By Carolyn Quimby | @CarolynQuimby, @WornBookSmell

Recently, my life has undergone some pretty big changes. A little over a month ago, I started a new job as a Production Assistant at a publishing house in New York City. (Aside: I absolutely love it — I love being around books all day and being a part of the publishing process in my own small way). Along with the wonderful new job and responsibilities and coworkers (and not-so-wonderful increased travel expenses), my commuting time has more than tripled.

Photo by Flickr User Roland Varriale licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic.
Photo by Flickr User Roland Varriale licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic.

Whereas, my old job was only about a 20-to-30 minute drive from my house, my time spent commuting by train to my new job is about 3 hours round trip. Which is a huge difference. And while I miss being able to get home in under a half-hour (when the traffic gods were in my favor), the new commute has given me so much more time to read, which is something I will never complain about.

In just over a month, I’ve gotten some serious reading done including:

400+ pages of A Feast for Crows (and, wow, I will definitely be doing a pseduo-review of that book. Spoiler alert: I LOVED it);
The Interestings (click to read my review);
Sarah’s Key (It was just okay – pretty disappointing, honestly);
A Dance with Dragons (George R. R. Martin slowly killed me with his plot twists, I swear. A pseduo-review of this is coming as well); and
180 pages of Lolita (which I started during Banned Books Week).


I’ve pretty much gotten my reading schedule down to a science over the last month:

1. Mornings– I usually read for about 20 minutes before falling asleep (unless I’m very awake and/or have had more than one cup of coffee, which is very very rare).

2. Subway– I started downloading the audiobook of whatever book I’m reading in print or on my kindle. My subway ride if pretty short and I often don’t feel like bringing out my 400-1000+ page book(s) when I can just pop in my headphones.

3. Lunch– I’ve been reading during a lot of my lunch hours, but I am trying to be more social with coworkers. Honestly, it all has to do with where I left the book. If the chapter is particularly good or interesting, there’s not a chance I can be pulled away.

4. Evenings– The ride home is a toss-up for me. Sometimes I’m too tired to read, so I sleep the whole way. Other times I want to drown out the sounds of the people around me, so I listen to my iPod. And other days I read the entire time. Can you guess which one is my favorite? (It’s reading, but sleeping is a real close second).

So that’s just a little update into my life and what my reading habits have been like lately. Not only am I thankful for my job, but I’m happy I have a chance to take advantage of a long commute by doing something I love.

The hardest part isn’t traveling almost 3 hours every day or waking up at 5:30 a.m. or dealing with NYC rush hour traffic. No, the hardest part is when I realize I’m almost done with a book and haven’t brought another one. Luckily for me, that’s only happened once. Here’s hoping it never happens again!

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Do you have a long commute? How do you fit in reading? Do you listen to audiobooks? Do you bring more than one book at a time?


4 thoughts on “Behind the Shelves: Commuting and Reading

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