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The F train howls to a stop, and the subway sketcher boards a front car, its windows clouded with white spray paint, its benches filled with characters.

Ed Velandria takes a seat, pulling a computer tablet and touch pen from his black backpack. Velandria has 20 minutes to draw on this ride from Brooklyn to Manhattan, and he is searching for his next muse. Tall, dark-haired and unassuming, Velandria is a corporate graphics guy with a family and a brownstone in Brooklyn. He drew his first illustration in third grade -- a pumpkin. The moment marked his love for drawing, but for more than a decade he rarely did it for enjoyment.

His career got the best of him; his creativity slipped away. Two years ago, he bought a computerized painting tablet on Craigslist and carted it along on his ride to and from work, sketching people he found interesting. The tablet is the size of a thin phone book, and its touch pen simulates dozens of brushes and pencils, blending colors with thick and thin strokes directly onto the computer screen.

Shane Snow's Book Recommendations

He uploaded YouTube instructional illustration videos on his iPhone and studied them on breaks. He found Flickr, a Web community for image collections, and posted his work. Fans found him and sent messages or posted his drawings on their blogs. He came across subway sketchers from Toronto, Berlin, Paris. Just like that, Velandria, 45, found his creative self again. Subway sketching in the modern technology world became his therapy, and his obsession. On the F train just after 10 a.

Two middle-aged Asian women sit across the aisle. One has a marble-sized mole on her chin, and the other tilts her head back at an awkward angle, her eyes closed. Velandria fixates on the sleeping woman, and his right hand dances across his tablet. The deaf boys notice and hover behind Velandria in fascination, signing rapidly to each other. The train stops, and a man in a striped Adidas shirt and khaki slacks gets on.

The sleeping woman wakes up and gets off a few minutes later, unaware that she has become a work of art soon to be displayed to the world online. The man in the yarmulke takes her seat, as if waiting for Velandria to draw his portrait next. Velandria settles instead on a shaggy-haired young man holding an iced coffee and reading Esquire.

Subway Dancer: and Other Stories: Catherine Ryan Hyde: Books

The train stops at Broadway and Lafayette in Soho, and Velandria packs up his tablet with its two nearly complete portraits. For artists, riding the New York subway is pure stimuli, like feeling the wind blow against your skin. On a recent degree day, she remembers, the subway stalled. Everyone stood, or sat, or slouched, suspended in time, even after the train began to move again. The whole series was totally engrossing! Oh my, I just finished the Parable of the Sower and it was amazing and eerily accurate in some respects, despite being written in !

Broken Earth series—also so great! I discovered audiobooks this year and have solved the decades old dilemma of knitting or reading. Thank you, Cup Of Jo, for giving such tempting recommendations and to all readers, too. I get as many books from the post as from the comments. Love the multitude of polite opinions.

Oh my gosh — what a great book list! He writes of the gun violence in Chicago in such an eloquent, humanizing way. The stories help demonstrate how our country is failing children in neighborhoods like the south side of Chicago. My heart has never ached more, both in pain for those who so bravely shared their story and for the city that I love and that I know can do better. This masterpiece should be read by everyone, but especially those who work in public service, education or the medical field.

My Bookshelf

Boy Swallows Universe is a hilarious, heart-breaking, character filled read. It is so vividly written, it almost feels like the words are in technicolor. Mesmerising and yes, challenging. Pachinko and Milkman are two of the best books I have read in the past year! Per your recommendation, I just checked out Melmoth, thanks! Yes I completely agree with your recommendation for Milkman. It explores the roadblocks parents face and the difficult decisions they must make on behalf of their children.

The Subway Stops at Bryant Park

Rio has stuck in my brain so hard, I cannot get over it. Chakraborty djinn and political machinations, yes please — the second book just came out in January, so you have to wait another year until the third!!

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I get what Joanne Ramos was trying to do but it lacked depth and nuance. The characters are complex and conflicted; even the secondary characters are deeply important whose stories and emotions are explored and indulged, and the story is gripping. I devoured these books in one weekend. One that will stay with me for awhile.

I want to read all of these! But what to do about buying each one? What to do?? You can sign up with your library card and download books on your phone or iPad for free. Second to the other comment — yes to Libby! Sometimes you still have to wait for the popular books but then they just appear on your phone and also sync to a tablet etc.

And it means you can just pull your phone out and start reading anywhere as well. Usually they arrive quicker than expected and even if they take several months its almost like an unexpected gift when you get to the top of the list! If you want to support good literature, buy books! And buy them from independent bookstores!

That was the first book I read this year! I loved it. I cried finishing it. Delivers such a powerful message about intersectionality and family and agency. OMG Jenny I totally agree! Rooney is such a fabulous author. I did finally find another book that I loved just as much — Notes to Self by Emilie Pine also an Irish author, with a similar clean prose.

Just, please read it!

Subway Dancer and Other Stories

Read it and was left completely cold by it. Loved them. Alix — SAME! I enjoyed the first bit of Normal People, I read it on holiday in bed while my husband was sleeping in but then when I went back to read more of it, it seemed endless and quite frustrating. The whole time I was like ARGH if they would just communicate a bit better their lives would be so much easier. They kind of remind me of the Bones books. I just finished A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman and really fell in love with the characters, especially Parvaneh, his pushy, funny neighbour. If you enjoyed Ove, try this one too :.

I read it a couple of years ago and that year, there was more than one person on my list who received it as a Christmas gift. Heartbreaking and lovely. Just placed library ebook holds on the farm, normal people, and southern lady code! Thanks for the recs! She keeps my to read list full! The lowland is beautiful. Highly recommend to everyone.

Clean writing no heavy prose and completely captivating. Hi, Just a suggestion.. It may not make much difference but it also may lead to people not getting stuck on autopilot, and instead supporting local, community based businesses rather than giant corporations.