People-Watching what People are Reading

I’ve been commuting to London for an Internship these past few weeks and on my travels I’ve been reading quite a bit – either on my kindle or a physical book. When I haven’t been reading (or sleeping) on the train I’ve been people watching, or more specifically, watching what people are reading. Of course many people use e-readers nowadays because they are smaller and easier to carry around but a lot of people still read physical books and I find it fascinating looking to see what sort of things people are reading.

Here’s a list of books I’ve noticed people reading – it’s surprisingly hard to check out the front cover of people’s books without looking like a creep.

Hornet’s Nest – Patricia Cornell
Treasure Island – Robert Louis Stevenson
We are all Completely Besides Ourselves – Karen Joy Fowler
Game of Thrones – George R. R. Martin
Kangaroo – D. H. Lawrence
The Goldfinch – Donna Tartt
A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian – Marina Lewycka
Robinson Crusoe – Daniel Defoe
Voices – Arnaldur Indridason
A Storm of Swords – George R. R. Martin
2312 – Kim Stanley Robinson
Burial Rites – Hannah Kent
Raising Steam – Terry Pratchett
Knightley and Son – Rohan Gavin
The Cuckoo’s Calling – Robert Galbraith
Human Traces – Sebastian Faulks
The Snowman – Jo Nesbo
Alex’s Adventures in Numberland – Alex Bellos
Working with Interpreters in Mental Health – Hitesh Raval and Rachel Tribe
Castlereagh: The Biography of a Statesman – John Bew
The Black Country – Alex Grecian
Geisha of Gion: The True Story of Japan’s Foremost Geisha – Mineko Iwasaki
The Christmas Surprise – Jenny Colgan
The Life and Loves of a He Devil – Graham Norton

I love how there’s both books I’ve never heard of and books that I’ve been meaning to pick up. There’s all genres; thrillers, fantasy, comedy, science-fiction and classics. I think watching what people read is a great way to see that everyone has diverse reading tastes and that there really are so many books and authors out there. I also loved seeing both men and women of all ages reading as well.

I’m not judging what people are reading – sure it must have been a bit awkward commuting in the height of 50 Shades of Grey‘s popularity seeing so many people reading a books about BDSM on their morning commute and I probably would have judged them for reading it in a public place – but all the books listed above? No judgement at all. I think it’s great when you can show off a bit of your personality and interests via what you’re reading and don’t care what people think. Over the last few days I’ve been reading comic books on the train (I couldn’t get into the book I’d picked up and needed something short to read), in rush hour when there’s a bunch of men in suits. It’s definitely hard not to think you’re being thought of as a little kid but I’ve learnt not to care what people think about my reading habits.

After googling some of these books to learn more about them I now have some more books to add to my ever-growing wish-list including A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian and 2312.

Have you ever tried to sneakily check out what people are reading? I think I’ll continue doing it to learn about new authors and books that I may have never heard of.

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