Shelf Life: Reading & Riding

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Girls in Trucks by Katie Crouch. Image by UNYPL.

The daily commute can indeed be dull, so it’s no wonder why many of us pop in earbuds, immerse ourselves in digital doodads, and muddle through it every day. But, there’s nothing quite like escaping into a real, live book. By reading, your brain can travel to a new and unfamiliar place while your body travels that oh-so-familiar route from point A to point B.

The Underground New York Public Library is an ever-growing collection of images, all depicting commuters reading while riding the New York City subways. Street photographer/storyteller Ourit Ben-Haim is the keeper of this collection, and she’s been capturing this vast, eclectic city’s equally eclectic literary tastes since 2008.  Her photos tell stories about people reading stories. Each post includes a direct link to the product page of the title shown, so you’re encouraged to learn more about the book and purchase it, too.


Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins. Image by UNYPL.


Hebrew Bible. Image by UNYPL.


The Iliad by Homer. Image byUNYPL.


The Trial by Franz Kafka. Image by UNYPL.


Responsive Web Design by Ethan Marcotte. Image by UNYPL.

The UNYPL candidly affirms that reading books isn’t all that novel in these techie times —  it’s still pretty normal! How do you pass the time traveling to and from work or school? Read any good books lately?

About Cindy

Pun intended. Cindy loves dreaming up witty quips and groan-worthy wordplay. In fact, you could say this girl just wants to have puns. As an avid fan of the written word and a librarian at heart, she also loves used bookstores, especially ones that harbor cats. Vintage clothing, cocktails, and ephemera are a few of her favorite things.

7 Responses to Shelf Life: Reading & Riding

  1. Em 07/31/2012 at 1:22 pm #

    I would read on the bus except I’m too afraid of getting so immersed in the book that I miss my stop!

  2. Patricia Ortiz 07/31/2012 at 9:01 pm #

    Unfortunately I get dizzy whenever I read in a car! D:

  3. Eliza 08/01/2012 at 12:34 pm #

    Hoping to live in NYC soon…..crossing my fingers! ;)

  4. Jenbug 08/01/2012 at 1:25 pm #

    I can only imagine how many books I could read (and finally finish!) if we had a good public transit system here. Just one more thing to admire about good ol’ NYC.

  5. Sugar 08/01/2012 at 6:06 pm #

    Matched – by Ally Condie. It was surprisingly hard to put down. I started reading it at 7:00 last night, and finished at 2:00 this morning!

  6. Danny 08/01/2012 at 7:04 pm #

    I was in NYC last week and I actually commented to a friend that it seemed like New Yorkers read more than other people. Everyone on the subway was reading and people filled the parks at the lunch hour—each sneaking away for a few minutes into their stories. It was actually really great to see.

  7. Waching 09/10/2012 at 11:27 pm #

    It is quite the norm in Japan to read while commuting on trains and subways. What isn’t is making converstion to a total stranger.

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