I've always loved books and diving into other worlds. When I was little enough to have to rely on other peoples' ability to read, I inhaled stories to such a degree that gifting my father time off from reading to me was a very valid birthday present. Needless to say, I'm always on the prowl for good book suggestions.
When I moved to New York, I started Subway Book Review out of a desire to connect with the many vibrant personalities that make New York the place it is. Once I had that on my mind, I quickly noticed how much New Yorkers read and how dedicated they are to printed publications. The subway feels like a microcosm of the New York literary world. Within one car, you can find it all: self-published work, the next bestseller and beloved classics. It's the perfect place to get an unusual and often surprising tip from a stranger about what to read next.
There are layers to Subway Book Review that I find very satisfying. First, the book cover or the person holding the book sparks my curiosity. They create greater context for the story of the book, before the reviewer says a word. That's why the photography aspect of Subway Book Review is so important to me. Next I ask for a summary of the story and why they are reading the book. One of my favorite moments is when a reviewer tells me how the book relates to their life or how they see it reflect current world events. I type with my thumb on my phone, often while holding on for my dear life, especially on the L train. The pictures happen on the fly. Sometimes I get more time with a person; sometimes they only have one or two stops before they need to get off. Regardless of the time span of the conversation, I more often than not part ways with a reviewer feeling like I made a new friend who I would like to see again above ground.
Subway Book Review hopes to bring this conversation and feeling to book-lovers all over the world. I follow three rules: Reviews must be held underground. A portrait of the person and their book must accompany the review. Printed books only. Some of my followers are writers, which inspired me to hold author interviews on the subway. I am excited to see what else I can add to the Subway Book Review experience.
At the center of all of my projects lies a deep love for finding and capturing unique moments with people. Because in the end that's what I love -- connecting with people and hearing good stories.
Take a look at these book reviews by New York City subway riders: