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!
Hope all is going well and the words are flowing.
Julie, that made my day!
Hey, Sandra! Very cool. Thank you for posting about SeenReading.com. I'll be continuing the site as a personal blog, which will definitely include the odd bit of SeenReading microfiction. In the meantime, I'm working on a mss of microfiction based on these sightings. Fingers crossed, an adventurous pub will see the possibilities of tiny fiction created for tiny places! It's been a remarkable writing exercise, something I plan to keep doing around other themes. It brings me a lot of satisfaction.
Again, thank you for visiting and giving Seen Reading your thumbs up!
Hey, check it. You're actually and truly the 2nd last official Seen Reading sighting. (How pleased was I to see someone reading your book!)
It would be a charming exercise, Susanne. You've caught someone at a rather intimate moment, engrossed in a fantasy world. It lends itself to imagining their real life.
HistFicChick: I also will comment "great book!" to someone if it's a book I read and loved.
This sounds like a great writing exercise!
That's so funny, Sandra! I do exactly the same thing. Especially to amuse myself when I'm stuck on a crowded subway. I've gotten into great conversations with random strangers about the book they're reading if it's one I myself have read and particularly enjoyed. The next time you see someone reading one of your books you should covertly ask them how their book is going…and then reveal your true identity. Happy snooping!! – Allie