Today I took a long way home on public transit just so I could have a good reading session with The Shadow Rising. It was really enjoyable despite the train making several annoying stops in the bowels beneath Queens. If there’s not too many people bumping around and making noise, if there’s a descent place to sit, if I can keep myself from checking my phone and let myself decompress from the day…. well then the train is the perfect place to read.
It’s got just enough noise to not be annoyingly silent. The movement of the train gives me that subtle reminder that I’m going somewhere too while I read the more daring adventures and tribulations of the characters I’m currently investing in. It’s also lacking in consistent data coverage. It’s got that lovely advantage of being separate from many of the distractions that I’m plagued with when I’m at home. At home I have my gaming consoles and YouTube and WiFi for endless scrolling on social media.
Reading a novel is an incredibly rewarding thing for my brain. I invest time and emotion and intellect and it pays me back in dividends of cathartic and intellectual pleasure. The Facebook and twitter scroll as I peruse for interesting articles or pithy takes on current events mimics that loop but in a much smaller way. The scroll offers the illusion of pleasure in 5 minutes what a novel takes 50 minutes to do. The trouble is that I can scroll for 50 minutes and never once find something constructive or meaningful but my brain is tricked into thinking that the real treasure is coming on the next refresh.
That’s why it’s so important that I take advantage of those times when the subway becomes the perfect place to read. It reminds me how rewarding focused reading sessions can be… and if I miss my stop it reminds me how incredibly immersive a great book can be- taking me to far away places faster than a locomotive.
Do you have that ‘perfect reading place’? Feel free to share where you find in this world to get lost in another.