notice that poetry is having a moment.

“In London, we’re in a Joan Didion craze,” says Subway Book Review contributor Marta Bausells. “I see women going back to classic writers of the 20th century.” New Yorkers, too, are sharing the current obsession with Didion.

“A lot of young people, especially women, read books by philosophers like Nietzsche and Camus in Mexico City,” says local contributor Laura García Sandoval. “Writers like Gabriel García Márquez are still huge in Latin America, but younger generations are reaching for books outside of magical realism.”

Read on to find out what inspires the book selection of three women in New York, Mexico City and London.


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