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Reading Along the Lines
June 15, 2012 9:25 AM   Subscribe

Underground New York Public Library, a photo tumblr of NYC Subway riders and the books they read.
posted by zamboni (98 comments total) 43 users marked this as a favorite

 
Fun, I like this.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:27 AM on June 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Funny enough, about three or four years ago this exactly concept could've been "fuckyeahstieglarsson.tumblr.com"
posted by griphus at 9:27 AM on June 15, 2012 [9 favorites]


Now THAT is an ugly website. Cool idea.
posted by ReeMonster at 9:30 AM on June 15, 2012


I think about commuters and their books every day on the tube. Leah Price, in her wonderful new How to Do Things With Books in Victorian Britain, has come up with the perfect term for reading matter put up as a shield against other people: the "repellent book." The book can be a kind of social umbrella, protecting the reader from the gaze or attention of other commuters; an unstated, yet powerful, means of declaring that "this space is my space. My gaze is occupied. Please do not attempt to engage me in conversation. Thank you." The ability it gives the reader to negotiate social space may, in fact, be one of the greatest achievements of the codex form.
posted by Sonny Jim at 9:32 AM on June 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


(Also, god do I hope this photographer asks people if he can post their photo on the site after he takes it. My subway reading posture is the single least attractive configuration of the human body I can imagine myself in.)
posted by griphus at 9:33 AM on June 15, 2012


When I was commuting on the bus, I always seemed to end up sitting next to someone reading his/her workbook edition bible busily highlighting important passages. Don't think that I ever sat next to anyone reading Tolstoy.
posted by octothorpe at 9:37 AM on June 15, 2012


I wonder what those people staring at their phones are reading?

(I'm 13% of the way thru Moby-Dick, myself.)
posted by dontoine at 9:39 AM on June 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


The book can be a kind of social umbrella, protecting the reader from the gaze or attention of other commuters; an unstated, yet powerful, means of declaring that "this space is my space. My gaze is occupied. Please do not attempt to engage me in conversation. Thank you.

You'd think so, but there exists a species in the wild, a type of vermin that is quite common, who is unable to read social cues & body language. They thrive on unnecessary commentary. They're known as IDIOTS.

IDIOT: "So you're reading a book."
Bibliophile: *exhales deeply*
IDIOT: "That looks interesting."
Bibliophile: *mumbles affirmative while sighing heavily.
IDIOT: "This one time I was reading......."
posted by Fizz at 9:39 AM on June 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


I think my favorite subway reader, to this day, was the older black woman (pretty obviously a Witness) dutifully studying and making notes in a copy of The Watchtower. Said copy was in Russian. Talk about playing on Extra Hard.

I wonder what those people staring at their phones are reading?

O'Reilly's Getting Started with Dwarf Fortress.
posted by griphus at 9:41 AM on June 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


This is true, Fizz, in the same way that there are some breezes no umbrella can withstand. Unsuccessful books-as-shields are as inevitable as inside-out umbrellas, but still we persist.
posted by Sonny Jim at 9:42 AM on June 15, 2012


I LOVE THIS!!!!

And related: this is my primary complaint about the Kindle. It is killing my nosy urge to know what everyone is reading on BART.
posted by latkes at 9:44 AM on June 15, 2012 [7 favorites]


YES! Or:
IDIOT: So, what's that book about?
Me (about 1/4 of the way through 1Q84): Um, I don't-- There's this-- It's hard to explain. Also, I'm not really sure.
posted by amarynth at 9:44 AM on June 15, 2012 [7 favorites]


And related: this is my primary complaint about the Kindle. It is killing my nosy urge to know what everyone is reading on BART.

But the advantages of not breaking your wrists while reading 1Q84 more than makes up for this.
posted by Fizz at 9:45 AM on June 15, 2012


It is killing my nosy urge to know what everyone is reading on BART."
I just automatically assume that anyone with their nose in a Kindle is reading Fifty Shades of Grey.
posted by Sonny Jim at 9:47 AM on June 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


Oh, I love this. Thanks for posting it.

Seconding griphus, too. I hope she's asking people for permission.
posted by zarq at 9:48 AM on June 15, 2012


Sonny Jim: " I just automatically assume that anyone with their nose in a Kindle is reading Fifty Shades of Grey."

Or The Hunger Games.
posted by zarq at 9:48 AM on June 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh, the photographer is a lady? Then I hope she's asking for permission, as well.
posted by griphus at 9:50 AM on June 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yes, I see now that she is ignoring the masses who are reading the Bible or romance novels (although romance novels are usually obscured with hand-made floral fabric cover, but if you peek over the shoulder you can see...)
posted by latkes at 9:50 AM on June 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Based on a sample size of two e-book snoopings this week, it's Fifty Shades all the way.
posted by Jeanne at 9:51 AM on June 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


So uh, raise your hand if you went through the whole thing half expecting to see your unshaven self burrowed deeply in a copy of Orwell...
posted by The Whelk at 9:52 AM on June 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


"this is my primary complaint about the Kindle. It is killing my nosy urge to know what everyone is reading on BART."

Haha, my husband and I both have Kindles now and the other day he was super-annoyed at me interrupting him yet again and demanded, "Why are you suddenly constantly asking me what I'm reading?" Well, because I can't see the cover any longer, duh, and I am nosy!

(I am reading Bel Canto in codex form and 11/22/63 on the Kindle, which seems nice not to have to hold up because it is big. I feel everyone who posts in this thread must share their current reading material for us book voyeurs.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:54 AM on June 15, 2012


Love this. Makes me proud to be a New Yorker!
posted by J-Do at 9:54 AM on June 15, 2012


I kinda like having people see what I'm reading, as it can lead to neat conversations! Like the time I was reading Gene Wolfe, and this dude was like "That book is so great!" He turned to his girlfriend and pointed at me. "He's reading a really good book!" The girlfriend kind of sighed and tried to look interested, and the man looked slightly abashed and turned back to me and said "I really like that book."
posted by Greg Nog at 9:54 AM on June 15, 2012 [8 favorites]


Speaking of reading, I'm reading the delightful Rules of Civility right now and it is illustrated occasionally by Walker Evans' subway photos, which this blog owes a debt to. A lovely little coincidence.
posted by latkes at 9:55 AM on June 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I propose that the next Kindle be released with a small screen on the back which displays the title of the book you're reading. Of course there shall be a hack that allows you to claim to be reading something exhausting when you're actually reading 50 Shades...
posted by latkes at 9:59 AM on June 15, 2012 [6 favorites]


On the MARC train, I see a lot of pulpy stuff--mysteries, romances, that sort of thing. Lots of books in the Oprah's Book Club genre too. Not very many Bibles, but quite often I see religious lit by the likes of TD Jakes. As for foreign languages, so far I've seen Russian and Vietnamese.

Truth be told, thanks to the iPad and smartphones, a lot of people now play games or watch movies, which frankly don't make for as good conversation. Granted, the point of bringing a book on the train is to be left alone, but occasionally it's a pleasure to compare what you're reading.
posted by Cash4Lead at 9:59 AM on June 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


latkes: "Yes, I see now that she is ignoring the masses who are reading the Bible "

Nope. Also.
posted by zarq at 10:02 AM on June 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Do you ever talk to the Reading-Riders you photograph? Or do most not notice because they’re so engrossed in their stories?

"I’m often in conversation about what I’m doing. Even if the reader doesn’t notice me, other people around me do. Various situations happen frequently enough, so I can’t tell if it happens more when they notice me or when they don’t. It does happen that the Reader will look up from their book after I take the shot. Then I tell them that I took their picture and I explain why."


So: only if she gets caught.
posted by roger ackroyd at 10:03 AM on June 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I was happy to see so many classics and so few Book of the Months. Unless there's a filter being applied, which is likely.
posted by DU at 10:03 AM on June 15, 2012


Oh awesome I always pay attention to this. People reading books on the 71, 74, 75 and 30 buses in Seattle are reading Game of Thrones, pulp mysteries, Fifty Shades of Grey, and classic American, British, and Russian literature.

I wish there was a way to find out what other people were listening to on the bus. I am always listening to a podcast and I would like it if strangers wanted to talk to me about it. Obviously most people are listening to music and I'm sure it would be interesting for them as well.
posted by Kwine at 10:04 AM on June 15, 2012


It always amazes me that people are embarrassed to read certain kinds of books. I read all kinds of genre fiction: fantasy, SF, pulp, westerns, whatever. The world is filled with too many awesome books to stick to just one type of Literature (capital snooty "L").

Don't be afraid to let people know that you're reading something considered an "airport best-seller" at best. I'm currently reading Vladimir Nabokov's Ada or Ardor along side John Scalzi's Redshirts. It is possible to read both.
posted by Fizz at 10:06 AM on June 15, 2012 [6 favorites]


I wish there was a way to find out what other people were listening to on the bus.

What song are you listening to?
posted by latkes at 10:07 AM on June 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Eyebrows McGee: "I feel everyone who posts in this thread must share their current reading material for us book voyeurs.)"

I'm reading the following books right now: (I switch back and forth, depending on mood.)

Packing for Mars by Mary Roach
Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter by Seth Graham
Unorthodox by Deborah Friedman (Rereading this with my wife, so we can discuss it.)
Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
Redshirts by John Scalzi
Truman by David McCullough
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain

There is a Metafilter group on Goodreads. If you're not already part of it, why not join us?
posted by zarq at 10:10 AM on June 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


I have no idea why, but I love this!
posted by bluefly at 10:13 AM on June 15, 2012


Oh man, now I'm imagining a potential use for those google deus ex goggles or whatever.

People could opt-in (hopefully) to having their e-reader transmit what book they were reading (or what song they were playing on an iphone) and then you could have the goggles be able to "read" those signals and display them on the google glasses HUD or however it's supposed to work.

I have no idea if that's actually how any of this works, though, but it'd be a way to do the whole conspicuous-consumption-of-media thing in the iPad era.
posted by dismas at 10:13 AM on June 15, 2012


Her common questions section is pretty reveletory:

She responds to the candid thing there and says this:

Why don’t you list the train or station where the photograph was taken?

At one pointI was writing down the train line or station for each photo. I thought it would be an important component of the project. Recording this information eventually started to reveal interesting things and I concluded that there was something divisive about it. I’m not an anthropologist and revealing the literary side of our socio-economic reality isn’t my goal. I want to create a portrait of us that makes a simple statement: we’re all involved in the story.


She sort of says that reality undercut her message so she stopped including the info.
posted by edbles at 10:13 AM on June 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


I enjoy playing " what class are they reading ts book for" when I have forgotten my book in the subway.
posted by The Whelk at 10:14 AM on June 15, 2012


I really like the ones where someone's completely lost in the book though.
posted by edbles at 10:14 AM on June 15, 2012


I kinda like having people see what I'm reading, as it can lead to neat conversations!

Yep. I had just started reading Jude the Obscure one day and someone commented that that was a very depressing book. He was right!
posted by ThisIsNotMe at 10:14 AM on June 15, 2012


DU: "I was happy to see so many classics and so few Book of the Months. Unless there's a filter being applied, which is likely."

Depending on which line she's riding, there will be a reasonably large subset of people reading books for either high school or college classes. There are schools throughout the city.
posted by zarq at 10:14 AM on June 15, 2012


People could opt-in (hopefully) to having their e-reader transmit what book they were reading (or what song they were playing on an iphone) and then you could have the goggles be able to "read" those signals and display them on the google glasses HUD or however it's supposed to work.

You need to read Otherland by Tad Williams.
posted by Fizz at 10:17 AM on June 15, 2012


Yep. I had just started reading Jude the Obscure one day and someone commented that that was a very depressing book. He was right!

Really? I read it for a class, and I thought it was hilarious.
posted by Faint of Butt at 10:19 AM on June 15, 2012


My commutte on the subway is relatively short (South Slope-ish to lower Manhattan), so I tend to try to read comics, shorter books, books that have shorter chapters ro short sotry collections. I need a more deifnitive sense of progress, as it makes me feel like I've accomplished something during the commutte. Here is what I've read recently during my commute:

Uzumaki Vol. 1-3 by Junji Ito
All Yours by Claudia Piñeiro
Are You My Mother? by Alison Bechdel
The Map and the Territory by Michel Hoeullebecq
Blue Latitude by Tony Horwitz
Only Forward by Michael Marshall Smith

Currently reading on the subway Columbine by Dave Cullen, which is a longer book than I normally read on the subway, but it has short chapters.
posted by Falconetti at 10:20 AM on June 15, 2012


In Japan they had patterned sleeves you could buy to put on your books so that the book's cover and title was obscured. I guess Japan has it's own idiots on trains that ask what you're reading. Or a lot of really embarrassing literature.
posted by Hoopo at 10:24 AM on June 15, 2012


I used to get the strangest looks from people when I was reading Magick in Theory and Practice by Crowley, on the F train.
posted by Splunge at 10:28 AM on June 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


I am reading the High Cost Of Free Parking (Shoup) but reading on the bus gives me motion sickness most of the time.
posted by Kwine at 10:28 AM on June 15, 2012


I enjoy playing " what class are they reading ts book for" when I have forgotten my book in the subway.

...there will be a reasonably large subset of people reading books for either high school or college classes.

So those people who ask incredulously if I'm "reading that book for a class" sometimes get an affirmative?

I'm not sure if this makes my "no" harder to deliver or not. I guess I'd need to know what possesses people to ask the question. Maybe my response should always be "Are you asking that question to complete a questionnaire?"
posted by DU at 10:30 AM on June 15, 2012


I feel everyone who posts in this thread must share their current reading material for us book voyeurs.

Nerd Do Well - Simon Pegg
The Elements of Cooking - Michael Ruhlman
When Will Jesus Bring the Porkchops? - George Carlin
Mansfield Park - Jane Austen
Titanic: 100 Years Later - LA Times Staff

Which list is weird -- normally I'm a mostly fiction reader.
posted by Celsius1414 at 10:32 AM on June 15, 2012


Thought I'd hate; loved.

latkes: "What song are you listening to?"

I love the idea, but I think the editing is wrong. I want a longer shot of the person walking down the street after the song has been revealed. Instead, I get their song while the next person is being introduced.
posted by roll truck roll at 10:34 AM on June 15, 2012


me reading this:

OOH! I read on the train! Maybe I'm on here.

*continual scrolling*

nope nope. boring boring boring boring. NONE OF THESE ARE ME. I hate this site, now.
posted by shmegegge at 10:35 AM on June 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


In Japan they had patterned sleeves you could buy to put on your books so that the book's cover and title was obscured. I guess Japan has it's own idiots on trains that ask what you're reading. Or a lot of really embarrassing literature.

I think this might be more of an "and" situation...
posted by shmegegge at 10:35 AM on June 15, 2012


I used to get the strangest looks from people when I was reading Magick in Theory and Practice by Crowley, on the F train.

"Good lord, look at what he's reading! That tome is completely outdated."
"Well, he'll find that out when he bursts into flame during incantation 12. That's how we all did, isn't it?"
posted by griphus at 10:35 AM on June 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm trying to write out a new fortune telling system for New York: Subway Augury. The idea is to take a look at what various riders are reading and use that to predict the course of the day. Right now my ideas are really vague, but some of the ideas I've had are:
SF - Technology, future, imagination
Lit Fic- Knowledge
NYT Bestseller/Book Du Jour (Game of Thrones/Hunger Games/Fifty Shades of Grey/etc.) - popularity
YA - Beginnings
Poetry - art/creativity
Non-Fiction (political) - argument/conversation
Non-Fiction (apolitical) - Stasis
Comics - ?
Hardcover/Trade Paperback/Mass Market Paperback/Ebook - permanency of events
Romance - ?
Thriller - Excitement?


As you can see, it's still in progress, but even now I can accurately predict it will just as, if not more, informative as astrology and tarot, not to mention actual augury or phrenology. (I don't have the patience to watch pigeons let alone read their entrails.)

Any suggestions to modifications/improvements are welcome. Please note that while I think this is absolute bunk, I am trying to build something that would look serious.

Should I put this in an AskMeFi?
posted by Hactar at 10:36 AM on June 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


I got some odd looks when I pulled out a copy of "Global Catastrophes: A Very Short Introduction" on the train.
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 10:37 AM on June 15, 2012


Should I put this in an AskMeFi?

Hell, head over to Kickstarter. ;)
posted by Celsius1414 at 10:39 AM on June 15, 2012


I feel everyone who posts in this thread must share their current reading material for us book voyeurs.

I just finished Dirt Cheap Green Thumb (it was meh) and I'm about to start Fundamentals of Tool Design (based on a MeFi comment, plus I've got another machining book waiting for me at the library). In audiobook form, I've been listening to Dorothy Sayers and Travis McGee books alternating with some TTC-type courses (finished a neuroscience one a week or so ago, thus the McGee to relax) and right now a book of extremely poorly-read SF stories. The stories themselves are pretty good.
posted by DU at 10:43 AM on June 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Splunge: I used to get the strangest looks from people when I was reading Magick in Theory and Practice by Crowley, on the F train.

That reminds me of the time I was reading Anton LaVey's The Satanic Bible on the Staten Island Ferry and a black Muslim man, wearing a long white robe, walked by selling incense, and upon reading the title on the cover, looked at me horrified and wide eyed, with a sort of recognition, as if indeed, I was Beezlebub himself, and in his mind he was thinking "NO!! NOT YOU AGAIN?! DEVIL!"

Needless to say, he didn't ask me if I wanted to buy any incense.


BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!
posted by Skygazer at 10:45 AM on June 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wonderful!

Although I've now realized a huge drawback of walking to work.
posted by Capt. Renault at 10:52 AM on June 15, 2012


I like to read while I walk. I probably couldn't get away with that in a huge city (Manhattan pedestrians would grind me into hamburger,) but on the half-sparse sidewalks of Michigan, it's possible to read, walk, and not drift into another person or moving car. That restricts my reading choice; I'm not a fan of prying open a huge paperback with my thumb or the wrist fatigue involved with a hardcover.

It garners the occasional weird comment. "Man, that must be a good book" ("yes," I reply, "it is." In my head, I add "That's why I'm reading it" and feel awkward because I can't not state the obvious,) and "How do you not walk into things?"

I think it's easier than it looks, but I feel like I'm treated as an eccentric. Then I remember that a huge percentage of the US population reads no books outside of school, and, yeah, I guess I'm eccentric by default.

(That said, I'd love a 20 minute subway ride as an excuse to read daily.)
posted by Turkey Glue at 10:53 AM on June 15, 2012


I feel everyone who posts in this thread must share their current reading material for us book voyeurs.
A Day of Light and Shadows by Jonathan Schwartz
Emerson Essays and Poems (Library of America)
Springing: New and Selected Poems by Marie Ponsot
Those are thre there books I'm carrying around with me for reading on the subway and the like.
posted by ThisIsNotMe at 10:55 AM on June 15, 2012


Read "the three" for "thre there".
posted by ThisIsNotMe at 10:56 AM on June 15, 2012


I'm just gonna keep reading my copy of Archie Meets KISS until I see myself here.

I'm also reading Neal Stephensons Reamde and Fat, Drunk & Stupid a book about the making of Animal House whose authors name escapes me at the moment.
posted by jonmc at 11:00 AM on June 15, 2012


Good day to you sir or madam I am selling these fine limited-edition "How to Get People to Take Pictures of You on the Subway and Put Them on Tumblr" dust covers (in paperback and Kindle sizes as well) for the low low price of only $5.95, while supplies last.
posted by Spatch at 11:10 AM on June 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Does the photographer ask for permission? (Not that it's needed, except perhaps in the case of minors.)
posted by brina at 11:11 AM on June 15, 2012


makes my heart ache
posted by From Bklyn at 11:12 AM on June 15, 2012


Right now I'm reading:

George Motz's Hamburger America, ostensibly a guide to burger places across the US, but it's really a collection of short stories about the American Dream.

Leslie S. Klinger's The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes, Volume I: The Short Stories. Holmes kookery of the finest kind.

Jim Tolpin's The Toolbox Book. It's about boxes.
posted by zamboni at 11:13 AM on June 15, 2012


I don't read on the subway so far in new york, but after this thread and blog, I'm going to start! Probably with this copy of Retromania I've been lugging around dutifully in suitcases for a while.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:16 AM on June 15, 2012


Great, now I want to read Neal Stephensons Reamde and Fat, Drunk & Stupid
posted by griphus at 11:18 AM on June 15, 2012 [2 favorites]



Currently reading:

What Happened to Sophie Wilder? by Christopher R. Beha

And in somewhere in progress with the following:

This Side of Brightness - Collum McCann

The Taker - Rubem Fonseca

Homeland - Sam Lipsyte

Open City - Leonardo Sciascia

Light in August - Faulkner

What can I say, I like to live in and savor books for a while. Plus, I'm trying to take/learn what I need craft-wise from each...
posted by Skygazer at 11:26 AM on June 15, 2012


> Now THAT is an ugly website.

Completely disagree. I found it visually interesting, well thought-out, and it's probably the most unique website I'll see all day.

Also: That one fascinated-looking headband guy totally made me want to look up "Borrower of the Night."
posted by circular at 11:31 AM on June 15, 2012


Just completed We Are Anonymous: Inside the Hacker World of LulzSec, Anonymous, and the Global Cyber Insurgency and recommend it highly, just about every incident described in the book made an appearance on MeFi's front page when it happened, about the people behind it (who are almost all in custody now), crazy stuff.
posted by stbalbach at 12:06 PM on June 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


DU: "I enjoy playing " what class are they reading ts book for" when I have forgotten my book in the subway.

...there will be a reasonably large subset of people reading books for either high school or college classes.

So those people who ask incredulously if I'm "reading that book for a class" sometimes get an affirmative?

I'm not sure if this makes my "no" harder to deliver or not. I guess I'd need to know what possesses people to ask the question. Maybe my response should always be "Are you asking that question to complete a questionnaire?"
"

We would also accept: What? You writin' a freakin' book?
posted by Splunge at 12:14 PM on June 15, 2012


I began scrolling through to see if I popped up (and what I'd be reading), but then got nervous that I might turn up as the guy watching a movie on his phone next to the cultured, intellectual reader person.
posted by adamms222 at 12:24 PM on June 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is what we lose when we switch to ereaders: the option to announce our interests and tastes to the world, or alternatively, to have them surreptitiously snapped by a snoopy photographer. This is a pretty satisfying.

What you'd see if you could see me reading:

A Clash of Kings, GRRMartin
Moral Luck, Bernard Williams
Between Past and Future, Hannah Arendt
The Grammar of Society, Cristina Bicchieri
The Order of Public Reason, Jerry Gaus
The Mongoliad, Neal Stephenson, Greg Bear, et al
The Quantum Thief, Hannu Rajaniemi

I should be reading David Grossman's To the End of the Land, but I can't get into it. I'm sure it doesn't help that I actually own a physical copy of it, in hardback, and the fucker is heavy.
posted by anotherpanacea at 12:33 PM on June 15, 2012


Oh god, another reason to avoid public transportation. Go away lady, no you can't see what Avengers fanfic I am reading on my ipad, thanks.
posted by elizardbits at 12:33 PM on June 15, 2012 [8 favorites]


...this is just Breaking Dawn except "Edward" is replaced with "Tony," "Jacob" is replaced with "Steve," and "Bella" is replaced with "Banner."
posted by griphus at 12:35 PM on June 15, 2012


griph, stop by the store and pick me up!
posted by jonmc at 12:37 PM on June 15, 2012


Funny enough, I was planning to drop by yesterday for the Kreider reading but the time got changed and there was no way I could be there at 6.
posted by griphus at 12:42 PM on June 15, 2012


"I just automatically assume that anyone with their nose in a Kindle is reading Fifty Shades of Grey."

Or The Hunger Games.


I have been reading the Hunger Games in paperback (it was $5 right after the movie came out) and Every.Single.Person feels compelled to stop me and ask how I feel about the book and if I saw the movie and when will I get book two. A middle-aged male business executive flying first class asked me where I was in the book and what I thought of Panem and the dystopian world set up (in a genuinely excited 'Oh, finally a fan I can share my fandom with!' tone). No one ever gets this excited when I start reading my trashy romances on the plane.

Sadly, there is no public transportation worth mentioning outside of NYC so no chance to get caught reading most of the time. On the other hand, five minute commute makes up for a lot.

As for currently reading:
Catching Fire, naturally
Throne of Jade
Survivor in Death
an obscure South American novel on magical realism that our cataloging department can't find a good record for in English or Spanish and so they'd like me to tell them what the book's about to catalog it
a really terrible demon romance novel
a few other books I've forgotten about, somewhere in my apartment

Thanks to this thread, I was inspired to see if the latest JD Robb is available and lo and behold it's on the Spine Table waiting for labeling so I am going to get the jump on the general public. Sweet.
posted by librarylis at 12:45 PM on June 15, 2012


Pick 'em up, not pick me up, dammit, I'm spoken for.
posted by jonmc at 12:57 PM on June 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


I wonder what those people staring at their phones are reading?

Right now, At Home, by Bill Bryson. Recommended via Metafilter, in fact.

Usually, though, I restrict my phone reading to embarrassing stuff like celebrity memoirs and How To Produce An Award-Winning Short Film.
posted by Sara C. at 1:10 PM on June 15, 2012


A few months ago on the F train I saw an older woman with a paperback and a younger woman with a kindle, sitting side by side in the exact same intent posture. I was too shy to take a picture, but it would've been perfect to illustrate a Slate magazine article or something.
posted by moonmilk at 1:12 PM on June 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


If there's one population where eReaders really caught on, it's little old Russian ladies. They're very relieved to no longer have to carry around print-outs of chapters of the novel they pirated.
posted by griphus at 1:16 PM on June 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Love this. When we were in NYC this past March, it was my first time there, and one of the things I noticed right off was how everyone was reading everywhere they had the chance. On the subway, at Starbucks, while waiting for buses, while eating lunch, everywhere we went. It was great!
posted by blacktshirtandjeans at 2:01 PM on June 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


The elderly polish women in my neighbourhood often disagree with my reading (right now the anthology shakesqueer, but also things like john waters:a sex book, straight:a suprisingly short history of sexuality, and the like)
posted by PinkMoose at 2:05 PM on June 15, 2012


...this is just Breaking Dawn except "Edward" is replaced with "Tony," "Jacob" is replaced with "Steve," and "Bella" is replaced with "Banner."

don't be ridiculous, it's the one with the roombas.
posted by elizardbits at 2:34 PM on June 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


One thing I love about this site, aside from the overall concept, books, etc. is the way that this is a slice of life of the NYC transit system -- and thus, a chunk of the city -- as it is right now. Little things like the kinds of tattoos people have, the colors people are wearing, etc.
posted by Sara C. at 2:36 PM on June 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


this is brilliant. Thanks for posting. I'm reading:

Kraken, by China Mieville
The Caine Mutiny, by Herman Wouk
posted by the man of twists and turns at 3:47 PM on June 15, 2012


I fucking love New Yorkers.
posted by fake at 4:05 PM on June 15, 2012


My current subway read (phone based) is "War and Peace."
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 4:10 PM on June 15, 2012


Thanks. I love this!
posted by Kerasia at 4:24 PM on June 15, 2012


I wonder what those people staring at their phones are reading?

The Northworld Trilogy by David Drake
posted by Splunge at 4:33 PM on June 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


The best looks I ever got on the subway was when I was reading Adler and Van Doren's "How to Read a Book."

Thought about reading it upside-down, but I never had the nerve.
posted by lauranesson at 8:12 PM on June 15, 2012 [7 favorites]


Aw, this makes me miss my NYC commutes -- the last of which involved both bus and subway. I read so much then.
posted by safetyfork at 8:43 AM on June 16, 2012


There is a quasi-equivalent of this blog covering San Francisco public transit called "Between the Lines", but it's much less satisfying because the author very rarely includes pictures of the readers themselves.
posted by whir at 4:23 PM on June 16, 2012


O'Reilly's Getting Started with Dwarf Fortress

I had no idea that was a real thing. It is.
posted by Kadin2048 at 6:13 PM on June 16, 2012


Oh, I remember coming across this a while ago. My favorite photo/story so far is this one, photograph of a family (the two kids are reading): one reading "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw" and the other reading "Warriors."

I'm adding "Black Arabia & The African Origin of Islam" to my list of books to check out! I'm currently reading "Yellow: Race in America Beyond Black and White" by Frank Wu.
posted by one teak forest at 8:42 PM on June 16, 2012


I had no idea that was a real thing. It is.

It's pretty good, too. Especially considering I have no intention of ever playin the game.
posted by griphus at 9:29 PM on June 16, 2012


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