Reading. On Metro North.


It’s Tuesday.
I’m on the 6:22 am train to Grand Central.
One of few trips a month taking me back to Manhattan.
I drift away for a moment.
It has been six years.
Six years since I’ve changed Company. Changed routine. Changed my life.

Two hours a day of uninterrupted reading time.
To, near zero.
Churning through three books a week. 150 books a year.
To, near zero.
Lost. In a character. In a story. In another place. In another time.

One summer it was Haruki Murakami. Kafka on the Shore. Norwegian Wood. Wind-up Bird Chronicle.
Another it was Richard Russo. Straight Man. Nobody’s Fool. Empire Falls.
A third it was Jose Saramago. Blindness. All the Names. The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis.
A serial reader of the same author. Get my three dishes of ice cream in one sitting. And move to the next.

Hate your commute?” they would ask.
No. Actually not.
A Reader’s Fantasy Island. An introvert’s cocoon.
Finding peace. And rapturous solitude.

I return to my book.
With the soft background noise of the clickity clack of Metro North, Stephen Dunn sighs: “Isn’t there a curious elegance in how one moment passes into another?

The doors open at Grand Central.
I join the throng that empties out in a bull rush to the exits.
Game back on.

I miss reading.

“We who pride ourselves in reading much and widely forget that the printed page serves us in a similar fashion as the drug serves an addict. After a short time away from it we grow agitated and begin to pine, by which time anything will do: a bus timetable, a telephone directory, an operating manual for a washing machine. “They say that life’s the thing,” said Logan Pearsall Smith, a littérateur of distinction but now almost forgotten, “but I prefer reading.” (Anthony Daniels)

Image Credit: Book Lover.  Anthony Daniels Quote: Thank you Rob @ The Hammock Papers


  1. Completely identify with this – reading is the only thing that keeps me sane during my commute. Coincidentally, I am reading Blindness by José Saramago at the moment and really enjoying it!


    • Hi. Thank you. One can be challenged by Saramago’s writing style but once you find the groove he is incredible. Glad to hear you are enjoying Blindness. Bit dark but what amazing visualization. He puts you right at the scene.


  2. Reading as an addiction – yes, I see that. And without the permission of sitting on a train or bus or subway, it is hard to steal hours of time to satisfy that need. Gotta make the time then.


  3. I read in commute all the time. Its my thing and just relaxes me before work and in between. Every moment I get to read feels awesome.


  4. I miss reading too. There was a time (long ago, actually) when I took the train from Sacramento to Berkeley for a job on the campus once a week…and then took the train back home again at night. It was all about reading on those train trips. Now, life has become much more complicated, too little time, not enough reading. Thank goodness for your blog, which I READ, with gratitude. Have a wonderful day, David. 🙂


  5. I felt your loss, David. May you find a way for reading to come back into your life!


  6. I’d be doing that too if I had to ride a commuter train every day. I often think I’d like to read a book when I have a long drive in my car ahead of me, but I guess that wouldn’t work – being the driver.


  7. LaDona's Music Studio says:

    It’s an obsession. A disease. Stuck anywhere, having to wait for even half a minute with no printed reading material, is torture. YES. A bus timetable will do at that point!

    (And I really, like REALLY, hate to admit this – but the tiny screen can ALMOST be a substitute … )


  8. I used to have a 45 minute bus ride to and from work every day and I got so much reading done. Now, I’m lucky if I can read a few pages a day. I miss it.


  9. Hello, my name is Lori, and I’m a reader….. I feel ya, David, I hate to go too long without my fix of the printed word. And delighted to see that you’re reading Stephen Dunn. LOVE.HIM.


  10. Dude! Try audible…


  11. Ah David, I hear you. I love to read and there is just not enough hours. I make sure I get in my ten pages a day though 🙂


  12. lkanigan says:

    This post of yours reminded me of a recent Jim Rohn quote…”Miss a meal if you have to, but don’t miss a book.”


  13. Relate and loved this piece of writing. You write of silence too. It can be a wonderful thing.
    All the best and enjoy that next book.
    – Michael


  14. Alex Jones says:

    Is it the same in the experience of the blogger, to miss the reading and writing in this wonderful medium of communication?


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