As a commuter, I feel the need to have reading material on my person at all times. However, my outfit may not always make this easy. I’m gradually becoming an expert on “good books which come in editions that will fit in my smallest purse”. Such books are also great for those occasions on which you need to pack light, so without further ado, I present the first part of an ongoing series: lists of small-and-good books (accompanied by some vague descriptions).
“The Log From the Sea of Cortez” by John Steinbeck
Once upon a time, Steinbeck embarked upon a collecting expedition with a biologist buddy. This is a journal of the trip, brimming with little Steinbeckian thoughts and humorous anecdotes. An especially wonderful read if you are both a Steinbeck admirer and a bio nerd.
“A Burnt-Out Case” by Graham Greene
This story follows a famous architect, Querry, as he tries to escape a past that is initially mysterious. Querry takes up residence at a leper colony whose doctor diagnoses him as the mental equivalent of a leper who has undergone mutilation, thus lending the book its title. More of a reflection on people than a pure tale. Grim, yet somehow charming.
“The Emperor of Scent: A True Story of Perfume and Obsession” by Chandler Burr
In one of my favorite non-fiction books, Burr depicts biologist Luca Turin and his discovery of how the vibrational theory of scent actually works, as well as his subsequent struggle to promote the theory. A sort of scientific mystery/adventure story full of beauty.