Let’s Talk: Reading In Public…How Do You Handle It?

reading in public

“How do you handle it?” Β ????

Well doesn’t THAT sound way more dramatic than I meant it to be?

Because really, this discussion is quite a laid back topic. A topic that – although this is a discussion post – it’s much closer to being just a friendly chat.

Because I’m intrigued…

How do you handle reading in public?


Now, I’m not saying “how do you handle it” as if to say reading in public is impossible. Or that it’s particularly difficult at all. I mean come one, we’re bookworms. We could probably read from the top branch of a tree during a storm and not find it a problem.

Really just…

Do you read in public? Where/When?

Do you ever feel uncomfortable reading in public? Afraid that someone would judge the book you’re reading?

How do you react when seeing other people read in public? Do you go up and start a conversation if you recognize the book?

Maybe you prefer reading in public (say in a coffee shop)?




Yes, we’re having a scene. Because why not?

Right then. Imagine we’re friends (though I hope that doesn’t take much imagination πŸ™‚ ) and we’re sat in your favourite coffee shop.

Describe your favourite coffee shop to me in the comments, I’d love to hear about it. Now, mine is a small Starbucks that’s tucked away into the corner of this cute little place in the city called Orchard Square. This square is one of my favourite places, because it’s quiet, tucked away from the noise of the bustling city while being right in the centre of it all, and it holds my favourite Waterstones book shop. The coffee shop has a small lower floor seating area, but the main part is upstairs, complete with balcony. It’s warm and cosy, and exactly what I need.Β 

Now that we’ve taken a quick detour to your favourite coffee shop, we can have a good ol’ chat.


I personally have no issue with reading in public.

Actually, scratch that.

I DO have an issue…that being THERE NEVER SEEMS TO BE ENOUGH TIME.

But of course there is. So read I must.

My favourite sort of days are the ones where I meet up with someone I know on a lovely warm day, and we just go and sit somewhere nice and do our own thing. This for me, is of course, reading.

But most of the time it’s rainy grey weather here in England, and since I get cold really easily, I just have to keep my public reading to the transport system.

Do I ever feel embarrassed about the books I read?


Maybe if I read something like Fifty Shades of Grey I would…but I don’t… so I don’t.Β 

But now, here’s my confession. Yes, an actual confession. *Gulps*


I’m a show off.

Not the sort that thrusts the book in people’s faces like “LOOK AT THIS AREN’T I SOPHISTICATED?!?” Oh no no no. Just a subtle show off. The sort where absolutely NO ONE will realize that I’m showing off, apart from myself, because it’s all in my head. But here’s the situation:

I sit down on public transport. I happen to be sat across from an old woman. I take my backpack off and haul it onto my lap, digging around for something. I take my phone out, and practically hear the tut of the old woman’s tongue. See how hard her eyes roll in disdain for this generation. I ignore her, and pull out my book, throwing my phone back into my bag without even looking at it. It’s then that I see the woman almost do a double take, and glance at me in approval.

That, my friends, is the moment where I feel like a show off. Because ohhhh how smug do I feel for proving someone’s prejudice wrong.


When it comes to other people reading, I almost feel like a stalker. Because me being the shy creature I am, I won’t talk to someone unless they approach me first. So I don’t do the approaching. But if I see someone reading, I will subtly watch their hands for the entire journey until I manage to catch a glimpse of the title or cover, to figure out what they’re reading. You know, instead of just asking, which I’m sure would be much less creepy.

I also feel like that person gets an automatic stamp of approval from me. Sure, you can’t judge someone if you don’t know them…but reading makes everyone a better person in my mind.


As for my prefered reading place? Well, I still love to read in my bed. Like I said before, I get cold really easily, so I love just staying curled up under my duvet with a good coffee and my cat curled nearby.

book coffee 2
I haven’t actually read Passenger yet. This photo is a lieeeeee! No but really, substitute this book for any other and there ya go.Β 

However…I do love the idea of reading in a coffee shop. I have a very idealistic sort of image in my head. I’d love to be one of those people that becomes a “regular” at their favourite coffee shop (mine being the one described earlier), and feeling so content just going on their own, finding a seat, and reading for an hour or two. In my mind there’s just something so…Serene? Picturesque? Cosy? Storylike? There’s just something about it that makes me want to be one of those people.


I’m pretty sure I’ve prattled on enough now!

That was A LOT of rambling about books and coffee shops.

I hope you guys enjoyed this chat, as different as it was. It certainly seemed to last a while, but now it’s your turn!

Do you read in public? When/Where?

What goes through your head when you see other people reading? Are you intrigued about what book they hold, or not bothered? Do you strike up conversation?

Do you have a certain place you like to read when out?

Maybe you’ve had instances like my inner smugness? Tell me about them! I hope I’m not the only one!

Also, don’t forget to describe your favourite coffee shop to me (if you have one)!

Until next time…


Come and visit me!

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34 thoughts on “Let’s Talk: Reading In Public…How Do You Handle It?

  1. I have no problem reading in public! I’ll read anything anywhere, basically. πŸ˜ƒ I feel the same way whenever someone notices me reading. I’ll check my phone briefly and then get my book out and they’ll be shocked. Especially in a class where everyone with free time is on their phone. XD Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I LOVE to read in public. Especially during the school year because I always get to class early so I might as well use my time wisely and crack open a book.
    My favorite coffee shop is our local Sertino’s (I know it’s a chain but I don’t know how wide spread it is) because they are open 24 hours, you can buy and entire KETTLE of tea, and the people there are rather interesting. For instance I’ve seen many of people playing board games and also reading there. It’s just a nice environment.
    Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!
      I always get to places early too, so a book has become an essential in my bag!
      I LOVE the sound of Sertino’s! I’ve never heard of it before, but 24 hours and an entire kettle of tea? I’m sold! πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Pretty much all my reading gets done in public, I have a three hour commute to work every day, there and back, and with an hours lunch break in between I can get through a book a day on average. But I do prefer reading at home, in the privacy of my own room!
    I’m usually very secretive about what I read. I have a Kindle so that way no one can see what books I’m reading and I kind of like it that way, using public transport in London you make no contact with anyone else around you and that’s kind of perfect for me! πŸ™‚
    Great post! πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks!
      I’m not surprised you manage to read so much with THAT much travel time! And a Kindle is a great way to carry books, first because it’s so much more compact and second – no unwanted nosy-ness from strangers! Ahaha πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Wonderful post! I am also such a stalker when I see people reading in public – I don’t usually stare but in this case I do, intensely, at least until I can figure out what the book is. I don’t read much outside of my bed (yay for favorite place to read :)) – like I don’t just go somewhere public to read, but if I’m IN public doing something else (metro, waiting for coffee, etc), I have no shame about pulling out the book I always carry. Also love your anecdote about the woman on public transport, that is perfect!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad you enjoyed it haha!
      I’m pretty much exactly the same as you. Prefer to read in bed, but any spare waiting time will be spent reading. It also helps with me, because I’m SUCH an impatient person, so waiting around would annoy me, but if I’m reading instead it’ll actually calm me down and put me in a much better mood for the rest of the day!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I don’t mind reading in public. Usually I’ll have my kindle with me when I’m planning on reading in public, it’s easier than dragging a book with me (my bag also tends to be just a bit too small to fit a book). I did bring my physical copy of Beauty Queens out in public though, and I snickered a little to myself wondering what people must think when they just see the cover. I don’t worry about anyone approaching me while I’m reading, even just to ask about my book, because I’m Norwegian and Norwegians don’t ever talk to a stranger in public LOL. We don’t even make eye contact.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Most of the time people can’t actually see the cover while you’re reading because your hand covers it when you’re holding it, but I get what you mean about the Beauty Queens cover haha! If I ever feel weird about a cover I just think “well, at least I’m reading something”.
      To be honest most people don’t talk to strangers here either, so being approached isn’t really an issue for me either πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I don’t have a problem with reading in public. Usually I’m too engrossed in what I’m reading to care about what people around me are thinking. Though I usually read smaller books or use an ereader. Some of the fantasy books are just too heavy to lug around all day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. True! There have been times where I’ll be reading a huge fantasy book, but also take a small book around with me to read while I’m out of the house. Like when I was reading Winter and Outlander (both over 800 pages), I instead carried these “Penguin Little Black Classics” around (don’t know if you’ve heard of them??) which were literally about 50 pages each. They’re actually really handy for times like that! πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I read in public all the time, but I read ebooks on my cell phone or iPad. I read a lot of NA romances. If I were reading hardbacks of some of those books in public, I’d get a few stares because of the covers. That would be a little awkward. πŸ™ˆ

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I used to read a lot in public when I was in college because I had to spend a lot of time on trains and I didn’t care about what other people would think. I think now I would be a little bit embarassed for the covers of some books I read (because let’s be honest, new adult books don’t have the best covers) but I read mostly on my phone/Kobo so no one can see what I’m reading XD .
    I also love to stalk what other people are reading around. It’s even better if I see someone that is reading a book I loved πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Definitely! I know the phrase “don’t judge a book by its cover” is a thing but New Adult book covers can just be awful…or awkward. Or both? Ahaha!
      When I see people reading books I love, I literally just think “YESSSSS” in my head and nod in approval πŸ˜† πŸ˜€


  9. I can read in public but I have such a short attention span that I’m constantly getting distracted. I don’t get embarrassed by what I’m reading and I have no problem looking like an idiot trying to find a comfy reading position. I usually have to put headphones in and listen to classical music or movie soundtracks to help me focus. If I don’t have headphones in I’m constantly reacting to the noises around me.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Haha I don’t really go out much, so I only really read at home. πŸ˜› I do get some reading done when waiting for public transport tho!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I do read in public! Usually anywhere, I don’y have a real preference. I am a college student, so I have lots of places on campus to chill while I wait for class or something. I grew up in a loud house, so I can zone things out pretty easily.

    I don’t really feel uncomfortable about it. I can kinda relate with subtly showing off, but it is veeeery subtle. As for judgement, I couldn’t care less. As long as it doesn’t have something really inappropriate on the cover. And if people can’t recognize it by its cover, they shouldn’t be judging if they’re trying to read over my shoulder and see something they don’t approve. Back off. Of course, I don’t read anything like 50 Shades, so I’m good there.

    I wish I was social enough to start conversations! I’m the same – waiting for others to start. But I always try and build up courage if I see them reading something we could discuss. Then again, I also worry if they might not WANT anyone to interrupt reading…

    I don’t prefer reading in public, but I can do it. I can’t do it if there’s an emotional part and I want to see how it may truly affect me (as in I like finding books that make me cry) because my body REFUSES to cry in front of people in that situation. Or just really intense parts in which I want NO INTERRUPTIONS.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree with everything you said! If people want to judge – well hey, at least you’re reading. What’re they doing with their time apart from judging people?
      And with the emotions thing – YES YES YES. Usually if I know a book will make me cry, I’ll wait till I’m at home so I can let it all out in full force haha!

      Liked by 1 person

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