5 Problems With Reading on the Commute

17:29 Cilla P 18 Comments



I've been taking the public transport a lot more this year. Apart from rush hour, the occasional dodgy people, and occasional delays, I don't mind it much. There is one definite good thing about it: the extra two hours I get to read during the day!

Still, reading on a moving vehicle isn't always easy. Here are some potential problems I've run into:

1. You need to concentrate on maintaining balance (when standing)

I don't know about you, but if I don't hold on to the handrail when I stand on a moving train/bus/tram, 8 times out of 10 I will topple over. So I need to use a hand to hold on. I have yet to master the art of holding open a book with just one hand. There is a solution though: audiobooks + earphones!

2. Not enough time!

Sometimes I get to an excellent part of the book, I get really into it, aaand I reach my stop. Few things are as disappointing as having to peel myself off a story and get on with reality. Though this scenario is preferably to...

3. Missing your stop

This nearly happened to me last week. Most of the times I'm keen on avoiding this and would look up from my book every now and again to check where I am. Sometimes, though, a book is just too engrossing!

4. When you come across a sexy scene, and there are people around you

I can't be the only one who feels super awkward when reading sexy scenes in public, right?? I'm always super conscious of people possibly looking over my shoulder.

5. Thick books = shoulder ache

This is less about the actual reading and more about how to get a book there, really. I have seen people read massive hardcovers on the train, but I hate having to fit one into my (already crowded and heavy) backpack. I prefer light paperbacks and ebooks for my commute, which works just fine - except when I'm really keen on reading a big book. (I've been procrastinating on reading The Diviners because I'm not willing to lug it around all day with me.)

Despite all of this, commuting is so much more enjoyable when I get to read! It's a matter of finding the right book, and keeping half of my attention on the road :D


Let's talk!
Do you like to read when you get on public transport? 
What do you love/hate about it?

18 comments:

  1. I wish I could read in a moving vehicle. I get motion sickness, so reading would make me throw up. I don’t think the other passengers would appreciate that.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

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    1. Oh no! I've found that I can't read anything in a car without developing a headache, but I'm fine in a bus or a train.

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  2. #4 - you are definitely not the only one. I read over my lunch break in the break room sometimes, and I am so embarrassed when I get to a sex scene. Of course no one knows what I'm reading, but it's still embarrassing. :)

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    1. Ahaha yayy! *highfives* I'm the same, even if no one knows what I'm reading, I still squirm. :D

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  3. Oh goodness, I read my first real sex scene in a romance novel when I was on the school bus in high school, and I'm pretty sure I was trying to, like, discreetly fold the pages away from the person next to me so he wouldn't see lol. So yeah, it is kind of awkward reading sex scenes in public. It's even worse if it's something inappropriate in a graphic novel because words can be hard to really discern at the wrong angle and whatnot, but pictures just *bam*.

    And yeah, it's distracting from the book having to constantly check that you're not going to miss your stop. As for the shoulder ache, when I was in school, I just always kept my book in my hand instead of my backpack so I always had easy access to it at a moment's notice :-)

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    1. Haha omg, I've done the discreetly folding the pages away from the person next to me too. I can imagine graphic novels would be so much harder to hide!

      Ooh I would do the same, but I actually dislike holding things in my hands when I'm on the move; I always feel like I need to keep them free just in case.

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  4. I can relate to all of these! In general, reading in public is difficult. I much prefer my own home.

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    1. Reading at home is the ideal! :D

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  5. I read on public transport ALL the time! I take the train to school, so I have plenty of time. I actually have more time than I should, because my train is delayed pretty much every day. At least reading makes that a bright side! I can DEFINITELY relate to the getting-to-the-good-part-at-your-stop part. I can't even count the times that I've had to run for the train doors because I just COULDN'T stop reading until the last possible second!

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    1. Eep I'm sorry to hear the train is delayed constantly D: but yay for more reading! Ahaha I can totally understand wanting to read until the last second. I hope you've never actually missed a train though!

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  6. Haha, reading sexy scenes in public is always a bit awkward. Romance covers usually feature such distinctive features (half-naked men & women) that it's impossible to hide them, anyway. And then I blush very easily, so I always worry my face is flaming and EVERYONE knows what I'm reading about.

    And yeah, audiobooks are a good option for commuting on public transportation. I used to listen to a lot of them but now I take my car every day and I haven't quite gotten into listening audiobooks while driving (they somehow seem much more distracting than music).

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    1. I don't think I can hold up a proper romance novel in public without blushing, haha! If I know it's going to be sexy, I don't take it with me; it's when I don't know it's coming that's the problem. I totally get the blushing - I do the same!

      Oh man, I wouldn't -dare- listen to audiobooks while driving. I can't even multitask listening to audiobook and dishwashing xD

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  7. I first got into audiobooks when I rode the bus to & from work, since I get really motion sick. It IS really hard to quit when you get there.

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    1. Audiobooks are really great to read on the go, aren't they? :D

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  8. Sometimes reading in a car (or other vehicle) makes me feel sick, but other than that, I think it's great! I LOVE listening to audiobooks while I drive!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

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    1. Auidobooks are fantastic when reading gives you car-sickness! It can be too noisy in a public transport to listen to one unfortunately.

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  9. HAHA #4 made me laugh out loud! I don't read in public too often so this hasn't been an issue for me, but I can imagine! My drive commute to work is literally 3 minutes so unfortunately I can't take advantage of commute reading. I'm glad you've figured out how to make it work! Great post!

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  10. Ooh, what a great post, Cilla! It was so interesting to see the things you maybe struggle with- balance being a big one (and audiobooks an excellent answer!) and the terror of nearly missing your stop! I would have been on such high alert for the rest of the day, if that had almost happened *laughs* I'm glad you got off on time!- and the benefits of public transport! With my experiences on it, I can only listen to music (and presumably audiobooks, although that I haven't tried), since I get motion sick. I have actually found that listening to audiobooks when I walk my dog is a great way to get through them, though! And I'm quite happy with that- I don't think I'd ever be game to read whilst walking her!

    When I read in public, my concentration gets shot really quickly/easily, and I know this one time I was reading a MG/early YA and it had a cover I really didn't like, and I kept trying to hide it, which made reading the actual book (which I liked a lot!) really difficult. *sighs at myself*

    Good luck on your future public transport reading endeavours!

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Thanks for reading! It makes my day to hear your thoughts and I will respond asap. :)