Jul 20 2012 9:13am

Oddest Thing You’ve Seen Someone Read in Public?

Women Reading

Now that everyone, it seems, has purchased E.L. James’s Fifty Shades of Grey, of course they’re reading it. In public. On public transportation, on the beach, in doctors’ offices.

People who aren’t regular readers, or at least not regular romance readers, seem to be shocked that anyone would be seen with a book as scandalous as Fifty Shades in public. We know better, of course, having doubtless read just as shocking, if not more so, books than Fifty.

But that begs the question, as posed in a recent New York Times piece: What’s the oddest/strangest/weirdest thing you’ve ever spotted someone reading in public?

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Aly O'Hare
1. wingZER0angel
Best thing about Kindle, no one can see what you're reading.

No idea what this book is about, but a while ago I saw a woman on the Metro reading "Hooker to Housewife" during her commute.
Megan Frampton
2. MFrampton
@wingZERoangel: That is way odder than anything I've spotted. I'm trying to think of embarrassing things people have read--probably the most embarrassing books are mine, back when I was reading pbs as opposed to on my Kindle. Several years ago, I would bend back the covers to avoid people seeing what I was reading, but then I got all savagely proud of romance, and decided not to hide it.
The best was seeing this woman on the subway reading Fifty Shades, and watching her facial expressions. She was very expressive, and it was really cute!
Linda Morris
3. Linda Morris
Living in a city with little to no mass transit, I don't get the chance to snoop on others' reading much. I did read a funny article the other day about a man who got all kinds of weird looks while reading "Mein Kampf" on the NYC subway. (He was not a neo-Nazi, just a history buff, but that didn't keep people from glaring at him.)
Linda Morris
4. Lucy Monroe
I'm wracking my brain for something strange I've seen someone read, but honestly? I doubt I've ever considered someone's taste in reading strange. Interesting maybe... The strangest moment I've had was sneaking through my mom's bedroom (at a beach house we were staying at as a family one weekend) to use the bathroom in the wee hours only to find her up and reading one of my books. She told me she closed her eyes during the love scenes! LOL Gosh, I miss her. :)
Myretta Robens
5. Myretta
As I used to regularly take public transportation into Harvard Square, I have seen everything from children's books to texts on quantum physics. I like seeing people reading fiction (or I assume its fiction based on the covers) in languages other than English. I also think it's odd seeing people examining spreadsheets on public transportation. Does that count as reading?
S Tieh
6. infinitieh
Years ago, on the NYC subway, my attention was caught by a woman. She was wide-eyed and clutching the arm of the guy she was with. I was confused; no one rode the subway looking that horrified, or looking at people in the face for that matter. Then the man took out a travel guide (in Swedish or some other European language that I didn't recognize) - they were tourists. I was tempted to tell the woman that being that scared on the subway was not a good idea but since I had no idea whether she spoke any English, I didn't.

Does that count? The book wasn't odd but her reaction to being on a number train in Manhattan was.
Jessica O'Brien
7. JLOBrien
I was on the ferry and I got up to get a cup of coffee when I noticed a woman reading one of those "For Dummies" books.

As I returned from getting my coffee..I got a closer look.

It was "Sex for Dummies"

I admire her desire to further her education on the subject lol.
Vanessa Ouadi
8. Lafka
Living in Paris and taking the subway on a daily basis, I've come across quite a number of weird public reading sessions. I'm always equally appalled by people who read either religious books (the Bible, the Quran, or those new-age alternative half-sectarian books) or porn (and I do mean porn, not smutty romance books). Those strike me as the kind of books one reads within the privacy of one's home, not in the middle of the chaos of public transportation. But, hey, to each his own...
Lora Patten
9. LadyRed
I'd say the oddest thing I have seen someone read in public was a copy of Penthouse Magazine, what was worse was the location. This guy was sitting in the playplace at McDonald's while his kids played and he sat there totally oblivious to those around him while reading his magazine exposed for all to see. One of the patrons must have said something to the manager on duty because after about half an hour she came in and told him that he would either have to put the magazine up or leave. Frankly, the fact that the guy was reading Penthouse around children kind of creeped me out.
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