Caught Reading: Metra Rock Island, January 2018

As I make my daily commute on Metra's Rock Island, a mighty fine line, I've noticed just about everyone is hunkered down in their puffiest puffer coats with something to read. 

A good book alleviates the misery of getting downtown in Chicago's frigid winter, but I had to ask quite a few people what they were reading since so many folks are using devices. For the most part, my fellow travelers were very receptive to my questions. What I found Chicagoans reading was a mixed bag, but these titles came highly recommended. 

Fiction

I spotted you reading Tom Hanks' debut collection of short stories, Uncommon Type. It's a collection of 17 stories bound together by the recurring image of typewriters—which might have to be explained to younger readers. 

In an effort to break away from the grim reality of January in Chicago, you were reading Exposed, the latest thriller from Edgar Award winner Lisa Scottoline. This fast-paced read with plenty of plot twists examines how loyalty can sometimes be lethal.

A lover of A Man Called Ove was reading Fredrik Backman's latest offering, Beartown. It's about hockey, community, family, loyalty and the price people pay to fulfill their dreams. It was one of my favorite books of 2017. 

And we spied you reading American Gods by our spring 2011 One Book, One Chicago author, Neil Gaiman. This novel tells the story of a widower ex-con who joins the battle between America's old and new gods.

Nonfiction

Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics relates the journey of Good Morning America host Dan Harris as he begins his quest to battle anxiety after an on-air panic attack. It's a good read for commuters who need to adopt mediation techniques to deal with their fellow passengers. 

I spied you reading Being Mortal, about the daily struggle some people face caring for those at the end of their lives. The author, Atul Gawande, a practicing surgeon, addresses his profession's ultimate limitation, arguing that quality of life is the desired goal for patients and families.

Finally, I caught a history lover reading Stephen Ambrose's Undaunted Courage, the definitive book on the Lewis and Clark expedition of the Louisiana Purchase. 

What are you reading to get through the winter, or at least through your commute? 

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