The A train yesterday. Morning rush. Crowded. Lots of readers. Seeing so many people reading when I’m out and about makes me happy.
But then I look at the page displayed on the Nook of the woman next to me. Clearly from a chapter that must be called, “Disgusting Stereotypes about Haitians and How We Will Perpetuate Them.” Its central premise seems to be that Haitians are worshipers of evil and that their pagan Voodoo ways are the cause of all their problems.
Seriously? I read along with her for a few pages to see if maybe there will appear a magic line like: “Oh, these are the kinds of small-minded, hurtful things that small-minded hurtful people say about Haitians.” No such luck.
But the woman across from me is reading Water for Elephants. Yes, yes, she’s reading a new printing that has Robert Pattinson on the cover and that pisses me off, but still. It’s a great book even with the lame “Now a major motion picture!” cover.
The woman next to her is reading Minding God’s Business. I have no idea what this book is, but the title makes me smile. Like you’re eavesdropping on God, or butting into divine conversations out of which you should definitely be keeping. Silly.
I look around: kid reading Catching Fire, man reading Deathly Hallows, another with a graphic novel, a slew of spines I can’t see, a whole bunch of people deep in a newspaper. Half a dozen Kindles, a few more Nooks, a handful of iPads.
I love-love-love to see people reading. And I really am working on getting past my “You’re reading that?” snobbery (though I still can’t get behind a book that blames the people of a country for their misfortunes because of a string of lies about a religion). I’m happy to see all these readers. Happy, encouraged, affirmed.
Until she gets on. Gorgeous, tiny Latina, closed and angry face. She squeezes into a seat between two bigger women and pulls out a book: Why Men Love Bitches. I want to be kidding. I do. I’m not. The page she opens to is a rule (number 63? 68?) that says we need to keep men guessing and confused by not being available, that this behavior will drive them into our arms. Oh. Right. So it’s not an “explaining how men work” book but a “how you can be the kind of bitch men will love” book? Swell.
I try to console myself with my old stand-by: “Hey, at least she’s reading something,” but it doesn’t work. Keeps getting drowned out by, “You’re reading that?” Feh.