Reading books in public

I am one of those anomalies that prefer to read books on my phone. I find physical books impractical for many reasons; they don’t always fit in my purse, they’re heavy, they require proper lighting to read and depending on what you’re reading – it can be embarrassing. I would never be caught dead on the subway reading “He’s just not that into you – the no-excuses truth to understanding guys” (and yes, I have read that and it was hilarious and eye opening!) or god forbid the Fifty shades of grey trilogy (and yes, I’ve read those too, and Twilight, don’t get me started!) 

That being said, if you read books on your phone, you’re just one of the passengers with their head in their phone. It looks like you’re scrolling social media, watching YouTube, or whatever scrollers do. The optics of that might not be what you want, since you are in fact a reader and not a scroller. And maybe you want to show the world around you that you are immersed in a different world. The romance of the book reading in public is lost if you read on your phone. There’s a reason why there’s an instagram account dedicated to hot dudes reading in public that has over a million followers. And they are all carrying physical books, there are no e-readers there. 

Think about it, if you’re at a restaurant and you’re eating alone. If you have a book, in a sense, you have company. It’s an armor and it’s amour all at once. The scene set’s itself and the mood will be based on the story that you are reading. It’s also comforting to those around you and it’s a conversation topic. I was sitting at a cafe reading normal people by Sally Rooney and a guy stopped by as he was leaving and said “that’s a great book, I hope you enjoy it”. This would have never happened if I was reading on my phone.

“Chance encounters are what keep us going”

Murakami, Kafka on the shore

I have non-reader friends who tell me that they “can’t read because it makes them sleepy”. I find it concerning that we’ve become so addicted to the blue light from our screens that the second we pick up paper we immediately fall asleep. Or maybe they are reading the wrong books. I’ve spent more nights frantically turning pages in a story then I have falling asleep with a book in my hand. Anyway, I’m going off topic so I’ll leave it with this. Even though I prefer reading on my phone because it’s easier to scroll, it’s backlit, and fits in my back pocket – you will always find me with a physical book in hand. And every time I see someone else with a book I will strain my neck to see what they are reading, and if I know the book you are reading, it excites me as if we are sharing a secret.