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Repost: 101 Books Guide To Carrying An Embarrassing Book In Public

It’s rerun week at 101 Books! Today’s post originally appeared on August 1, 2011. 101 Books will return live on Monday July 9. 

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Here’s the situation: You’ve got a book with a questionable cover—nothing dirty. You’re just a little self-conscious about this book’s cover when you carry it in public.

Maybe you’re a guy who likes Danielle Steel novels. Or maybe you’re a girl who enjoys the occasional foray into Fabio-inspired grocery store romance novels. Hey, whatever floats your boat, right?

But if you want to take the book out on your lunch break, you might be a little leery of letting fellow diners know about your Fabio obsession.

If you’ll remember from earlier this year, I encountered this whole carrying an “embarrassing”-book-in-public issue while reading a Judy Blume book. Now, I’m facing it to a slighter degree with The French Lieutenant’s Woman.

So, using The French Lieutenant’s Woman as an example, I’ve come up with a few book carrying techniques that may or may not help you work around this problem.

The Confident Carry

With this approach, you are taking on the world. You’re saying, “I know you see the barechested woman with flowing hair on this cover, and I don’t care.” If you’re bold enough and confident enough in your reading selections to use this technique, then pat yourself on the back. You’ll go far in life.

The Exposed Backside

This technique, while less confident than The Confident Carry (which really goes without saying), is more effective from long distances. The closer someone gets to you while you are using this technique, the more likely they are to catch a few words from the book’s back cover description—like “Jacinda is madly in love with Juan, a horse farmer from Peru. But when he faces deportation, Jacinda must choose between her life on a Victorian estate or life with Juan on a Peruvian horse farm.”

The Outward Facing Spine

This approach conceals the cover to most everyone, with the exception of small children and dwarves or hobbits who might be directly underneath you. But it also exposes the book’s spine. And, yes, there in bold font on the spine is the book’s title. If the title is not as embarrassing as the cover, you might feel safe with this technique. But if the title is something like The Horse Farmer’s Mistress: A Peruvian Tale of Passion, you might consider adopting another approach. Your call.

The Downward Facing Fabio

If you’re concerned about stares and furrowed brows from strangers, the Downward Facing Fabio approach may be your best bet. Title concealed. Cover facing down. Sure, the book summary is still facing up, but if you are quick on your toes you can switch to The Outward Facing Spine technique when needed. One word of caution with this approach—it may appear as if you have something really sinister to hide. You’re not reading Mein Kampf or “The Unabomber’s Manifesto,” but your fellow restaurant patrons don’t know that, as they’re left to wonder, “Why is he carrying that book in such a discreet way?”

So next time you’re reading an embarrassing book in public, take advantage of one (or all) of these carrying techniques and see what works best for you.

Hopefully, with a little practice, you’ll feel liberated enough to read your favorite Danielle Steele novel at Panera Bread.

Any other carrying suggestions?

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14 Comments Post a comment
  1. As I said the first time, carry it loud and carry it proud. I think it’s great to make people look twice when they see what you’re reading. It often times opens eyes and forces people to think we’ll if he’s reading it… (But I do like the humor in the piece :-D)

    Like

    July 3, 2012
  2. RFL #

    Haha! I’ve felt this with some of my book choices, but I always shrug and think, “At least I’m reading something.” Here are some thoughts I had. Replace the book jacket with something less embarrassing. Tuck it between the pages of the Wall Street Journal. Kindle or Nook downloads only for embarrassing books. Bring your big purse 🙂 But mainly, read whatever you like and don’t worry about what anyone else thinks. They are probably too busy looking their phones to notice anyway.

    Like

    July 3, 2012
  3. Norway #

    Having a nook comes with advantages.

    Like

    July 3, 2012
  4. that’s why everyone should have a kindle for those embarrassing books!

    Like

    July 3, 2012
  5. Lol, very interesting! I’v had to use 1 and 2 a few times…

    Like

    July 3, 2012
  6. If I don’t have my handy knapsack, I will carry it tucked under my arm, mostly concealed, leaving my hands free for coffee and/or cellphone. But I’m not usually reading embarrassing books in public. Fifty Shades of Grey, if I were to read it, would never, ever make it into the light of day.

    Like

    July 3, 2012
  7. This is something I’ve never given thought to, until just now. I’ve always carried and read regardless of the book. It can be a great conversation starter. That, I have noticed. People generally just ask about the book and the one thing they all want to know – Is it any good?

    My two cents,
    O.D.

    Like

    July 3, 2012
  8. Josh Mahler #

    Reblogged this on The Josh Mahler Reader.

    Like

    July 3, 2012
  9. lol – what about carrying books you are proud of – like all of Shakespeare’s works in one large volume – I use a little red wagon

    Like

    July 3, 2012
  10. Funny!

    Like

    July 4, 2012
  11. How about putting the book in a bag? =)

    Like

    July 4, 2012
  12. There’s always the loud and defensive approach. When I worked in an inner city library located beside a factory, a 400 pound guy would come in every week and check out 30 harlequins. He’d walk up to the desk, and before I could say hello, would roar “They’re for my wife.” Then he’d shoot looks of death to everyone else in the library as he walked out. In your situation, you could sub in “It’s for a class” and see if it would do the trick.

    Like

    July 5, 2012
  13. Reblogged this on Truths Universally Acknowledged and commented:
    This is my life. I have implemented all of these techniques, plus some special ones of my own invention. Only difference, I’m the college-aged sorority girl trying to hide some geek-fantasy novel like “The Lord of the Rings” or “A Game of Thrones” instead of Fabio romances.

    Like

    April 1, 2013

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  1. Fifty Shades of WHEN THE HELL DID PEOPLE START READING THIS STUFF IN PUBLIC?!?!? | The Baffled King Composing

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