Re-discovering fiction or the joys of commuting by train

I have recently re-discovered the delights of reading fiction following a change in my working pattern…..

I have always loved reading but unsurprisingly, like many of my friends and colleagues, I find little time for getting lost in a book outside the summer holidays. For the last decade or more, I’ve always had a novel on the go and have managed to read a few pages a couple of times a week. Finishing a medium-sized novel has generally taken me about six weeks. I do plenty of reading of educational non-fiction for work and although I find it interesting, it’s not the same as being absorbed by a novel. My main time for reading fiction has tended to be during the summer holidays when on a week’s break, I could easily get through three novels.

However, this has all changed for the better recently. Since January, I have been working in London for two days a week and this involves a 40-minute train journey. Initially, the concept of competitive commuting came as a bit of a shock after years of travelling by car in the opposite direction to everyone else. But I’ve found a wonderful upside, which is that I suddenly have time and space to read again and so, I’ve been using it to read contemporary fiction. As the length of time on the train is enough for me to really get into my reading, it’s making me want to read more and so I am also trying to fit extra reading time into my day (at lunch-times and in the evenings). As a result, I’m reading a book every week and am speedily getting through the Waterstones ‘buy one get one half price’ offers and at the same time, am discovering new authors.

Books I’ve enjoyed recently include Flight Behaviour (Barbara Kingsolver). This is the first one of Kingsolver’s novels I’ve read and I’ll certainly be back for more. She captures so well the impact of climate change on ordinary people’s lives. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry (Rachel Joyce) was a delight and I also liked Waiting for Sunrise (William Boyd), The Fever Tree (Jennifer McVeigh) and Skios (Michael Frayn). I am currently reading A Lady Cyclist’s Guide to Kashgar (Suzanne Joinson).

My reading time on the train feels like a luxury (although I’m not suggesting that life is always that great on SW trains) and it’s made a nice difference to my working week.



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