Real Simple
June 12, 2017 1:00 pm
Getty Images/David Madison

New Yorkers won’t be without a good book on their morning commutes anymore, thanks to a new partnership with the New York Public Library, Queens Library, and Brooklyn Public Library.

Riders who download the SimplyE reading app on the Apple store or Google play and login to the subway’s Transit Wireless wi-fi, can then read thousands of books, excerpts and chapters, and short stories in the “Subway Library.”

To celebrate the launch, the subway system now has a library-themed car—inspired by the NYPL’s Rose Main Reading Room, down to the ornamental ceiling murals and iconic chairs—running on the E and F lines, starting today.

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Among the excerpts are New York-centric books including Patti Smith’s Just Kids, Cynthia d’Aprix Sweeney’s The Nest, and Misty Copeland’s Life in Motion, plus new releases including Jacqueline Woodson’s Another Brooklyn and Zadie Smith’s Swing Time. Readers can even pick excerpts from books for kids (Harriet the Spy, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler) and young adults (Symptoms of Being Human, Museum of Heartbreak), as well as short essays from Kelly Oxford and Roxane Gay.

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While most of the options are excerpts (helpfully broken down into lengths that take either a half hour or an hour to finish), several classics are available in full. There’s a robust collection of Jane Austen’s books (Emma, Persuasion, and Sense and Sensibility), as well as E. M. Forster’s A Room with a View, Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, among others.

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Now we can only hope this catches on in other cities.