I have jury duty again on Monday and am still undecided about what to bring to read while I wait to be called. I am almost finished with Plunder Squad and have Butcher's Moon to take along. But I have a ratty, ugly, old copy of Butcher's Moon - not one I'd wish to been seen reading in public. This is a shame on so many levels - that such a good book should have such a bad cover - I'd be hard pressed to convince anyone of Westlake's genius with a cover that looks like this:
It is also sad that I even care what I am seen reading - but I ruthlessly judge others so I should be prepared.
Ideally, I would bring some comic books with me - but I like to read comics sitting at a table or lying on the floor - neither of which I will be able to do in a federal courthouse. And I worry that the lighting will be bad. I have several copies of Sweet Tooth and The Unwritten to read and this would be a nice block of time to do so. But I won't. And for those same reasons I won't read Osamu Tezuka's Ode To Kirihito in public either. I should note here that I stopped reading comics as a kid and just returned to them two years ago. I only discovered Osamu Tezuka because someone (you know who you are) who is also a Westlake obsessive edited an award-winning book on Tezuka (which I bought and it is quite wonderful) and I am now sort of interested in certain manga (which is something I actively used to dislike - though for no good reason). [Side Note: There was something called Read a Comic in Public Day at the end of August. And I participated in it (which is very unlike me - I am the kind of person who mocks people who participate in public displays of anything) and read Tonoharu by Lars Martinson.]
I have the past few issues of The New Yorker and The New Scientist to read. I picked up the October issue of Backpacker magazine because it has a cover story on all the things one needs to know if lost or trapped in the wild. This is normally not a concern for me - I live in downtown Washington, DC. But after reading a lot of The Walking Dead and Justin Cronin's The Passage, I've come to realize that I'll be the first one to die in the event of the dead rising or a plague of virals or anything apocalyptic because my outdoor survival skills are woefully inadequate - and also because I don't like to run. (I figure I'll have to carry the magazine with me as I flee the dead or whatever.)
I am also considering bringing the new Jonathan Franzen novel Freedom and the new Kate Atkinson novel Started Early, Took My Dog. The Franzen looks wonderful but I have to be in court before 8 AM and am worried my brain will be too mushy (we work evenings and nights) to appreciate the book. I hope the courthouse has a Starbucks. The Atkinson is probably the better choice.
Because I cannot have too much entertainment with me, I am charging up both iPods right now. I'll skip what I could watch (Ashes to Ashes, the IT Crowd, Lead Balloon and Outnumbered to name a few) and say the real dilemma is which headphones to take. I hate earbuds but my Sennheiser and Grado headphones look incredibly dorky. People laugh when I wear them. People who like me, even. But they sound so good.