Thursday 9 January 2020

Of books and buses - Anne Rooney

In answer to Keren David's post yesterday about where you work — usually in the University Library in Cambridge, though not from necessity as I have plenty of writing spaces at home. The University Library is relatively distraction-free, apart from the Tea Room. Usually I cycle there, but having hurt my knee last summer, and seen no improvement, I decided to give up cycling for a couple of months and see if that helps. So I'm buying weekly bus passes for £15 and have become a bit of a bussybody.

Two outcomes of being a bussybody: I do a lot more walking and a lot more reading! Walking, because buses only stop at bus stops whereas my bicycle goes door to door. Reading because it takes 30 mins each way, and more if the traffic is bad. This is fabulous. It adds around 5 hours a week to my reading time. And I decided right at the start that it wasn't going to be work reading, but anything I wanted to read. I've only been a bussybody for about four weeks and already I've read some new and old novels I wouldn't have got around to otherwise.

With more reading time, I'm less fussy about what I'll read. I've picked up some books lying unread around the house (usually from under the library shelves) that never appealed enough to be prioritised. But more often I buy new books, most often from Foyles in Waterloo Station. I love that little Foyles. It's small but well curated and I usually have at least 20 mins in Waterloo on the way to see my dad. I've found some wonderful things. In fact, the reading-on-buses thing started in September when I was going everyday to the hospital where my mum was dying. As a child, reading in a car or bus made me feel sick, but I found it didn't any longer. Hurrah! A bonus of getting older!
Favourite bus reads so far have been:

John Lancaster's The Wall, a dystopian clifi:

Creepy Gothic Wakenhyrst by the totally talented Michelle Paver, extra suitable as it's set in the Fens, just outside my bus route:

And the latest, which I'm part way through, is The Binding, the first adult novel by  YA author Bridget Collins. And it's absolutely brilliant.

Bus-reading can be a bit frustrating. You have to stop when the bus gets to your destination, no matter how engrossed you are. But to have that extra half hour, morning and afternoon, to read, when it's not possible to spend the time doing anything else, is wonderful. The benefits of a hurt knee... not sure whether I'll go back to cycling every day when it's better as the reading routine of being a bussybody has become so precious.

Any recommendations for bussybody reading?

Anne Rooney
Out now:
Animal Atlas, Lonely Planet

1 comment:

Sue Purkiss said...

I like 'bussybody'! Waterloo Station is nice, isn't it? I went there for the first time the other day. Much nicer than Paddington.