The Books I've Read On My Commute
I’ve made my hour to hour and a half-long commute for about a month now, and while it isn’t ideal, it’s really not all that bad! The worst part of the commute is the fifteen to twenty-minute town bus from the station to my university, and even that’s not so bad. Because I commute between opposite ends of a subway line, I almost always have a seat. This gives me a chance to get through my reading list, and since the start of the fall semester, I’ve been reading an average of one book per week. Although my workload is steadily increasing with clinics, committee assignments, and other projects, I’m challenging myself to find enough books that hold my interest so that I can continue at this rate throughout the year.
Here are some of the books I’ve read on my commute.
the life-changing magic of tidying up
You know you’re approaching 30 when you start reading self-help books, but I mostly picked it up for its rave reviews. It’s a step-by-step guide to The KonMari Method of tidying your home so that it houses only what “sparks joy.” I identified with Marie Kondo and her anecdotes—on pottering about the house as a child, tidying my family members’ spaces, and treating my belongings preciously, as if they were living things—so much so that I wasn’t sure if I should feel assured that there are others of us out there or grapple with how truly strange I am, and how stranger it sounds when someone else describes it to you. For me, it was less self-help (a lot of ‘well, duh’) and more self-realization, but it was an entertaining read, and I’m trying to figure out how to recommend it to others in my life without it seeming insulting.
between the world and me
In August, The New York Times asked a group of writers: If you could add one book to the high school curriculum, what would it be? Between the World and Me is essential reading, and I did add it to my high school AP curriculum. I knew this from jump, as the reason I read it was because it had so deeply affected Andrew when he read it. In a letter to his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates eloquently and profoundly articulates what it means to be Black in America. From Newsday’s editorial review: “Between the World and Me charts a path through the American gauntlet for both the black child who will inevitably walk the world alone and for the black parent who must let that child walk away.”
I spent the entire time reading this deliberating whether or not I thought it was a good read, which is funny because Sheila Heti, the author/narrator, spends the entire time writing it deliberating whether or not she should have a child. Andrew said based on what I would share with him about it each night, it seemed I was enjoying it. I wasn’t sure.
I’ll read any thoughtpiece on not becoming a mother, but this was all over the place and, most times, contrived and trying too hard. It’s a bit vignetted and stream of consciousness, and that’s before considering it was written over the course of almost half a decade. Somehow, it held my interest, and I even highlighted notes along the way. The ending was perfect. I cried and called my mother.
This week’s book is When Breath Becomes Air, which, admittedly, I was turned onto because of its stunning title. Then of course there’s the love story, and then the small-world moment where Lucy Kalanithi is the twin sister of one of my favorite bloggers. Needless to say, The Bright Hour is next on my list!
Any others I should add?
PS: We took these photos in the Starfield Library at Starfield COEX Mall, a must-see if you’re in Seoul and a bookworm!
This post contains affiliate links. Clicking on or purchasing via these links may result in commissions for this site.