Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Bus Test

When I'm virtuous, I ride the bus to work. It's free (my company provides the pass), good for the environment and when I manage to make the express, takes almost no longer than the drive. Best of all, it's almost two hours a day of reading time!

Lucky for me, reading on the bus doesn't usually cause me any upset. I have to admit though, not every book is a "bus book." If the book is physically too big, or if the writing is too dense, requires careful detail reading (I skim more than I'd like to admit), or worst of all, doesn't have the maximum attention-holding story, it will have a hard time competing against the distractions of a bus environment. Often I'll read for 10 or 15 minutes, zone out for awhile, fidget uncomfortably, glare at the loud cell-phone-talkers, speculate on why people wear so damn much perfume or cologne, check to see if Mt. Rainier is visible, and then when I'm bored again, open up the book again.

Some books though, suck me in so thoroughly that I don't look up from the pages unless my seatmate gives me the hard nudge, or best of all, when I notice the change in the road when we leave the interstate and hit the surface roads.

These are my favorite ones. They pass the bus test.

How about you? Do you read on public transportation? What are your favorite bus books?

16 comments:

Pissenlit said...

Pretty much anything as long as it's in mass market paperback form. Hardcovers are too heavy and trade paperbacks can get floppy, especially if it's a bumpy ride or if there's stop-and-go traffic.

Chris said...

It's possible for me to bus to work, but it takes 1.5 hours to go 7 miles. :( Versus... 5 minutes driving. Plus... I can't read on the bus because I get severely motion sick. Sometimes just riding the bus and not reading makes me ill. *sigh*

Kati said...

Oh heck yeah, I'm on DC's Metro every work day. I actually listen to audiobooks on the Metro because I don't always get a seat, and it's too hard to hold a book, turn pages, and stand up and hold on all at the same time.

Plus, it's a good way to give YA a chance, which is usually what I listen to. So far, I've found some terrific books.

Carolyn Crane said...

I telecommute with my work, so I don't have much bussing, but I think I would love all that reading time! sometimes I take the amtrak to my folks. Seven hours of pure reading.

Jen said...

I noticed when I first moved to Chicago that everyone read a lot more than they did in my hometown Detroit suburbs, where there is almost no public transit.

I am the opposite, though - I take the books I'm having a hard time getting interested in on the train with me, because I know there won't be anything better to pay attention to. My husband missed is stop the other day, reading - wait for it - War and Peace.

I do have weight requirements, though. Hardcovers live next to the bed. My commuting backpack already has laptop and lunch and paper - not one ounce more than a standard paperback can go with me.

Nicola O. said...

Audiobooks, there's a thought. I generally don't like them as much because I can't control the pacing. And it would solve Chris' motion-sickness problem, which I'm so thankful I don't share.

Jen, I used to read those hard-to-get-through ones at lunch. Easier to just break off a little piece, one day at a time, than my usual preference of sitting down with a book and sort of gorging on it.

Mandi said...

I like to read if I take the subway somewhere..but I am also nosy..and become easily distracted people watching :)

Tumperkin said...

My bus takes 10 mins to get in and I always read. Even just for 10 mins.

There's always the added danger of *is someone reading this sex scene over my shoulder*?

Tumperkin said...

My bus takes 10 mins to get in and I always read. Even just for 10 mins.

There's always the added danger of *is someone reading this sex scene over my shoulder*?

RfP said...

I live near two forms of public transit. I often take the more time-consuming of the two, purely for the extra reading time :)

Jessica said...

I drive to work, and listen to books on audio. I would love to be able to take a bus and read. I totally agree with your "test", and think it has applicability across a wide range of scenarios. The medical reception room test, the DMV test, the waiting in the car for my kid test...!

Stacy~ said...

I only live 2 minutes away from work so it's not an option. But a year from now, I might be taking the train. I'd be worried I'd get so caught up in the book I'd miss my stop.

Shannon said...

I used to take two trains to and from work each day. That was a lot of commute time. I used to read all that time. It was a great way to pass the time. When I needed a break I would crochet on the train. It was always funny to watch people watching me create.

These days I have no easy public transpo option. I love Chicago, but we are light years behind New York with our mass trasit system. I have started getting audio books from the library. They have them pre-loaded on an mp3 player. YA novels are great like this!

Phyl said...

I can read pretty much anything on the bus and train. I've done hardcovers there, by holding one end against my stomach, but usually it's paperbacks.

There have been times, when I knew that if I started on a certain book in the evening, I wouldn't put it down till 3:00 a.m., that I've deliberately taken that book as a bus book. That way, I'd have no choice but to interrupt myself and pull out of the book, when I had to get off the bus and do other things.

I remember being so absorbed in a historical series, a few years ago, that I'd walk along the street reading it, stand at the bus stop, read it on the bus, and read it along the street on the way to work.

Danni said...

I wish I could read in the car, but I either get really sleepy or get a headache. :(

Heloise said...

Funny I've got that motion sickness thing when reading in cars but not buses or trains. I loved taking the BART in SF, I got through so many books.

Now I'm driving two young'uns to and from school. But we have found some great audio books in the kids section of our library. Whoever is picking them out is doing a much better job than the adult audio book selector!

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