I ride public transportation regularly.
During my time in Seattle and Chicago and back here in Southern California, I spent countless hours reading in buses, trains and planes and while waiting for them. I sometimes reconstruct my life by what I was reading when.
For example, thoughts of the New Yorker magazine take me to my 5 years in 1990s Chicago and my morning commute from the North Side to the Loop. I missed my stop several times, because I was engrossed in one article or another. I also re-read Jane Eyre while traveling on the ‘L’ and realized how differently it read as an adult than when I read it as a teenager.
While in Chicago I also became acquainted with author Nora Zeale Hurston,
In Seattle, I mark my year-long stay not only by the books I read, but in the glorious bookstores of the town. I found The Varieties of Religious Experience at The Quest Bookshop. At Elliot Bay Books I met my Great Aunt Dorothy regularly where we first ate their delicious soup before exploring the stacks. I strolled through Bailey Coy on Broadway often and gained inspiration from Red and Black Books. And the countless second hand bookstores gave me treasures that helped me through that dark and difficult winter.
And in Iceland, or seriously, ‘Bookland,’ since everyone reads and writes, though I didn’t know the language, the bookstores felt familiar with their floor to ceiling shelves and table-laden books, coffee, pastries and conversation.
More recently my commutes to work have been marked by L.M. Montgomery, or I should say Anne Shirley as the bus powers down Pacific Coast Highway. Lost in the magic of Anne’s Lover’s Lane, the Haunted Woods and the fixes Anne and her friends fall into, I am absorbed into the early 19th century Canadian past.
I have always loved to read. And it is obvious to me how much reading has affected my life and helped construct me as a person. Who would I have turned out to be without this love?
Thankfully, I will never know, because I will always have something to read!