What Should I Read Next?

 Five book suggestions to help you with your daily commute

If there is one thing I love to do, it’s read books, and if there is a second thing I love, it’s to recommend my favourite ones to other people. Getting to share my love of reading with other people is fantastic. I like to think I am a well-read person because I read a variety of genres. With the school year starting up, and with more classes in person, students will be commuting more — so, I figured that I would choose a variety of books to recommend to help make the commute better.

The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz 

The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom is a book that discusses four rules we should follow in order to help better ourselves and our lives. Each rule is followed by a chapter that covers why that agreement is important, and provides information on how the rule can work in our lives, and how we can incorporate them all. The four agreements are: 1) Be impeccable with your word, 2) Don’t take anything personally, 3) Don’t make assumptions, and 4) Do your best.

With the start of back to school season, all the changes happening and the pandemic still going on, this book is amazing because it helps us to be less hard on ourselves. This is a book that focuses on making agreements with yourself. Sure, the self-help genre might be a little overrated sometimes, but Ruiz’s book is different. The Four Agreements allows you to be less hard on yourself and doesn’t sell you some fantasy about how to get rich quickly, or preach platitudes like everything happens for a reason. It is really about looking deeply into yourself and realizing that we aren’t perfect, and shouldn’t need to be perfect.

Home Body by Rupi Kaur 

Home Body is Rupi Kaur’s third poetry book, and like the other two, she captures many events and traumas that have occurred throughout her life. She writes her poems with no capital letters, and there are also her own drawings that accompany her poems.

When travelling, sometimes poetry books make the best companions. Poems get you to think, and with all the movement, sometimes reading something shorter is a little better. Rupi Kaur is an amazing poet with such interesting material; she talks a lot about her experience as a woman of colour and various traumas, and getting to step into her world even for just a short while is so moving. Even her shortest of poems will leave a lasting impact on the reader. I love this poetry collection more than words can express.

The Roommate by Rosie Danan 

The Roommate by Rosie Danan follows Josh and Clara who end up being roommates. Clara comes from a pretty high profile family, and Josh is a pretty well known porn star. At first, they seem like polar opposites, but with time, they realize they might actually be able to get along.

The experience of living with roommates is not all that new to many students, so I thought it would be fun to include a book that explores that as the main premise. This book is fun and presents sex in an interesting way, as the two main characters try to make porn more accessible to women, by making it for women. In my reading, I felt that the way the relationships between characters were described were much more realistic than most of those romance novels with the muscle man on the cover. If you are expecting more than a lighthearted and cute, romantic comedy, then perhaps this is not the book for you. That being said, if you want a cute book to distract you from all the people surrounding you on public transit, then I think this is a great choice!

The Last Time I Lied By Riley Sager 

The Last Time I Lied features Emma, a rising NYC socialite, who goes back to a summer camp fifteen years after an awful event occurred. Back when Emma was at the camp, her roommates left the room one night, and she was the last person who saw them alive. How she remembers things, and what happened are the main questions. Emma uses painting as a means of remembering, and she is asked back to the camp to help with teaching art.

Riley Sager has recently become one of my favourite authors. And of all of his books, this one was the most fitting for going back to school, as it takes place over a summer, and that love of summer goes away once the back to school period starts. This book kept me questioning what was happening the whole time. It’s one of those books that you just cannot seem to put down. The Last Time I Lied is such a good book because it has all the elements of a great suspense novel. It has the thrills, the action, and a lovely little twist that most readers would not expect. What’s better than a book that can captivate you when dealing with a long commute? Just don’t forget to look up once in a while because this is the kind of book that will make you miss your stop.

William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Mean Girls by Ian Doescher

What if Mean Girls took place in Shakespearean times? That is what William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Mean Girls tries to answer. The play takes various elements of Much Ado About Nothing and Mean Girls, and creates a whole new way of appreciating both the movie and Shakespeare’s play because it stays true to the Shakespearen style, and includes how this adaptation uses the variety of techniques that Shakespeare uses. The book focuses on the style and ways in which characters interact with each other in Shakespeare’s play, and applies that to the context of a teen high school flic.

Mean Girls is essentially one of the most quotable movies of my time, and Shakespeare is the most known playwright of all time. So, when Doescher combines them it makes for such an unexpectedly exciting and funny read. Also, with it being back to school season, why not go back and relive such a classic movie in a new way. Furthermore, the way William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Mean Girls is written is so seamless, it feels like the two worlds truly belong together. This play made me laugh so much — it is a fun read and makes for a great commuting companion.


Feature graphic by Madeline Schmidt

Student Life

Broken Pencil: Commuting to Loyola

Construction still slowing down shuttle commutes

The shuttle bus is one of those things that is both a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing because it cuts the time it takes to get to Loyola in half and it’s really convenient to be able to go directly from one campus to the other. But it’s a curse because we live in Montreal, the nation’s capital of traffic congestion.

Overcrowdedness is one of the several reasons why students aren’t completely happy with the shuttle bus system. It’s not that they aren’t used to overcrowding, like what happens on the metro routinely. The difference is that once the shuttle doors close, you’re stuck on that bus until you get to Loyola, for however long it takes, with however many people they can squeeze in.

“It’s either 15 minutes early, or 30 minutes late,” said Youmna el Halabi, a Concordia student and frequent shuttle bus user. “When it’s late, it tries to fit as many people as it can so that we don’t miss our class, but then it ends up feeling like a pickle jar.”

Another reason for traffic congestion is frequent delays; there’s not much blame that can really go to the buses—the problem is beyond Concordia’s shuttle service. It’s the never ending, year-round road obstructions either due to construction sites, highway lane closures or foundation repairs to the infamous Turcot Interchange.

On Nov. 9, 2018, the dismantling of a portion of the Highway 15 ramp in the Interchange began which, according to Transport Quebec as reported in CTV Montreal, would cause an unprecedented amount of traffic for Montrealers. Transport Quebec went so far as to even advise drivers to use public transit if they could, to consider working from home if possible and to avoid making non-essential trips. While construction on the Interchange is expected to be completed in 2020, according to a 2016 report obtained by the Gazette, even if Montreal tripled its investment in infrastructure repairs immediately, the city wouldn’t have all necessary construction completed until 2040.

“It’s a lack of investment for the past 50 years in Montreal that [caused] this situation,” transport minister François Bonnardel told the Gazette. “After we finish the Turcot Interchange, we’ll start Louis-Hippolyte-La-Fontaine (Tunnel), so for sure in the next ten years it’s going to be a lot of investment in Montreal, but we have to do it.”

The problem is that there’s not much that can be done about these sites, considering that construction happens out of necessity. But as Concordia student Stephanie Ricci states: “It’s too cold to have us waiting for 20-30 minutes,” said Ricci. “The solution would be to have more buses.”  

Feature graphic by @spooky_soda.

Student Life

Broken Pencil: Commuting to Loyola

It’s annoying as heck and there should be more efficient route options

I’ve lived in a part of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce (N.D.G.) that’s relatively close to the Vendôme metro since starting at Concordia. Thankfully, most of the time, commuting to the Loyola campus isn’t so bad—for me at least. Yeah, sure, there are times when a packed 105 Sherbrooke bus drives past me at the Decarie or Girouard stops because there simply isn’t any room. It happens—and it’s frustrating—but I can’t imagine how much more annoying the regular commute is for students coming from off-island, downtown or further east where you have to transfer.

To avoid the bus driving past me, I’ll often make the longer walk down to Vendôme. Many times, the line for the 105 goes so far back that it fuses with the line for the 90 St-Jacques bus, then you end up with a grumpy elderly lady warning you not to take her place in a line you didn’t realize you were waiting in (true story). If you actually make it on the bus after that massive line, you’re sure to be packed in with the other passengers tighter than a can of sardines. Will you be able to nudge your way off the bus in time when your stop comes up? Who knows? That’s the risk you take with the 105.

N.D.G. has the reconstruction of the Turcot Interchange to thank for the ridiculous amount of traffic congestion. Repairs to the major highway intersection started in 2011, according to the Transport, Mobilité durable et Électrification des Transports du Quebec’s website, and is ongoing. This construction can also affect Concordia’s shuttle bus route, which is sometimes a more efficient alternative to the 105. According to Dominick Lucyk, a former Concordia student, “when it wasn’t busy, [he] found the time on the shuttle quite peaceful,” but that it was stressful during peak hours.

Increased traffic congestion from the Turcot construction, overcrowding on the 105 and the shuttle, combined with people that simply aren’t aware of the space they occupy, make for a consistently pleasant commute to Loyola (sarcasm heavily implied).

Arguably, one of the most obvious ways overcrowding on the 105 could be reduced is through the introduction of articulated buses. These accordian-style buses are quite long and require a larger area to safely turn around. The Elmhurst loop at the end of the 105’s route would need to be extended, which is an issue that has yet to be addressed by the Société de Transport de Montréal. What’s more frustrating is that a vacant lot ideal for this extension sits right next to the loop.

Also, what about students coming from Laval, the West Island, South Shore and anywhere else off-island? For many, a large part of why they bought a car was because of where the university campuses, especially Loyola, are located in relation to where they live. Students without cars who typically rely on the Réseau de transport métropolitain (RMT) or other train services, know that getting anywhere between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. is impossible, and since most alternate bus routes range from one and a half to two hours each way, there really aren’t many other options.

In the meantime, though, all we can do is plan in advance as much as possible. Transit is a great app that uses GPS to track where buses are en route. It automatically accounts for overlapping transit networks and gives relatively accurate estimated times of arrivals. Another useful tool is the Concordia University app, which has a section with the shuttle bus schedule. Or you could always race the 105 on foot during peak traffic hours. I bet you’d win.

Graphic by @spooky_soda

Exit mobile version