When the Subway is a Library

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If you’re an options-loving commuter, you’re probably used to seeing fellow commuters passing the time in a variety of ways – from napping to listening to music or reading a book. But have you ever wondered just what your fellow commuters were engrossed in?

In New York City, one woman was fascinated by the other passengers on the subway: how they interacted, what they were thinking, and most of all what they were reading. “Within one car, you can find it all: self-published novelties, the next bestseller, and beloved classics,” says Uli Beutter Cohen.

So she started to ask people about their book choices, and was happily surprised. Most commuters were excited to talk about their literary adventures, and even willing to let her snap a picture. As a recent transplant to NYC, Cohen says that combating the feeling of isolation in the city was part of what inspired her to start asking.

“I think people here are curious about one another,” she says. “We’re all sitting in this capsule, and there are lots of interesting people on the subway, and I needed a conversation piece to break the ice.”

Whether or not striking up a conversation is your commute style, you can find some new travel companions with reading recommendations on Cohen’s Instagram account: Subway Book Review.

Here in Central Texas, Commute Solutions is asking commuters: Who are you riding with? It may sacrifice clarity for cutesy, but they are asking the same thing – tell us about your favorite transit-time reading material!

P.S. If you’re more interested in the people reading than you are in the books – this other NYC-subway-inspired Instagram account might be a better fit: Hot Dudes Reading.


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