Wednesday, 16 March 2005

Reading on the LRT: An Expert Guide

Was on the LRT this morning and managed to read fifty pages of The Light Ages by Ian R. MacLeod.

I've finished more than one book on the LRT, but sometimes, reading in a crowded LRT can be pretty challenging.

Therefore, I've come up with an expert guide on how I manage to read when the LRT is crowded:

General rules:
  • DON'T bring a HUGE and heavy book (Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrel comes to mind) on the LRT unless you want people to stare at you.
  • With reference to the above, dropping a heavy book on your foot can also hurt. A lot.
  • When reading in the LRT, the title of the book should always be in plain sight (so you can impress people with your 'intellectual taste').
  • The above does not apply when you're reading Mill & Boons or a Ladybird book.
  • DON'T read ALOUD.

If you have a seat:

  • No problems here. It's a lot easier to read while sitting than when standing in an LRT. Just pretend you're sitting on the toilet with a book.
  • If it is a middle seat with people sitting alongside you on the left and right side, make sure your elbows are tucked into your body and do not nudge your seatmates.
  • Don't put the book on your lap to read. Not only does that force you to slouch and strain your back, it makes you look as if you're reading a porn mag and don't want others to see the pictures.
  • Hold your book firmly (preferably with two hands) in front of you (preferably chest level) so your book does not accidentally hit the person standing in front of you.
  • If the train is crowded, hold your book slightly higher so you won't have to STARE at the crotch of the person standing in front of you.
  • If a cute chick/guy sits opposite you, lift your book slightly higher (the top of book should be level with your 'target's chin), so that you can peep at the girl/guy occasionally while pretending to be intellectual.

If you are standing:

  • Standing while reading in an LRT is a lot trickier, because of the tendency of falling over when the train stops.
  • Try not to fall down. Very embarrassing, that.
  • If you have a wall/tiang to lean on, then it's easier. You can lean on it and don't have to worry about falling.
  • But if you're stuck in the middle of the train with no wall or post to lean on, and only those silly dangly things to hold on to, then you'll have to learn to read with one hand while holding on for dear life with the other.
  • To read with one hand, just hold the bottom of the book spine. Support the book with your fingers at the bottom and thumb on top. Flipping pages with your thumb takes a bit of practice though. Be prepared to drop the book more than once initially. :)

How to pick up a dropped book in a crowded LRT.

  • Try hooking it with one foot and pushing it to the top of the other foot so you can lift your foot and grab the book without actually leaning down. Needs practice though.
  • Alternatively, squat straight down and pick up the book using whatever little space you have, without requiring other passengers to move.
  • If all that fails, just say excuse me to everyone around you and lean over to get the book while trying not to point your bum at the seated passengers.
  • Pick up book as fast as possible so you won't look like you're looking up people's skirts.


  • Eyeris is not responsible for any dropped books or slapped faces suffered by anyone who tries the above techniques
  • If you fall down while trying these techniques, it's not my fault either...
  • The above techniques only apply for BOOKS. YOU try reading a newspaper with one hand.

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