callmemadam (callmemadam) wrote,

What do you call visual earwigging?

I can’t think of a word for it. I’ve just been reading what Cornflower has to say about overhearing conversations about books or noticing what other people are reading. It is interesting; I used to love Bookish New Yorker’s ‘Seen on the subway’ feature when she was writing it. I’m inhibited though. When I was very small I was travelling somewhere with my parents, either on a bus or a tube, when I read out something from the back of someone’s newspaper and asked them about it. I got such a ticking off about what terribly bad manners it was to look at someone else’s paper that I still don’t do it.

Now the boot is on the other foot. I don’t get out much but when I do I tend to take my Kindle with me and it’s a real ice-breaker. ‘Ooh, may I look?’ Next thing I know I have an admiring little crowd around me while I expound its virtues and hot discussions start up about being able to store all those books on it compared with the pleasure of owning ‘real’ books. If a person is reading from a Kindle of course, no one knows what they’re reading, as Knife & Packer showed in the cartoon I used here. A market there for X-ray specs?
Tags: kindle

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