Tag Archives: reading

Five books to read on the TTC

  1. The Tibetan Book of the Dead

Imagine this. You’re on the subway and you have an exam in fifteen minutes. You’re stressed, and you barely got any sleep. In a panic, you rummage through your backpack for notes to do some last-minute studying, only to discover you left your notebook at home. You cry out to God in anguish just as the robot lady announces, “doors will open on the left.”

But then, what’s this? The Tibetan Book of Dead? It immediately calms you by reaffirming that this life is an allusion and we will all be reincarnated in the end anyways, and you go to your exam in peace.

  1. Catch 22, by Joseph Heller

 You’re waiting on the subway platform, preparing for the commute to UofTears. The train pulls up, and who do you see taking up a blue seat with their backpack? That cutie from your tutorial last semester. You whip out a copy of Catch 22, and they are immediately entranced.

It’s said to be one of the most commonly unfinished book in the world, and they’ll be so impressed that you’re reading it they might even give you an awkward smile. Prepare to catch that honey with Catch-22.

  1. Goosebumps, by R.L. Stine

For the shorter commutes — say, a ten-minute bus ride — you can’t go wrong with the Goosebumps series. My personal favourite is the one where the kid turns out to have been dead all along, but you can pick any one. They’re short, sweet and spooky, and simple enough that you won’t miss your stop because you’re too engaged in reading it.

  1. The October Country, by Ray Bradbury

But wait, you wonder, what if I have to take several different modes of transport? Like a bus followed by a streetcar followed by the subway followed by a bus again? Never fear, because The October Country is here!

A collection of short stories is the best for this type of journey, because you can read one story per trip, and no short story collection is better than Ray Bradbury’s October Country. From “The Scythe,” the story of a farmer who learns each blade of wheat in his field is a human life, to “The Skeleton,” about a man horrified to discover that there is a skeleton inside him (which, I mean, aren’t we all), these stories are wonderful and I highly recommend them.

  1. For Colored Girls who have Considered Suicide / When the Rainbow is Enuf, by Ntozake Shange

I haven’t finished reading this yet, but it’s incredible and I think everyone should read it anytime, anywhere — and that includes the TTC. It’s a series of interconnected poems that can be performed as well as read, and it is the choreopoem that pioneered the form. Detailing the struggles that coincide with themes such as love, abandonment, and trauma, it is a triumph of the written word.

Time to read something that’s not on your syllabus

It’s summer and there’s finally time to read something that’s not on your syllabus. But what to pick when you both want to unwind and catch up on the titles you’ve missed in the last year?

Whether you’re looking for quick reads or something longer, whether you’re longing for advice or mythology or horror, The Squirrel has you covered!

1. A Thousand Beginnings and Endingsedited by Ellen Oh and Elsie Chapman

In this new take on East and South Asian mythology and folklore, 16 bestselling writers have their short stories span across fantasy, sci-fi, romance and more. Along with each contemporary version of a myth, you also get a summary of the original.

Available at Toronto Public Library.

2. Creative Questby Questlove

Drummer, DJ and creative all-rounder Questlove’s inspirational Creative Quest was called the most anticipated book by many last year. Drawing from both his own experience and what he’s learned from others around him, and blending this with philosophies of creativity, Questlove guides us how to best lead a creative life.

Available at John M. Kelly Library, Hart House Library and Toronto Public Library.

3. The Princess Saves Herself in This Oneby Amanda Lovelace

This is poetry that makes sense even if you’re not used to reading poems. In all its simplicity, the book shows in beautiful and painful words the process of resilience.

Available at UTS Library Information Centre, Hart House Library and Toronto Public Library.

4. The Marrow Thieves, by Cherie Dimaline

Looking for a novel-length dystopia to sink into on your day off? In Cherie Dimaline’s near future, Indigenous people are hunted for their bone marrow because it will help humanity recover the ability to dream. Frenchie and a group of others travel north and try to stay hidden — but the enemy may be closer than they realize.

Available at U of T Libraries, Hart House Library and Toronto Public Library.

5. When I Arrived at the Castle, by Emily Carroll

Emily Carroll’s gothic horror graphic novel starts off with an eerie Edgar Allan Poe-feeling, but then goes somewhere completely different. The fairy-tale-like story weaves several threads together to raise questions about what evil is and who is whom. This is a quick read that stays with you.

Available at New College Library and Toronto Public Library.