Wednesday, 20 April 2011

travel warning: beware the tearjerker

After seeing a show at the Comedy Festival, I was still chuckling to myself as I hopped on the tram when disaster struck.  I’d picked a book off the shelf because it fitted nicely in my fancy bag, but halfway home and nearing the end of the novel I began to realise this may not have been my brightest idea. The tram was the number 8, the book was Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck and the last tissue was sopping by the time I arrived at my stop.  Crying in public is not something I do often, saving it for the warm anonymity of a dark movie theatre, but sometimes I cop it from a book and this often happens when I’m trapped on public transport. 
So here's my top 5 books that should have a public transport warning on the front.

  1. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. Yes he wrote ‘classics’ but boring he is not. Steinbeck will take your heart and then break it piece by piece.  My housemates thought I’d been through some trauma on the tram when I arrived home red eyed and talk-crying. Also be wary of his Grapes of Wrath.
  2. The Midnight Zoo by Sonya Hartnett.  Like much of Hartnett’s other work, the term “will fuck you over” would not be remiss and you should be prepared to spend some time with your hand clasped over your mouth audibly moaning “oh God no”. But it’s amazing nonetheless.
  3. Spud by John Van de Ruit. This book will elicit the following from you no matter your surroundings; chuckle, guffaw, cringe, guffaw (repeat), weeping, laughter. You will then buy this book for your brother. Who buys this book for his friends and so on and so forth.
  4. The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak. From moderate sales as a young adult fiction to best seller after book clubs of the world discovered it. Don’t be off put by its popularity. Many tissues sacrificed themselves to my nose after some achingly beautiful writing.
  5. Eleven by Mark Watson. What the deuce? A Comedian who makes me cry? Watson’s a funny guy but a tragic event in this tale not only made me swear aloud on a tram, earning me a disapproving look from a fellow passenger, it also put me off babysitting indefinitely.


  1. It's always the dorkiest little kid books that get me going. You know... Pollyanna, Goodnight Mister Tom, Heidi, The Day My Bum Went Psycho, Little Women... that kind of thing...

    And, yeah, Steinbeck. Always. Including Travels with Charley, his non-fiction travelogue that is incredibly awesome.

    To counteract, I suggest P.G. Wodehouse. I've only just discovered him and am loving it! "Classic" enough to impress your friends, but hilarious enough that the only embarrassment you'll be suffering on trams is that of guffawing so much you snort.

  2. Aha. Thanks for the heads up, though I can't read in moving vehicles, I get motion sick. :/ ,so I make up story ideas in my head during such journeys.
    But now I know what books not to read in public places. That list is an interesting selection, especially Spud and Midnight Zoo, they're both happily tucked into my TBR pile now!(for private reading) :D