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.
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?