Girl on the Train, People Watching for your Benefit

This month I was on a mission to be a “secret shopper” and find out what other people are reading to bring you some interesting Summer Reading suggestions. This meant that I was going to put my 2+ hour daily commute on public transportation to good use by observing what my fellow passengers were reading. I immediately hit three major roadblocks:

1 – Most people reads from their Kindles. Since people tend to read on the train to avoid human interactions, I couldn’t break this unspoken rule by verbally asking them what they were reading. However, I have come to believe that a few individuals were just staring at blank screens and zoning out, clearly some form of meditation.

2 – Most people read their books like they are smuggling contraband, holding them close to their chests. Plus, they either removed the dustcovers or they put on their own book covers, which is a very common thing to do when reading a romance novel in public so everyone doesn’t see a sexy man chest cover the first thing in the morning.

3 – I am no Jenny McCarthy; I could never be a spy. So unless the books were in my immediate area, I really couldn’t see the book titles. I blame the constant swaying of the train on the tracks and not, I repeat not, on my eye sight. I don’t need glasses. (Note to Self: I should probably make an appointment with an Ophthalmologist.)

After all those disclaimers, below are some involuntarily book recommendations from passengers who brought in regular books and made the mistake of sitting near me.

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon: This 896 page book has the added benefit of also serving as a heavy blunt object in the case of a self-defense emergency. The book also breaks the no talking rule as Jamie Fraser Fever is at a record high. Many women give the nod of approval when this book is out in the open.

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein: It was hard not to notice that the reader was holding back tears. I believe this excellent book should come with a warning, to all animal lovers that this book is worth the read but not to expect to have dry eyes.    

Wicked Plants by Amy Stewart: As the person next to me read this book, I fought hard against sympathy itching while repressing memories of past poison ivy experiences.

Girl on the Train


Lastly, My Recommendation: Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, strictly for the synchronicity to my blog’s theme. It’s getting a lot of buzz, awards, and a movie deal so it doesn’t need me to sing it’s praises but that won’t stop me. However it was almost creepy to be reading a book about a complicated woman describing the minutia of daily life on a commuter train when this reader was on a train trying NOT to identify with the messed up main character. It’s kind of like reading Moby Dick while on a boat, why do that to yourself?

So what are you reading right now? Or more interesting, what book have you seen someone else reading?


About Jessie Smith

Health Care Worker by Day, Aspiring Author by Night and 24/7 Staff for Riley (Corgie/Tibetan Spaniel Mix)

Posted on June 22, 2015, in Auth: Jessie Smith and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Excellent research, Ms. Smith! I’ve met many now friends because we struck up a conversation about a book they or I were reading in class, coffee shop, or on a commuter bus/train. It’s kind of sad that we can’t see what people are reading on their e-readers, but the convenience of carrying hundreds of books on my Nook won’t allow me to morn for long. 🙂


  2. No books where the dog dies! Ugh. Altho I suppose crying on the way to work on a Monday wouldn’t surprise anyone. 😀


  3. Oops. I meant, “that started it all.”


  4. So funny! I didn’t think that people still hide their book covers when reading a romance since so many romances no longer have the clinch. When I’m taking the MAX or the bus, I’ll read either a book or Kindle but I prefer a kindle because it’s so much more portable. I just finished reading The Five Love Languages for Singles by Gary Chapman. I’m now reading the bestseller tat started it all: The Five Love Languages. Phenomenal reads!


    • Thanks for the book recommendations~ I own a kindle because so many friends are self-published but I’m probably the last generation who loves to read from actual books.


      • Actually, I read “The Five Love Languages for Singles” on my Kindle, but I’m now reading “The Five Love Languages” in trade paperback. I really prefer reading print books but it’s easier on my eyes to read from a Kindle.

        BTW, these books offer great insight into communicating with others whether or not you’re in a romantic relationship.


  5. You always make life such an adventure. Thanks for taking the bullet for us


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