What To Read on the Subway This Week: 10/3
This week, indulge in the lesser-known story behind the famous Little Rock Nine photograph, escape to Scotland to explore the influence of a teacher on her pupils, and learn why that coffee you're clutching on your ride might be good for you.
On your kindle
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. In the now-famous picture of the now-famous Elizabeth Eckford—part of the famed Little Rock Nine—entering Little Rock Central High School in 1957, the photographer wordlessly captures both the stalwart determination on Elizabeth’s face and the scathing hatred of a screaming white girl behind her, a classmate named Hazel Bryan.
In a new book by David Margolick, readers learn the less-told story that stemmed from that encounter. It’s not the story of politics or of a social movement, but of two women whose lives—and relationship—were forever marked, forever remembered, by one picture on one day. As school starts again, pick this up for a history book with a truly personal twist.
On your smart phone
While it is rare for me to select nonfiction articles for this column—and rarer still to cherry-pick articles from scientific journals—this one so piqued my interest that it became a “must-read.” Once I started working full-time, my caffeine consumption increased drastically. I sometimes worry that I’m over-coffeed, given to jitters and withdrawal headaches, but this study, which shows a significant relationship between higher caffeine consumption and a lower risk of depression among women, excites and relieves me. Read this as you try to avoid spilling your Starbucks on the subway this Monday morning.
On a podcast
This podcast tugs at a special place in my heart. I spent my senior year reading and re-reading Marilynne Robinson’s Home, companion to her Pulitzer-prize winning Gilead, and wrote my senior thesis on these two volumes. Robinson’s simple prose sets the stage for big, existential questions about religion, morality, and faith, which makes her novels perfect for book-group types of discussions. This podcast will get you through a long commute and make the time fly as you listen to a conversation among readers who each bring their own distinct opinions to the air.
When you pick up this slender volume this week, you ‘ll wish your commute were a little longer so you could just keep reading. This classic novel by Muriel Spark, often lauded as “perfect,” is delightfully short and deliciously funny, with a dry, to-the-point poignancy and humor that will stick with you.
The novel is set in 1930s Edinburgh and centers around the close relationship between a teacher, Miss Jean Brodie, and the girls who adore her (known as “the Brodie set”). In the story, time weaves in and out of sequence, and the reader sees each character in her youth and her adulthood, learning more about the revered Miss Brodie, the idea of womanhood, and the “prime” of life as the tale unfolds.
Photo courtesy of Francisco Osorio.
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