Jump to content
Emily9383484872182

If you choose to read a book in public, will passersby judge you on the cover of your book?

Recommended Posts

2 hours ago, Ooshie said:

 

I have already stated that the reading of Lolita doesn't bother me, and the front cover you have posted doesn't alter my feelings on that.  It wouldn't bother me at all seeing someone reading it near a school or where lots of children are about.

 

I do think I have entirely understood the points you have been trying to make in all your previous posts.  It is purely that I don't have the reactions you mention, and have never encountered anyone in any part of the country I have lived in having an openly negative reaction to anything being read by someone else either.  It seems that no-one who has posted on this thread has encountered such a reaction. 

 

I'm just somewhat puzzled by why you keep pushing your hypothesis.  Everyone who has posted seems to understand it perfectly well; it's just that no-one has had any experiences which support it.

 

The image I used before is a lot different to:

 

41TC1rW3hxL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

 

Which is why the front cover also plays a part in how someone would judge you. 

 

I find it extremely hard to believe that you truly wouldn't have a problem, especially considering what you revealed, nevertheless I will take your word for it. 

 

One user clearly hasn't understood what I've said. I'm not pushing anything really. 

 

No-one will have experienced such a situation because no-one will have put themselves in such a position and it's rare to even see anyone reading these days never mind the possible situations I and others have mentioned. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I couldn't get that cover image picture to work unfortunately.  I'm surprised you say you rarely see anyone reading, I commute and see plenty of people reading either books or kindle, so it's still alive and fairly well!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 hours ago, David James said:

 

 

On a side note, did your exam go well? :)

 

 

 

I passed, but the real test will be when I start working in August with real patients. :o 

 

21 hours ago, frankie said:

 

 

All in all, we just have to agree to disagree. 

 

I agree. I reread my post and I think it came across as more judgemental than I meant it to be - apologies.

 

 

19 hours ago, Ooshie said:

And if they are not openly reacting, what does it matter if they are thinking negatively or positively about the work in question?

 

I think this matters a lot. The way we subsconciously react to someone reading or the novel they hold in their hand tells us a lot about ourselves, our society and the culture we reside in.

 

I don't think anyone is arguing that people openly react to someone reading a book. Certainly in Western culture where we hold personal autonomy in such high stead, a vocal reaction is frowned upon (contrast this to somewhere like India where I have had personal experience of people commenting on what I am reading right next to me!).

 

I think the discussion to be had is how we subconsciously react to others reading in public - and I believe we all react in some way, based on our own opinions of the novel, or of reading, or of someone reading in public. It is these internal reactions that make humanity so interesting - if this were a discussion about only our external reactions, I think this discussion would dry up pretty quickly.

 

19 hours ago, Ooshie said:

Thank you for the discussion though - it is amusing me greatly!

 

I concur.

Edited by Angury

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 minutes ago, Angury said:

 

I agree. I reread my post and I think it came across as more judgemental than I meant it to be - apologies.

 

No worries mate, it's all good :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, Madeleine said:

I couldn't get that cover image picture to work unfortunately.  I'm surprised you say you rarely see anyone reading, I commute and see plenty of people reading either books or kindle, so it's still alive and fairly well!

 

I think we probably live in very different areas. I see the odd person reading here or there such as on a train but a person reading in public is by no means a common sight here and those who choose to stand out like a sore thumb.

 

Personally, I try and take my book with me wherever possible. 

 

11 hours ago, Angury said:

 

I passed, but the real test will be when I start working in August with real patients. :o 

 

Splendid. Good luck with your future.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/17/2017 at 6:31 PM, David James said:

 

 

If you haven't already Angury, I recommend you to read Gustave Le Bon's works, especially his most known work The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind.

 

 

Also wanted to add, I just google'd this guy - thanks for the recommendation. I am always inspired by medics who have gone beyond their sphere into things like art, literature and language. According to wiki he also taught himself English and German - definitely someone I will look into. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it's bizarre that you (David James) could think anyone would think weirdly of someone reading Lolita near a school, or of reading a book about a serial killer in public, even a recently deceased killer. In the latter case, the subject would obviously be of interest to people at the moment because it's currently in the news. Do you think that somehow means someone reading a book about Brady actually condones what he did? Because that's the only logical conclusion I can come to when reading what you wrote. That's laughable and ridiculous.

 

For the record, I once read Lolita on public transport. I can't be bothered Googling the cover to include it here, but it has a cartoonish image of a young girl in a bikini. Not the most provocative Lolita cover out there, I'm sure, but it was distinctive. I had the book sitting on my lap (front cover up) while I was doing something else, and a gentlemen next to me engaged me in conversation about the book. He turned out to be a big fan of Nabokov and a few days later he arrived on the train with a couple of spare copies of other Nabokov books and gifted them to me. We ended up becoming great friends and stayed in touch for several years, discussing art and books (he remains the most well-read person I've ever met). At the time I was in my mid 20s and he was probably in his early/mid 60s. Based on what you've said, you would probably have thought him some kind of sicko and advised me to stay well away. Luckily I'm not so judgmental!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Angury said:

 

Also wanted to add, I just google'd this guy - thanks for the recommendation. I am always inspired by medics who have gone beyond their sphere into things like art, literature and language. According to wiki he also taught himself English and German - definitely someone I will look into. 

 

I thought you would have heard of him before I mentioned him. I've read all of his works that are available in English. He influenced a lot when it comes to crowd psychology, Mussolini, Hitler, Goebbels, Lenin, etc, all read his works.

 

2 hours ago, Kylie said:

I think it's bizarre that you (David James) could think anyone would think weirdly of someone reading Lolita near a school, or of reading a book about a serial killer in public, even a recently deceased killer. In the latter case, the subject would obviously be of interest to people at the moment because it's currently in the news. Do you think that somehow means someone reading a book about Brady actually condones what he did? Because that's the only logical conclusion I can come to when reading what you wrote. That's laughable and ridiculous.

 

For the record, I once read Lolita on public transport. I can't be bothered Googling the cover to include it here, but it has a cartoonish image of a young girl in a bikini. Not the most provocative Lolita cover out there, I'm sure, but it was distinctive. I had the book sitting on my lap (front cover up) while I was doing something else, and a gentlemen next to me engaged me in conversation about the book. He turned out to be a big fan of Nabokov and a few days later he arrived on the train with a couple of spare copies of other Nabokov books and gifted them to me. We ended up becoming great friends and stayed in touch for several years, discussing art and books (he remains the most well-read person I've ever met). At the time I was in my mid 20s and he was probably in his early/mid 60s. Based on what you've said, you would probably have thought him some kind of sicko and advised me to stay well away. Luckily I'm not so judgmental!

 

I didn't say I personally would think of someone as 'weird' per se but I do think it would be a rather irrational thing to do (in the UK - I don't know about elsewhere) where people have heard of the term 'Lolita' to mean exactly what the word means and the connotations are not widely regarded as positive (I'm talking about the term 'lolita' and not the book). I don't think reading a book about a serial killer equates to the reader condoning what the killer did but to read such material in public would certainly make people question the person "why are they reading that in public?" There's a reason that you never see people read these type of books in public a lot. I've never seen anyone read such material in public before. 

 

There are lots of different situations of where reading certain material in a certain area could lead to trouble. Would you read Mein Kampf in a largely Jewish area? It's bizarre to think that people can just read whatever material they want wherever they want. Of course 99.9% of people would just walk past and think whatever in their head but it only takes that one person to make a big fuss and before you know it you could get a lot of unwanted attention your way.

 

I think I've already covered what I mean when it comes to Lolita and reading it in public. It's obvious that with such books gender plays a large role in it. You're a female so it isn't the same as a male reading it due to the nature of the book. Look at the other example Angury gave when she read the book 'paedophiles in society' which she read in private but quite clearly acknowledges that a middle-aged man reading this book in public would turn heads and almost inevitably someone would make a comment. 

 

I've found these two reddit pages:

 

https://www.reddit.com/r/books/comments/2tm7fk/whats_the_most_embarrassing_to_read_in_public/

 

https://www.reddit.com/r/books/comments/515odp/would_you_feel_comfortable_reading_lolita_in/

 

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think Lolita is so well known now (and has been filmed etc) that maybe it wouldn't cause such a big reaction, although I admit a man reading it might look more suspicious than a woman.  You don't say where you're based so maybe in large cities in certain areas people wouldn't react so much to someone reading Lolita - how about A Clockwork Orange which is notoriously violent (although I haven't read it myself)?  I wonder if that would cause a reaction now. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Madeleine said:

I think Lolita is so well known now (and has been filmed etc) that maybe it wouldn't cause such a big reaction, although I admit a man reading it might look more suspicious than a woman.  You don't say where you're based so maybe in large cities in certain areas people wouldn't react so much to someone reading Lolita - how about A Clockwork Orange which is notoriously violent (although I haven't read it myself)?  I wonder if that would cause a reaction now. 

 

I think where you're based does have a large impact. I am currently in a capital city surrounded by mainly university students. I very rarely come across someone reading when I walk around the city centre or take public transport.

 

However, I am currently in the process of moving to a small little town, with the closest university roughly an hour away. I've only visited it twice so far, but each time I have been surrounded by people reading: in coffee shops, on the train, in the park etc. 

 

I do wonder if a large part of this has to do with how young (or old) you are. Most of my friends who are at university just don't read books that much anymore. And the ones who do read just wouldn't be seen doing it in public because y'know.. it's 'weird.' Maybe I have the wrong type of friends.. :P 

Edited by Angury

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Under normal circumstances I don't care if they see what I read. However, I have been accused a few times that I carry certain books just to 'show off' and that I don't really read them. They said that I as someone from a foreign descent couldn't possible read those books. They just refused to believe I enjoy reading that material . . . I was just sitting somewhere by myself reading, no matter if I'm at work or in some public space, people often make these kinds of remarks towards me. So for a long time I began hiding what I read. Now I just read anything, and if they make these nasty remarks, I either ignore them or I start talking about books I have read and ask them what they think of the many theories and authors. A question people who makes these kinds of nasty remarks mostly don't know how to answer. After that they tend to leave me and my books alone.

 

Books are the best company. If I could choose between a book and a human, I'd go for the book any time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/20/2017 at 10:02 AM, Madeleine said:

I think Lolita is so well known now (and has been filmed etc) that maybe it wouldn't cause such a big reaction, although I admit a man reading it might look more suspicious than a woman.  You don't say where you're based so maybe in large cities in certain areas people wouldn't react so much to someone reading Lolita - how about A Clockwork Orange which is notoriously violent (although I haven't read it myself)?  I wonder if that would cause a reaction now. 

 

A Clockwork Orange is also a well known film but it doesn't seem to have taken away the notoriety of it. I can only give my opinion from a male perspective and I also think reading A Clockwork Orange would also vary between whether the reader were to be a male or female. I don't think people would necessarily be vocal towards a male reading it in public but I'd say without a doubt it would make people turn their heads and make a rather sharp judgement of you and my guess is that it would more than likely be negative. Some people might even feel intrigued if they were to see someone reading such a book. To be honest, I don't think people would be vocal with you irrespective of what book you were to be reading in public, if such a thing did happen, I think such people would more than likely just be troublemakers and use the book as an excuse to pick a quarrel and potential fight. 

 

On 6/21/2017 at 11:59 AM, sadya said:

Books are the best company. If I could choose between a book and a human, I'd go for the book any time.

 

That's a very leery statement in my opinion. I wonder how many other people feel the same way as you do.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You may feel as leery about it as you wish, we are all entitled to our own opinions. I'd rather not be hurt again by other people, thank you. Too often my kindness has been returned by nastiness. I doubt you would like people who treat you that way. Unless you are like them . . . 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

With regard to actually seeing people read - I have to say that on the (now sadly rare) occasion that I go to London and use the tube, it always strikes me how many people I see reading. Plus, a lot of the ads going down the escalators are for books. Not something that I see really at home (Birmingham).

 

Yes, we don't have a tube at home and I don't use public transport too often, but reading does seem to be more popular in London than elsewhere in the country.

 

As for books being better company than people: as an introvert, I get that completely!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I see loads of people reading in my area (around Bath in Somerset).  I have a friend who goes on long walks reading a book - I have to say I've never done that.  I'm so clumsy and can trip over nothing, without factoring reading into the equation!  :giggle2:

 

I always have a book with me, wherever I go, just in case there is a reading opportunity!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've seen people walking along and reading too (for some reason much less annoying if they're reading a book than if they're glued to their phone!) however it's also way too hazardous for me to even contemplate, I have enough trouble looking where I'm going as it is, especially with all the uneven pavements.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Janet said:

I see loads of people reading in my area (around Bath in Somerset).  I have a friend who goes on long walks reading a book - I have to say I've never done that.  I'm so clumsy and can trip over nothing, without factoring reading into the equation!  :giggle2:

 

I always have a book with me, wherever I go, just in case there is a reading opportunity!

 

Your friend sounds like they are off their rocker! :D Surely walking and reading a book at the same time isn't the most sensible thing to do. I've never seen anyone doing it.

 

 

4 hours ago, Madeleine said:

I've seen people walking along and reading too (for some reason much less annoying if they're reading a book than if they're glued to their phone!) however it's also way too hazardous for me to even contemplate, I have enough trouble looking where I'm going as it is, especially with all the uneven pavements.

 

Exactly. Why would someone try and read a book whilst walking? :wacko: Plus, I doubt you could really concentrate.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I must confess I do take care what books I read in public - when I'm reading paper books, that is. I find my Kindle very useful if I want to keep a low profile, and can peacefully read books with for instance the word "virgin" in the title (crops up a lot in historical novels!) without someone inevitably starting a loud conversation about virgins, to the discomfort of many!

 

Generally speaking though yes, I do find that people judge. If I read a "woman's book* (i.e. written by a woman) men take a glance, smile, and clearly judge me as lightweight " romantic".

Women may take a look and be comfortable, or even start a chat (which I love) about favourite reads. 

Classic novels (by whoever) tend to make people think I'm studying for something and shouldn't be disturbed! 

Whodunnits seem to be generally acceptable whether written by male or female.  

Traditional " men's authors" like Wilbur Smith, frequently cause unrest among any blokes present, who seem to take offence that I'm reading something they'd choose themselves - ?!

 

So you can see where a Kindle has its usefulness, in keeping a low profile.

 

Yes, I find that people do judge a person on their book choices, but unfortunately as a race we tend to judge from outward appearances generally, when someone is a stranger to us. 

 

"Never judge a book by its cover" applies to people, too. :D

 

Happy reading, All.

 

 

Edited by Booknutt

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×