The Monkey's tried-and-true method guaranteed to turn you into a subway reader.
Monkey Business by Tony Asaro (Composer/Lyricist)
Not all of my Monkey Business posts will be side-splitting satirical rants. This week, I have some useful advice to pass on.
Like many New Yorkers, I find myself with insufficient time. There aren’t enough hours in the day to go for that run, or visit the Cloisters, or finally join that Italian conversation group. Here, my life is far busier than it was in San Francisco, and it’s hard to find time for personal stuff.
I can’t help you with all of your time management problems, but I can give some pointers on how to maximize your commute time. You too can turn your public transit time into your personal reading time. Become a subway reader!
“The subways are too loud...What if I miss my stop?...It takes me too long to create a focused mental space. By the time I get into it, I’m already at my destination...Books take up too much room in my bag...Maybe I don’t like reading. Is that such a big deal?! I don’t like visual art that much either. What’s wrong with someone admitting they don’t like reading?”
Somehow, my excuses always end in defensive soapbox speeches.
I resigned myself to my iPod and people watching. But all that changed when I got some advice from a good friend. I will pass her bullet points (plus a few of my own) onto you:
- Commit yourself to the idea of becoming a subway reader, like you would a fitness program. It’s like P90X for literary consumption.
- Start with a book you already know you love. Knowing the story ahead of time helps when you’re first learning how to drown out the city. For me, it’s A Confederacy of Dunces or Gore Vidal’s Myra Breckinridge.
- Find the book in as slim and small a copy as you can. Smaller books are more portable.
- When your mind wanders, don’t be discouraged! Just catch yourself, and re-read the page. You may have to do this three or four times. Be patient with yourself.
- If you’re having trouble getting into a book, DISCARD IT and move on to a different book. If a book doesn’t speak to you, don’t keep trying, even if it’s The Kite Runner, or some book EVERYONE loves. Continuing to hammer away at a book that doesn’t interest you will make you feel like a failure, and you’ll give up.
Follow these simple steps, and over time, you’ll become a subway reader too! I can now read through pretty much anything—only the mariachis disrupt my reading these days. Nothing can drown them out. But Mexican folk music aside, it’s time to grab a book and start reading!