Introducing: Subway Book Reviews
I have a confession to make: I am a bibliophile. Like many bibliophiles, I read books. A lot of books. In fact, many of my best friends are books. [My other best friends happen to include a flock of birds who live with me. But my parrots do not enjoy sharing me it appears, because they occasionally open their doors when I am not home and use their freedom to express their displeasure by autographing some of my book covers with v-shaped holes. I am sure that learning this alarming detail about my family makes you, dear readers, very grateful to know that I, my parrots and my books are all merely electrons on your computer screen instead of real characters who live and breathe next door or down the street to you. But I digress.]
Anywho, since I read so danged many books each week during my long commute and also because I did publically announce that my summer recreational project is to read Online Human Events' list of the Ten Most Harmful Books Published in the 19th and 20th Centuries (along with their 20 "honorable mentions"), I decided to feature a sporatic book review on my blog, ostensibly to motivate me to read all of those subversive books when there are so many more wonderful books crying out to be read instead. I know, I know, in truth I -- a barely employed cluster of electrons -- am poorly qualified to be a book reviewer. However, as you may have surmised by now, dear readers, I do read plenty of books, even though I rarely talk about them here. But considering the number of books that I read combined with my ability to form an opinion of what I have read should make me at least somewhat qualified in this regard.
So I have decided to change my nearly silent state of literary opinionation and in doing so, I have designed my own unique, never-before utilized book review ratings system: This system, my Subway Book Review System (SBRS), is the brainchild of my own misguided imagination and so is patented as belonging exclusively to me. [Incidentally, my parrots also have their own system for reviewing books, a system that they may one day give me permission to reveal here. But until that happy day dawns, you will have to tolerate my system.]
As its name implies, my book ratings system relies on the NYC subways and busses for providing numerical data that I will use to compute a rating for each book that I read. But before detailing my SBRS, I must remind you that this is not a perfectly objective system. Basically, your attempts to replicate my results may vary because I am a very knowledgeable and adept subway rider who carries a map of the entire MTA system in my head, that I know the ins and outs of NYC subway routes as well as any passenger could, which is almost as well as the average subway rat -- a feat that gives me great pride. I am also very adept at finding my way around on subways, having proven this quite nicely when I was alone in Tokyo for six weeks, using the subway system to travel all over the place to go birding, with only my poor command of the Japanese language and a Japanese language subway map to aid me. So, keeping these facts in mind when interpreting all my book reviews and numerical ratings, these are the bases for numerical data that I will collect for my soon-to-be-famous Subway Book Review System (the nuts and bolts);
1. missed stops: the number of times that the reader (me, in this case) misses her stop while reading a particular book, divided by the total number of trips taken while reading the book in question on the subway or bus.
2. missed trains: the number of times when the reader (me) mistakenly jumps on the wrong subway (or bus) or jumps on the correct train (or bus) travelling in the wrong direction, divided by the total number of opportunities that the reader has to make such errors.
Distances traveled out of my way due to these errors are not computed in the results because one express train can really skew these data!
Note: this system replaces the previous book ratings system that I employed while a graduate student in Seattle (that system was based upon the number of times that the reader (er, me) crashed into parking meters and the number of bruises acquired as the result of reading a book while simultaneously walking down the sidewalk. However, this system is currently antiquated because there are no parking meters on the NYC public transit system).
Also note: If this system is successful (in other words, if it amuses me and you, dear readers) I might continue it after I have finished reading the list of subversive literature.
© 2004, 2005, 2006 by GrrlScientist