Friday, November 19, 2010

don't judge a book by know

So can I talk for a minute about reading on the T?

For several weeks I was trying to slog through Obama's Wars. Nothing against the book, but it was pretty dense and not exactly the read I was expecting. But I loved carrying it on the T -- even though I disliked reading it -- because everyone would see me reading Obama's Wars and think, somehow, that I was erudite and political and clearly a smart lady. I remember a situation in which three men in Army fatigues got on, and I literally was so excited to convey the message that I was reading Obama's Wars that I tried extra-extra-hard to make my book cover visible.

When I finished that one, it was on to Living Dead in Dallas, the second book in the Sookie Stackhouse vampire series. Oh boy! I am a major fan of True Blood, which is based on the book series, and I was itching to read the semi-trashy, pulpy novel. "But no!" I thought to myself. "The only time I have to read is on the T! I can't read Living Dead in Dallas on the T! People will see me! GAHHH!" Upon deciding that not reading the book was not an option, I hid the cover as best I could in my lap.

And now I'm reading Tommy's Tale, the self-proclaimed "Queer as Folk meets About A Boy", which features a pair of splayed male legs falling out of a bathtub. (They're attached to said male, of course -- it's not a slasher novel -- but all you can see is the legs.) Now I feel like people are looking at my book cover and thinking that I am reading some party-hard, not-literary, trash. (I also feel this way when I come to sex scenes in books I'm reading on the T -- suddenly embarrassed and quite furtive.)

So I was thinking about my issues with T reading, and why I was so concerned that other people would care about what I was reading. "Self," I said to myself, "when was the last time YOU noticed what someone else was reading on the T?" And the honest answer is -- never.

So I just need to get over my reading-on-the-T complex and display my book covers proudly, whatever they may be. But I know that sometimes I may still hope that people are taking more notice of the "I Love Brookline Booksmith" pin on my bag than they are of my choice of reading material.


Jen said...

Ahm, I actually snoop at what other people are reading on the T all the time! It's where I get most of my recommendations and is sometimes a fantastic conversation starter...

HOWEVER, what does it matter if I think you're reading a trashy book? Chances are a) I'll never see you again, or b) The next time I see you, you'll be reading a different book that may provide me with a completely different perception of you, so what was the point in my making assumptions about you in the first place? ...that made more sense in my head...

Amanda said...

This is part of the reason my fiance loves his nook-- he can read trashy Star Wars novels and no one knows.

i like real books better, though-- and I do scope out what other people are reading on the T! But you know what? From what I see, maybe half of them are reading classy things, and half of them are reading "junk"... but that junk has it's place. It allows us to relax and refresh our brains, and it's a whole lot easier to listen for your stop if you're reading a Sookie Stackhouse book than it is if you're reading Proust.