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Books to read while commuting


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#1 JaneD

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Posted 09 August 2004 - 11:32 AM

Most of my reading is done during my journey to/from work. My journey is in two parts - 20-25 minutes on the bus to the station, and 17 minutes on the train into London. This means that the books have to be something that's worth carrying around with me, but that I will be able to stop reading at the end of that part of my journey (anything too absorbing and I tend to miss my station).

I only took The Da Vinci Code in once - nearly missed my stop! Crime novels (Donna Leon's Venetian set mysteries are good), plus historical fiction (Lindsay Davis and the like). Much as I love Terry Pratchett, he has to be read at home - falling about laughing on public transport gets you strange looks.

Any ideas, anyone?

Jane

#2 Ed Waffle

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Posted 29 August 2004 - 06:31 PM

I would suggest "Queen of the South" or any of the delightfully literate mysteries by the Spanish author Arturo Pérez-Reverte. Wonderfully written, very well researched and, as far as I can tell, properly translated into English.

Actually "The Nautical Chart" is the one I would suggest starting with.

#3 Anthony_NYC

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Posted 29 August 2004 - 11:32 PM

Some years ago when I had to commute into Brooklyn once a week, I took a different Shakespeare play with me each time. In this way I got through the entire canon in less than a year. (I recommend the Arden Shakespeare editions, published, I believe, by Routledge: delightfully perfect paperbacks, and just the right size to slip into a coat pocket.) If Shakespeare's not your bag, I suppose any playwright would do. The nice thing about plays for this purpose is that they read swiftly (not too much text on each page) and they're broken up into acts and scenes, which makes it easy to find a quick stopping point. Diaries or collections of reviews or essays are also good, for a similar reason. Like you, though, I find novels too absorbing and hard to put down.

#4 Ed Waffle

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Posted 30 August 2004 - 05:36 PM

On second thought--the Perez books (if one likes them) are too involving for commuting.

On third thought--a book of reviews, essays and occasional prose pieces by one of your favorite poets. This came to mind because I have been reading "Required Writing" and "Further Requirements", both collections of prose by Phillip Larkin.

#5 perky

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Posted 31 August 2004 - 05:24 AM

Seeing as you live in England you might have already read these but for reading while commuting I recommend any of the books written by James Herriot, starting with All Creatures Great and Small.
These stories are about Herriot's life as a vet in the Yorkshire Dales of England on the eve of World War 2. He writes with great warmth, humor (Hope you don't mind laughing out loud while commuting), and skill about the animals he treats, his boss and co-workers, his bumbling attempts to court his future wife Helen, and the unforgiving but wild beauty of the Yorkshire countryside.
The books are an easy read and they will put you in a good frame of mind to face your workday.

#6 JaneD

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Posted 01 September 2004 - 12:22 PM

Thanks for these ideas.

The Perez sound good for holiday reading. If I can find any tomorrow, they will go to France with me on Frday.

It's been a while since I read any Shakespeare - I used to know the non-historical plays quite well, but realised when I saw "Merry Wives of Windsor" a few weeks ago just how long it's been since I read any of them.

I'm not much of a fan of Larkin, but the idea of reading an antholgy is a good one - will see what I can find.

I know the Herriot books quite well. If you liked these, you might also like th "Village School" books by Miss Read - written by a lady who taught whithin twenty miles of where I now live.

The good news is that, after a few jorrendous weeks at work, I'm now off until 20 September!

#7 Kate B

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Posted 18 September 2004 - 06:27 AM

I'm currently reading 'Cousin Bette' (Balzac) on my commute. It's marvellous - full of scandal and really horrible people in 1840s Paris. It's not too absorbing in that I haven't missed a stop yet, but I really do look forward to reading it at the start and the end of the day.

I'd also recommend 'Star of the Sea' by Joseph O'Connor. It's about things that happen on a ship taking Irish people to the States during the potato famine. The chapters are quite short so you can usually read one chapter per journey. :thumbsup:


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