Friday, October 30, 2009

Shhh! People are reading.

This morning on the subway, I had the pleasure of seeing a diverse world of book reading in action. My Sony Reader and I sat down next to a woman reading a book on her Kindle. Across from Mrs. Kindle was a woman reading The Lost Symbol in hard cover. Standing up next to her, a woman read a trade paperback about our post-something-I-couldn’t-make-out world. When Mrs. Kindle got off to switch trains, a young man sat beside me, reading a book on his iPhone. A woman came on the train and stood just in front of him, reading Chris Marie Green’s Midnight Reign. When Mr. iPhone left, not only did this woman sit down in his seat, but she switched books to Nora Roberts’s Bed of Roses. Throughout the ride my end of the train also held a couple Metro and AM New York readers (because it’s hard to argue with free!) and someone reading a current affairs mag, but there was only a single person I saw who wasn’t reading at all and almost everyone was reading a book, in whatever genre or format best suited them. My only regret is that technology thwarted my subway voyeurism--I am, after all, the sort of person who subtly takes camera phone photos of F train passengers reading DGLM titles. I could see from the way the text was formatted that they were reading actual books, but not which books they were reading.

With all the fighting about how we get our content and how much we pay for it and who’s reading the right things and who’s reading the wrong ones, it’s nice sometimes to have a moment to be happy that at least we’re still reading!


-Lauren

7 comments:

  1. Thanks,Lauren. A very uplifting post regarding reading.

    In my corner of the planet people trim the margins from books to make them lighter so they can take them on mountaineering trips.

    When I was on a month long sea kayak trip we had a whole dry-bag full of books that we referred to as, The Library.

    Maybe someone on an NYC subway is reading the same book at the same time as someone on the side of a mountain in Alaska.

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  2. Goes to show its not the way you get to the written word, but that you have arrived.

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  3. Take that, Philip Roth!

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  4. I saw something similar this very evening: a middle-aged woman wearing a vampire mask, sitting on a bench with two teenage kids dressed like Goths. All three of them had books open on their laps and were totally engrossed. And me without a camera.

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  5. Amen on reading in general. Probably one of the things I did right with my kids, training them to be readers.

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  6. I loved this - made me grin. I am an avid bookwatcher too. As an avid reader I peek, a lot, to see what other people ae reading. I am happy to see that the majority of people I tend to travel with seem to disregard the more popular books and go for anything from classics to fantastically fun comemrcial fiction. It does the heart good!

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  7. That's a really fun idea, Paul! Though the person on the subway probably didn't have to cut off the margins.

    Mary, I really wish you'd had that camera!

    -Lauren

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