First, a rather scary reminder from Henry David Thoreau. “Read the best books first, or you may not have a chance to read them at all.”
Here’s a game you probably haven’t played, since a city rail transit service is the main requirement. It’s “Metro Poems,” invented by Jacques Jouet, who frequented the Paris Metro in the mid-1990s. The rules are easy but sound difficult to follow. You board the train, and as soon as it leaves the station, you mentally compose the first line of a poem. When the train stops at the second station, you write the line down. You think of a second line to the poem while the train travels to the third station. When the train stops, you write the second line down. And so on from stop to stop. You aren’t allowed to write anything while the train is moving. You aren’t allowed to think of another line while the train is stopped. When you reach your destination station and disembark, you write the last line on the platform. If you take the Paris Metro, you’ll have to think fast, because the average run between two stations is a minute and a half.
If you aren’t a versifier, here’s another way to entertain yourself when there’s nothing better to do. Some readers viewing Jack Dann’s 1984 science fiction novel, The Man Who Melted, noticed the wording of the cover seemed to run together thus: The Man Who Melted Jack Dunn. This led folks to look for other amusing amalgamations of titles and authors. For example: The Joy of Cooking Irma S. Rombauer, Contact Carl Sagan, and Flush Virginia Wolf. I found one on my bookshelf which rather perturbs me—Death Kindly Stopped Carol Cail.
Mark Twain could always be relied on to render a wise and succinct quote. Here’s one: “The test of any good fiction is that you should care something for the characters; the good to succeed, the bad to fail. The trouble with most fictions is that you want them all to land in hell together, as quickly as possible.”
May all the books you borrow or buy turn out to be heavenly.
*Written by Carol Cail. Read more from Carol at carolcail.com