Reading the Rails

September 6th, 2009 by

A couple days ago, The New York Times published an article about what people read on the subway. One of their reporters rode around on different train lines and asked random people about their choice in books — including one group of kids! Here’s the scoop:

Photo by Ruth Fremson/The New York Times

Photo by Ruth Fremson/The New York Times

The reporter was waiting for the 2 train at the Times Square stop, and she found herself surrounded by day-campers (ages 5-8) from Tremont United Methodist Church in the Bronx. They were on their way home from a full day of activities, and dead tired, so of course they were all plotting ways to score seats when the subway arrived.

So far, you may be asking yourself, “What’s the big deal?” After a long day, any of us would be tempted to shove aside pregnant women and elderly folks on the way to claim a seat! (Wait, did I just say that out loud? Ha ha, just kidding. I would never do that… again.) But here’s the unusual part of the story — the rule at Tremont Church is that if campers get a seat on the subway, they must read a book.

Now, I obviously love to read, but I normally don’t enjoy being forced to do it. Except the thing is, a long subway ride really is the perfect time to lose yourself in a good book. You can get absorbed in the story and forget that you’re surrounded by noisy, smelly strangers who trample on your toes and stand with their armpits in your face. (Gotta love New York!) And I guess the Tremont campers agree, because the New York Times writer reported that even the kids without seats choose to read!

Here are some of the books that made appearances during their ride:


So, what about you? What book would YOU choose to transport yourself from the subway to another world?

For my part, I recently almost missed my stop while reading Patrick Carman’s Atherton series and definitely did miss my stop while reading The Agony of Alice by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor. And I once accidentally went not just one but two stops past my own while reading Monster by Walter Dean Myers. Gee, I guess I’m an easy target for pick-pockets! I really hope none of them are reading this…

 — Karen

PS – If you want to read the full article in The New York Times, you can find it here. But, no offense to The Times, I’d suggest reading a kids’ book instead. That’s what I’m gonna do!

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