Only one more month of school left to go. I'm already excited about some mid-winter leisure reading. Chapter after boring chapter of textbooks has me eyeing Amazon in a dangerous way. I plan on continuing my collection of fake knowledge and satirical non-fiction but I also have a new reading list of Chicago themed books.
Yesterday at Borders I got the new John Hodgman compendium of complete world knowledge, More Information Than You Require, a follow up to the hobo cult starting The Areas of My Expertise. On the busride home from Borders I began t he book, starting with the very informative but tiny type printed cover. Both the front and back cover, oozing with TMI. Fellow passengers gave me the same odd stares that I received when I read the first book on the bus. They must be wondering why I am staring at the cover of a book for so long instead of opening it. If only they could see the brilliance that is detailed in tiny print! I'm only on page three of the table of contents and already I am inundated with whosits and whatsits and lists and things of that nature.
During the same Borders trip I also got a book called Chicago: City On The Move. It's a gorgeous coffee table book chock full of black and white photos of the CTA's early days, street cars, trolleys, men digging blue clay by hand beneath the city. Now that I've taken B&W photography and learned how to develop film, I have much more appreciation for the tunnel dig pics of the '20s and '30s. But besides all the eye-candy, this book was also peppered with excerpts from books and newspaper articles that had to do with Chicago transportation. Already, one excerpt struck me as profound and puts into beautiful words an experience I've felt many many times.
"For hours each day Donald Ray rode them: the Howard, past Addison and Wrigley Field, then Belmont, then Fullerton, then the most exciting, the most dazzling part of the line: the descent into the underground tube just past the Armitage station. It was like a mouth consuming them all, changing light into shadow and darkness, the sound from a hum into an echoing thunder of vibration and noise. Once beneath the street, he would study the houses as they slowly drifted into the landscape; he was suddenly in the lead of a long, curling missile propelling itself through a hole under the earth, and only he was in control."
--- City Dogs by William Brashler
I have to get that book.