Following on from my Harry Potter blog entry, it has started me thinking about what makes a good commuter book and a bad commuter book.
I think that travelling on the train to work daily and relying on reading a good quality book to get me through the journey has actually modified my reading habits in a couple of ways.
1.it has transformed me into more of a prolific reader. I now read about 2 or 3 books a month rather than 1 book every 2 or 3 months.
2. it has made me impatient with books that don’t grab my attention easily in a train journey. With things going on around me such as tannoy announcements, people sitting down next to me, listening reluctantly to people’s conversations, ticket conductors etc, it makes it harder to concentrate on the literary prowess of the book in hand
Point 1 is undoubtedly a positive thing that has come from my train commute.
Point 2 on the other hand, is not. I now necessitate a book that will grip me and is relatively undemanding to read.
So, no classics, no booker prize novels, no orange prize for fiction novels. I now need to veer more towards the Richard and Judy Book Club. Sometimes there is a cross-over between the two. But more often than not, there isn’t.
I don’t mind this. In fact, I rather enjoy the novels recommended to me by this celebrity-married couple. But it makes me alert to how the train has made me intolerant to a book that requires a morsel of thought. A bit of concentration.
I am currently reading Harry Potter (see below). I have recently read the following:
The Dice Man: Luke Rhinehart (not one for the train, a little sluggish in parts)
Perfect Match: Jodi Picoult (average. effortless for the train though)
Saturday: Ian McEwan (easy to read and somewhat engaging. Perhaps it is because this is a short book)
Jules et Jim: Henri Pierre Roche (a bit of a haphazard choice actually. Not one for the train. Perhaps more for French film buffs!)
A Sparrow Falls: Wilbur Smith (recommended by the BF. Perfect for the train. Easy to read, good hearty family saga type thing.)
The Glass Palace: Amitav Ghosh (another good read, although copious Indian/Malasian names make it hard to follow in parts)
Next on my list once I have finished Harry Potter is to be Daphne Du Marier’s ‘Rebecca’. Something tells me this will not be a particularly good ‘train read’, but I really want to read it all the same!
If anyone has any good suggestions for good commuting books, I would love to hear them.