I always try to see the title of a book a stranger is engrossed in. Sometimes I’ve had to refrain from simply asking. And sometimes I’ve lurked, coming around from behind, so great is my urge to know.
Of course the ultimate “catch” would be to discover someone reading one of my books. Would I reveal myself? Would I be believed? This scenario has yet to be tested.
All this came to mind discovering the delightful blog, SeenReading.com. Torontonian Julie Wilson takes book lurking to a new dimension: she documents where the reader was sighted, what he or she looked like, was wearing etc., and what book was being read. She gets close enough to see what page the reader is on, and then goes to a bookstore, finds the book, and copies out a passage. (She got into a little trouble, doing this).
And then she writes a fictional paragraph about this reader. Here’s one example from March of this year:
When her son was young, he was a curious collector. In particular, he liked to take random Polaroid pictures, filing each one away for future consideration. One morning, she came across a dragonfly that had died on their back deck. Before she could remove it, her son had pushed past her, camera poised. He took the picture, pulling the tab and counting down. —I love the light of early dawn,— he said, kicking the dragonfly between the wooden slats.
What a writer! I understand that she is giving up this blog for another project. I hope she continues to post, even if only now and then. In any case, the archives are full of such treasures. Enjoy!