Thursday, May 12, 2011

The Secret Reader

One of the lovely things about the e-book reader is the fact that it lets one read whatever one wants with perfect anonymity, anywhere one wants, and no one knows whether you’re reading Three Men in a Boat -- okay, the might think that’s a gay ménage, anyway -- er, Les Miserables, or As She's Told. Or anything in between. Men can now read romances in public. Women can now read porn. Yay, freedom!

Of course, before the e-book reader, there was the book cover, but book covers just meant people assumed you were reading smut no matter what, and would crane to get a better look. At least, that’s what I assumed they’d do. The one person I know who used book covers was actually reading SF novels most of the time, and I know because I craned.

There’s a good side and a bad side to this, of course. The bad side is that you’re less likely to meet someone with similar interests, but the internet provides those opportunities in abundance. All you have to do is read this blog! The good side is that you don’t have to worry that someone is going to decide that if you like “those kind of books” you might enjoy being stalked. I’m thinking the good outweighs the bad, and I think I’m only slightly prejudiced by the fact that I earn part of my living by selling e-books.

So there we are with our Kindle in hand, reading Comfort Object, sitting on the subway, secure in the fact that our expression and manner clearly indicates that we are a Jane Austen reader. It all seems like a good plan, until things start getting heated. Am I blushing? Will anyone notice my discreet little squirms? And how awkward it is when Nell is getting a good arse fucking and you feel like the young man next to you is reading every line, even though you know his angle makes that almost impossible?

Despite what I read and write, I’ve never felt like I knew what kind of books anyone else was reading on their e-reader. I might enjoy thinking they’re reading one of my books, but the odds aren’t especially good, and I know that. I have never ever thought, “Oh, that person’s clearly reading something that’s making them horny.” So my guess is that it is, in fact, perfectly fine to read that BDSM novel in public.

In fact... I think I may even get a perverse thrill from it. :)

5 comments:

  1. I can't read the incredibly steamy parts in public. I just can't.

    I'm fine with the moderately steamy parts, but when things start getting too intense I have to switch to another book and come back to that one when I'm behind closed doors.

    Am I the only one who makes the text on my Kindle as small as legibly possible when I'm reading erotica in public?

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  2. Oh, Sindra, do I ever know what you mean! I keep hoping no one will sit next to me on the subway, but even when they don't I have this shrinking feeling in the back of my neck, as if someone is looking over my shoulder. And like Candace, I sometimes close the book and read something else; it's just too weird sometimes.

    I have to admit, it's NEVER occurred to me that anyone else with an ereader might be reading one of my books! (Why do I figure everyone else is reading mainstream, I wonder?)

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  3. I'm sure I commented on this, but blogger seems to have ate it when things went down. Heh, too bad it's not any fun when blogger goes down on us.

    But as to your post... I can't read the incredibly steamy parts in public. I just can't.

    I'm fine with the moderately steamy parts, but when things start getting too intense I have to switch to another book and come back to that one when I'm behind closed doors.

    Am I the only one who makes the text on my Kindle as small as legibly possible when I'm reading erotica in public?

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  4. Candace, I've tried that to the point of eyestrain! I still feel like someone with better vision is reading over my shoulder.

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  5. Lol I love too that people cant guess what I am reading, my standard respond when they ask what I am reading is: I am reading "A game of thrones".

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