What Did DC Commuters Read in September?


In my 33 years on this earth, I have learned that humans are very curious and judgmental creatures. And I will humbly admit that I am quite “human,” especially when it comes to books and the people who read them. A great place to exercise this curiosity and judgement (ok, let’s be honest — it’s plain ol’ nosiness) is on public transit.

Hop on a bus or metro car in Washington, DC during rush hour and almost all commuters have their heads buried in their phones. Every so often, however, there is a reader among the masses, and when there is, I am compelled to look over her shoulder. I then proceed to make sweeping and unsubstantiated conclusions about the person based on her physical appearance and choice of book (all in good fun, of course). Not only is it entertaining, but it’s given me some great titles to add to my TBR list.

Each month, I will keep track of all these unsuspecting commuters and the books they read to share with you, my lovely readers. It’s easy to think of most Washingtonians as nothing but politics-crazed, type-A, workaholics, and while many people in the city do that fit that description, my hope is that you have some fun imagining a unique life for each of these commuters based on the information from my snooping. Hopefully you’ll also discover a title or two that you’d like to read!


Here’s what DC read this September (titles in red are on my TBR list):

homegoingBook: Homegoing, by Yaa Gyasi

From the publisher: “[Homegoing] begins with the story of two half-sisters, separated by forces beyond their control: one sold into slavery, the other married to a British slaver… [and] traces the generations of family who follow, as their destinies lead them through two continents and three hundred years of history.”

Reader: Woman, early 30s, blonde, tall, glasses, wearing a flowy flowery skirt


tong-warsBook: Tong Wars, by Scott D. Seligman

From the publisher – “A mesmerizing true story of money, murder, gambling, prostitution, and opium: the Chinese gang wars that engulfed New York’s Chinatown from the 1890s through the 1930s.”

Reader: Middle-aged man, light brown hair parted on the side, large glasses with gold rims (80s style), collared shirt, no tie


private-citizensBook: Private Citizen, by Tony Tulathmutte

From the publisher – “In boisterous prose that ricochets between humor and pain, the four estranged friends stagger through the Bay Area’s maze of tech startups, protestors, gentrifiers, karaoke bars, house parties, and cultish self-help seminars, washing up in each other’s lives once again.”

Reader: Heavy-set woman in her 40s, brunette with hair teased to great heights


things-they-carriedBook: The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien

From the publisher – “The Things They Carried depicts the men of Alpha Company: Jimmy Cross, Henry Dobbins, Rat Kiley, Mitchell Sanders, Norman Bowker, Kiowa, and the character Tim O’Brien, who has survived his tour in Vietnam to become a father and writer at the age of forty-three.”

Reader: Young woman (mid- to late-20s), rail thin, wire-rimmed glasses, mousy brown hair left down, striped button-up shirt


good-as-goneBook: Good as Gone, by Amy Gentry

From the publisher – “Thirteen-year-old Julie Whitaker was kidnapped from her bedroom in the middle of the night, witnessed only by her younger sister. Her family was shattered, but managed to stick together, hoping against hope that Julie is still alive. And then one night: the doorbell rings. A young woman who appears to be Julie is finally, miraculously, home safe. The family is ecstatic—but Anna, Julie’s mother, has whispers of doubts.”

Reader: Woman in her 30s, dark hair in a ponytail, white t-shirt and jeans


black-widowBook: The Black Widow, Daniel Silva

From the publisher – “Legendary spy and art restorer Gabriel Allon is poised to become the chief of Israel’s secret intelligence service. But on the eve of his promotion, events conspire to lure him into the field for one final operation. ISIS has detonated a massive bomb in the Marais district of Paris, and a desperate French government wants Gabriel to eliminate the man responsible before he can strike again.”

Reader: Rather chunky woman in late 50s, frizzy gray hair, floral shirt with black slacks and orthopedic sandals


breakdownBook: Breakdown: An Alex Delaware Novel, Jonathan Kellerman

From the publisher – “Psychologist Dr. Alex Delaware meets beautiful and emotionally fragile TV actress Zelda Chase when called upon to evaluate her five-year-old son, Ovid. Years later, Alex is unexpectedly reunited with Zelda when she is involuntarily committed after a bizarre psychotic episode. Shortly after Zelda’s release, an already sad situation turns tragic when she is discovered dead on the grounds of a palatial Bel Air estate.”

Reader: Man in mid-50s, salt-and-pepper hair cut very short, glasses, wearing business attire with black attache case


the-kept-womanBook: The Kept Woman (Will Trent #8), by Karen Slaughter

From the publisher – “With the discovery of a murder at an abandoned construction site, Will Trent of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation is brought in on a case that becomes much more dangerous when the dead man is identified as an ex-cop. Studying the body, Sara Linton—the GBI’s newest medical examiner and Will’s lover—realizes that the extensive blood loss didn’t belong to the corpse. Sure enough, bloody footprints leading away from the scene indicate there is another victim—a woman—who has vanished . . . and who will die soon if she isn’t found.”

Reader: Woman in her 60s, curly short hair going gray, glasses (reading on a phone with very large font size), beige-colored orthopedic sneakers.


What did you read in September? Share in the comments below!

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