Reading and the Light Rail

Phoenix has entered the New Year by stepping up its public transportation game. January 1st, metro area Phoenicians got a light rail that takes us through some of the East Valley (including Arizona State University) and a good chunk of Phoenix. Now I don't have to commute an hour each way to work or pay the ridiculous parking fees ($10 a day! or $800 a year!) at my job. But the main reason I wanted to ride the light rail is because it gives me an hour of uninterrupted time to read.

It's hard to read with kids running through the house. It's hard for me to read before bed because I tend to fall asleep. Like immediately.

So reading at dawn on the train sounded good. Other folks take advantage of this, too, and last week I actually looked at the books that riders were reading. Three or four people were reading James Patterson. One rider was reading Stephen King. Another person had a book titled The Toyota Way that looked interesting for wonkish, corporate types.

As much as I love to see people engaged with a book, I have to admit that I was disappointed with such obvious mainstream choices. The NY Times recently reported that reading of fiction by adults has risen which is good news. And Barack Obama's choice of Elizabeth Alexander as the inaugural poet is an inspired choice that will hopefully turn people onto her amazing body of work. What are you reading that you'd like to recommend? What are folks reading on the trains and buses in your city?


  1. Yow, baby! Amen to the mainstream reading, my darling. I admit, I didn't know Elizabeth Alexander before the inauguration (is that Tuesday night, people?), but I loved what she said about writing for the President on NPR. It's no easy task, in the same way creating something out of nothing is no easy task. But here's to YA lit: that's what I've been reading lately, and it touches me so differently (but just as much as) when I was fifteen. What is it about the books you read when you're young that seem to affect you in a way nothing else does? I can look back on a glistening number of years where I felt everything I read was nothing short of magicical.

  2. I posted a comment earlier but somehow didn't post, so I'll say it all again, It's good to see your smiling face and I hope 'the light rail' begins to change Phoenix. If I was riding that line, right now I would be reading 'To Fat to Fish' by Artie Lange, comedian and actor, sidekick to Howard Stern. I don't know if I told you I'm in Los Angeles, doing a new play. Keep writing, I know where stacks and stacks of those unpublished manuscripts are...

  3. finally! the world has been waiting for you to weigh in for a long time.