Muni Book Club Chapter 1, N-Judah

Riders James, Katie, and their friends started a really cool site called Between the Lines to document who’s reading what on public transit in our literary city. Here’s what they spotted this weekend on the N-Judah. Maybe you’ll see James and Katie soon on your line so you can share your discerning book choices.

After judging a book by its very intriguing cover from a few seats over on the N-Judah, Between the Lines had the pleasure of briefly chatting with Grace Foster about her chosen Muni tome, The Second Happiest Day. When she warned us that it was a rather obscure book, we were hooked.

How’d you find this book?

Grace said that she had first heard of the book through a review in either the San Francisco Chronicle or the New Yorker, and that she borrowed the book from the Oakland Public Library. She also told us that the author, John Phillips, was actually writing under a nom de plume. His real name was John Phillips Marquand, Jr., (a previous reader of this particular book thought it was important to pencil in). He was the son of the famous John Phillips Marquand (whom your author had never heard of).

Should we read this on our commute, too?

Grace said that she generally liked the novel, which was written at some point in the 1950s and involved the lives of upper-class characters. She said it was “typical of a forgotten genre,” and was a rather obscure work.

Turns out Grace was right. According to this Washington Post report, it is out of print and “long ago disappeared into the remotest shelves of the secondhand bookstores.” Good find, Grace, and thanks for chatting!

Does it seem like everyone is reading the same thing on your bus? Have a better idea of what they should be reading? Share it with your fellow riders.

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