Last Wednesday (June 18) I was taking a subway in Brooklyn going to Penn Station. Since I was unfamiliar with the route, I didn't know that the train went from underground to above ground and I asked the person next to me if I was in the right direction. The person next to me was wearing a kipah and we started a conversation. I was obviously a visitor and he asked what I was doing in New York and where I was from. I told him that I was a librarian from Chicago and I was on my way to the university where I teach. He told me that I he was working on a book and asked for my help. I was reluctant to help; I didn't think I could help someone in the few minutes of the subway ride. He was getting off at the same stop I was and so I gave in.
I have always wanted to advise a publisher before publication the best way to create a title page. I helped him with the title page and some stylistic advice. He also sent me a PDF copy of the book via e-mail.
Friday morning in shul I related the story because I was so amazed that I had a conversation while riding the New York Subway. Usually we think of New Yorkers as those who keep to themselves in public places. My friend in shul said in an amazed voice, "you got a seat on the subway?"
Monday morning (June 23) I got a call from the author thanking me for my advice and asking if I had more comments. I told him that his bibliography needed to me more standard so that readers could find the sources.