Reading on my commute is how this blog got its name (I get the 7:47am train to work…) and I often find myself craning my neck around seats to see what books people are reading. I do it unintentionally, I just find I have a natural curiosity when it comes to what other people choose to get them through the hellish monotony of a rush-hour train journey. Maybe it’s due to Kindles being an easier option to read from on a crowded train (meaning I cannot see what book they’re enjoying), or just that people don’t actually read on their commute and prefer to spend their time phone-browsing (which I can’t deny, I do do a fair bit of too) but actually spotting someone reading a physical book on public transport has been trickier than I first thought. Some journeys I see no-one at all reading a book. No-one: can you even believe it!
Despite this lack of train-reading, I’ve decided to start this little feature that charts the book tastes of my fellow commuters I do see with a book – without actually talking to them, you understand. You don’t actually TALK to other people on transport in London, it’s not the British way and they’d just think you were slightly unhinged. So this is very much a stealth operation. Here are my findings for April:
The Commuter Book Chart
/ The Affair by Lee Child
/ The Sisters by Claire Douglas
/ The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
/ Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
/ Circe by Madeline Miller
/ Now You See Her by Heidi Perks
/ Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger
/ Battle Scars by Jason Fox
/ Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari
/ Becoming by Michelle Obama (I saw three people reading this.)
/ The Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell
I wasn’t going to use this as a way to add even more books to my towering TBR pile, but I have to say, it’s looking like that might happen. I’m very intrigued by The Year of Living Danishly: Uncovering the Secrets of the World’s Happiest Country as I vaguely remember it sparking my interest a little while ago, then I forgot about it, but now, thanks to a fellow train-reader, it’s back on my radar.
As an initial experiment, I have to say I enjoyed this; I like the findings too, the mix of current and classic fiction is pleasing, plus the wonderfully varied array of non-fiction.
What do you think of this selection?
I’m always curious when I see people caring a book or reading in public. I always try to see what the title is but as you said, some read on their kindle so that’s not always possible.
I also learned something else from reading this–you don’t strike up conversation on the train…it’s not the British way. When I’m on public transportation in the part of the US where I live, I’ll *sometimes* ask. But I like the stealth mode of your process. I could see what they have and keep reading what I have.
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Ha ha, no, striking up a conversation with a stranger on the train is not the way we do things in London! Maybe they do in other parts of the country!
Although I should set myself the challenge of actually talking to the next person I see reading a book and asking them about it. It would be nice to have some bookish chat on the way to work!
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That’s an idea….