The bus driver who wanted to be God

Most bus riders know the joy of having built-in reading time, and this book-loving bus chick is no exception. I have my standard favorites (Morrison, Austen, Boyle, Senna, Durham, Smith), my list of “shoulds” (still haven’t gotten around to finishing Middlemarch), and my recommendations from friends (currently reading A Fine Balance, loaned to me by my friend Donna). Then, every once in a while, I’ll discover someone new on my own. This week, it’s Israeli writer Etgar Keret. Keret is not new to the literary scene (apparently, he’s been around for over a decade), but he’s new to me. He’s written a delightful collection of short stories, the most delightful of which is the story the book is named for, “The Bus Driver Who Wanted to Be God.”

Here’s an excerpt from the beginning:

This is the story about a bus driver who would never open the door of the bus for people who were late. Not for anyone. Not for repressed high-school kids who’d run alongside the bus and stare at it longingly, and certainly not for high-strung people in windbreakers who’d bang on the door as if they were actually on time and it was the bus driver who was out of line, and not even for little old ladies with brown paper bags full of groceries who struggled to flag him down with trembling hands. And it wasn’t because he was mean that he didn’t open the door, because this driver didn’t have a mean bone in his body; it was a matter of ideology.

Intrigued? Check this book out at the library. (I’ll be returning my copy this weekend.)

I tend to prefer novels to short stories, but I have to admit, stories are ideal for bus reading. Keret’s stories are really short, which means you can get through at least one (no matter how slowly your read or how minimal the distance) per ride. They’re also ideal for bus stop waits–unless you’re waiting for the 48, in which case you might want to break out that copy of Middlemarch you’ve been meaning to get to.

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