Life was great as a kid. Remember spending whole afternoons binging on a novel, snuggling into a comfortable nook, surrounded by endless pages? College continued the trend; though students, we could still find time to get lost in our favorite Agatha Christie novel. Then young professionalism crept our way, and we said goodbye to those days of leisurely reading. Yet this sudden introduction to adulthood need not prevent that inner bookworm from shining through. By following a loose yet effective reading schedule, the full-time-working commuter can continue their love for the written word.
Disclaimer: The following is a tentative schedule that allows one to read a number of books at one time. This advice is provided by a fellow full-time commuter who likes to read and should not be considered expert information.
If you’re a reader who enjoys staying up-to-date on the world of politics and culture, then the EarlyBird reading hours are a perfect time to check that Twitter feed, peruse the daily New York Times, visit the BBC’s website, and generally garner relevant knowledge of today’s worldly doings. Though I consistently fail to wake up for this part of the itinerary, I’d probably work my way through The Economist if I could just learn to be a bit more of an EarlyBird.
Morning Commute on the Train
7:49 am hits and that dreary train works its way into the station. You’re clutching your coffee, struggling to keep your eyes open, and taking heed to not “Fall for the gap” as Grand Central Station’s loudspeaker frequently reminds you. What better way to add some energy to that dull morning-commute than with a good work of classic fiction? Currently, I’m spending my hour and fifteen minutes on the train exploring Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, and it’s vivid descriptions of English moors are the perfect remedy to the perpetual turbulence of M-tro N-rth.
I don’t recommend this, and I certainly don’t partake. But… if you ever find yourself without anything to do at work, and your boss has disappeared for the day, invest in a digital reading app on your laptop. Tales of the Jazz Age is currently free with the Amazon Kindle app, and it’s how I’ve been spending my brief moments of downtime. It’s a series of short stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald, which is perfect, because short stories require much less of an investment time-wise.
Evening Commute on the Train
Work’s ended and your appetite’s heckling you to get home and have some dinner. Clearly you’re not in the mind-set to navigate the old-style prose of classic literature. So pair your late afternoon energy bar with a dose of self-help guidance. More narrative in its approach and incredibly well-written, Blink by Malcolm Gladwell has been my go-to for the past two weeks, and it has been essential in opening my mind to the various ways in which we as humans make snap-judgments, analyzing both the benefits and negatives to our use of instinct.
Literature for Dining
You get home. Finally. Your back hurts and your hungry and you’re crashing from the four cups of coffee that propelled you through the day. You don’t really want to talk to anyone. That’s okay. Grab yourself a carbohydrate-enriched entrée like ziti with marinara, a glass of Malbec, and prepare yourself for a ride into the world of crime and/or mystery fiction. I haven’t actually started this ritual yet, but I might just finish Defending Jacob by William Landay over a hot plate of pasta tonight.
We might be twenty-somethings but we still like a good bedtime story. Those fifteen minutes while you lay in bed, close your eyes, dream about the better world you imagine and the life you want for yourself… those moments pair rather nicely with a coming-of-age-esque audio book or a nightmarish podcast. For the former, I’ve been listening to Jack Kerouac’s On the Road. I’m a sucker for any story in which a protagonist decides to up and leave and travel the country, and Kerouac’s is a must-listen for fellow millennials suffering from wanderlust. For the latter, I’ve been turning to Lore by Aaron Mahnke. These tales of historical horror are as frightening as they are fascinating.
If you ever just want to sleep… listen to Nothing much happens; Bedtime stories by Kathryn Nicolai. These tales capture the ordinary yet beautiful moments of life and are in no way frightening.
Weekend Read… or Writing
Via Her Campus
The weekend is your time. I can’t tell you how to spend it. But if I were to… I’d say follow your heart. If you want to write… write. If you want to dance… dance. If you want to decipher the first book in Marcel Proust’s epic In Search of Lost Time, grab yourself a copy of Swann’s Way and prepare to spend ten minutes understanding each page. Don’t expect to find its sequel too easily, though. And if you want to escape into the world of Hogwarts and wizards and goblins, read your favorite Harry Potter book for the fortieth time.
Still, remember that the weekend is not your only time to read. Though life moves faster as we grow older, even on a train, seventy miles per hour, a good book steadies the wheels.
Featured Image Via Electric Lit