South Asian female, early 20s, with short brown bob, wearing white wool sweater underneath open blue peacoat, three charms hanging from a long golden chain around her neck.
Love NotedWhen she gets to page three, she’ll find a confession of love scribbled in the margin. Her heart will leap, even though she knows it wasn’t written by the man who gifted her the book; it was bought secondhand. It’s not his handwriting, but she’ll give in to the hope, just the same, because people don’t use words like those anymore, and how lovely would it be to imagine that he could be somewhere imagining her, standing on the subway platform, bouncing on the balls of her feet, having just turned to page three.
Caucasian female, late 20s, with long brown hair tied back in a neat ponytail, wearing purple broad-framed glasses, a long red wool coat, and a green-and-red flecked angora scarf. She uses a gift tag as her bookmark.
The Whole Story and other stories
Ali Smith (Hamish Hamilton, 2003)
observations: I sometimes wonder where this blog would be without the wonderful Sara O’Leary – loyal blog supporter and suggester of books. In this particular case she tweeted the picture, and I said ‘Oh I would love to find a book to go with this’ and about two minutes later she linked to Julie Wilson’s book. It’s not usually quite that easy.
Julie Wilson describes herself as a literary voyeur. She was inspired by the sight of people reading on public transport in her native Toronto, and started making notes of what they were reading and what they were wearing. She made regular blog-posts from these sightings, adding a micro-fiction to each, then chose 100 to ‘re-craft’ and turn into this book: they ‘sit alongside one another in short chapters of poetic prose, much in the same way strangers on transit sit alongside one another en route to their final destinations.’
Each piece in the book takes the form above – a paragraph or two of imagination, then a short description of the reader, the name of the book, and if possible the page number. (Each of the pieces above is the whole entry).
Sometimes it is possible to follow the line from book to entry, sometimes not. They are completely hypnotic, mesmerizing – once I started, I couldn’t stop reading them. They can be funny, touching, clever, surprising. I particularly loved the two above, and Simmer and Visitor. I also learned a couple of Canadian words: tuque for a kind of hat, poutine for chips/fries with gravy and cheese. And Julie can tell when people’s clothes are second-hand…
You can see Julie’s blog here, and read more about her book here .
Thanks again to Sara.