What in the El are You Reading?

Call it a guilty pleasure, call it weird, call it nerdy, but so help me, I love seeing what books people are reading on their commutes to and from work. Despite the periodic breathless articles and studies bemoaning the death of books and even the demise of reading itself, there are still people out there reading and enjoying books. Scattered among the Red Eyes, text messages, Tetris games, and crosswords you’ll find more then a few riders of public transit with their faces jammed eagerly in a book. And as a daily two-train riding book lover myself, it makes perfect sense to me: commuting can be frustrating and deadly dull, but it is also inescapable, dedicated free time everyday in which there is little else to do but kick back, open a book, and enjoy. Where else in your busy daily life do you get that kind of hassle-free time to just sit down and read? And what better way to stave off the anxieties of the coming workday or unwind after a long, bad shift than by escaping into a world of unknown places and ideas for awhile? So it is with all that in mind that I present this new periodic column featuring books I’ve seen being read on various Evanston and Chicago train and bus lines over the past week. And I encourage all you reader riders out there to drop us a comment below and let us know what you’re currently reading or any great or unusual books you’ve witnessed your fellow commuter comrades delving into recently. Happy reading!

This week in commuting:

1984 by George Orwell

The Alienist by Caleb Carr

The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan

Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon by Daniel Dennett

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood

Oceans Apart by Karen Kingsbury

31 Days Before Your CCNA Exam by Allan Johnson

Little, Big by John Crowley

All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque

Vox Spanish and English Student Dictionary by Vox

The Living by Annie Dillard

The Windows of Brimnes: An American in Iceland by Bill Holm

Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris

Two Billion Cars: Driving Toward Sustainability by Daniel Sperling & Deborah Gordon

The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks

Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann

National Geographic Traveler: Egypt by Andrew Humphreys

Of Other Worlds: Essays and Stories by C.S. Lewis

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