One of the only things I miss about my nine-to-five job is all the reading I got done riding on the T. There’s something magical about reading while commuting and it’s not surprising that programs, like Boston’s Books on the T, that make free books available on public transportation, are springing up all over the country.
Books on the T sprinkles a little fairy dust on your commute and promotes literacy by having ‘book fairies’ place free books at local subway stations and on trains and buses.
Started this past April, Books on the T is the brainchild of Judy Gelman, co-author of “The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook,” and Brookline librarian Araceli Hintermeister. Free books have a sticker that says ‘Take me, Read me and Return Me.’ You can join in the hunt by following clues left on social media, using the hashtag: #BooksOnTheT.
Judy Gelman was inspired by Books on the Subway, a program founded in 2013 by Rosy Kehdi that places free books on the New York City subway system.
The concept originated with Books on the Underground, a London-based project created in 2012 by Hollie Fraser that sends books traveling on the London underground. Books on the Move, an offshoot of Books on the Underground, currently reaches into 14 countries and their global book sharing initiative is still growing.
Book sharing on trains now also includes e-books. This summer New York City’s public transit system is offering up free e-books to commuters via an MTA subway library.
Here are just a few of the awesome books by local Boston authors coming to a T stop near you:
- Book fairies will be placing Half in Love with Death, my International Thriller Writers thriller award finalist set in the sixties, on the T this coming Wednesday August 9th.
- Be on the lookout for Cottonmouths, Kelly Ford’s gripping debut set in the rural south, riding the rails on August 15th. Cottonmouths will also be on Books on the Subway in NYC on November 27th.
- Idyll Fears, the second book in Stephanie Gayle’s captivating Thomas Lynch mystery series, will be appearing on trains and buses on September 11th.
- Kim Savage’s haunting YA mystery Beautiful Broken Girls will be traveling to a T stop near you in November.
- K.R. Conway’s fiercely original YA urban fantasy, Undertow, will be riding the T on November 14th. This is not the only trip Undertow is taking. To give you an idea how widespread the book sharing movement is, Undertow will be riding the rails at other Books on the Move locations, including Books on the Metro in D.C., Books on the Light Rail in Denver, Books on the MLA in Los Angeles, and thanks to an army of fans and the Book Fairy program, Undertow will also head out to Las Vegas, Chicago, Miami, Dragon Con, Disneyland, Comic Con, Seattle, Salt Lake City, Houston, Cape Cod, and many more. International stops include London, Paris, Dublin, and Amsterdam among others.
There’s a song from way back called “Charlie on the MTA” about a poor soul who has the misfortune to get lost in Boston’s public transit system and never returns. I can only imagine that now with Books on the T and all the many variations out there, Charlie would have a much better time!