Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Reading on the subway: how I pretend personal space exists during my commute

One of the ways I know I'm really enjoying a book is if when I'm reading it everything else around fades away.  I do most of my reading during my daily commute and the more I can forget I'm in a tin can sharing 1 square foot with 8 other people the better. My commute takes me right by Fenway Park so I dread any home game I'm not going to because it means twice the amount of people will be on the train, most of whom are oblivious to subway etiquette.  Today was one of those home games and I had to let 2 trains go by before I could finally squeeze myself onto one, so I was ready to forget where I was.  The cruelest part of a crowded train is when it's too crowded, there isn't even enough space for me to pull out a book, so we went a couple stops before enough people shifted around and I made myself over to a pocket of space where I could actually hold a book out in front of me, although the space behind me was still shared with 3 adults, 2 children and a large backpack.  But even the yelling of excited Red Sox fans and the bag hitting my arm at a steady rate I was able to block it all out and focus on the book, because the story pulled me in.

I guess I'm saying a good book is the equivalent of me holding my hands over my ears and going "lalalalala" to the rest of the world.

I suppose this isn't the best judge of a book, but it's certainly something I keep in mind whenever I'm picking out a book from my shelf to re-read.  Today I was lucky enough to be starting the "A Day in the Life" chapter of Kitchen Confidential. This is my favorite chapter and Bourdain's writing is vivid enough that I can picture the crazy restaurant whirlwind when the closest I've come to seeing the inner workings of a restaurant kitchen is reruns of Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares.  Perhaps it's some measure of schadenfreude (and yes I sang the song from Avenue Q to spell that) that I like reading about the insanity of the kitchen to make my commute feel like a leisurely stroll. And just as I finished the chapter the train pulled into my stop.  Perfect timing.

What are your escape books?


  1. Well, I have many, however for now I must say this post pulled me in. Makes me even want to read the kitchen book too! Great going.

  2. I definitely recommend it, especially if you like Bourdain's show No Reservations. He writes like he talks, so there's a similar feel between the 2.


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