Bibliophilic Voyeurism

Something about that title puts my mind firmly in the gutter. It’s entrenched there most of the time anyways, I just can’t help it. But people was I MEANT WAS I am always sneaking peeks at what people are reading. I get a rush when I can read the cover, catch the title on top of a page, or even just recognize the cover art from a distance.

I’m not ashamed to be a bibliophilic voyeur (did I make that term up?), and my favorite way to act out this perversion is at the library. As much as I love the library I am SURE I am not the most perverted person there, puhlease, have you ever BEEN to the DC public libraries? They have to have to have guards there to stop people from sleeping/doing drugs/other things I don’t want to imagine.

Which reminds me of this disturbing scene in The Squid and Whale which scarred me for life. One of the sons is like TEN YEARS OLD and is all messed up from his parents’ divorce and JERKS OFF IN HIS SCHOOL LIBRARY (10 year olds can do that?) and then WIPES IT ON THE BOOKS!!!!! Sooooo sick and foul.

Aren’t you glad I shared?

So why the library? I’ve mentioned this before, but what REALLY makes my skirt fly up is when I find someone elses old library receipt in a book I borrow.

It’s a a more organic “If you like ___ then try ____” and I feel more of a connection since it is by accident and in person, rather than Amazon making a suggestion.

I posted earlier about one I found, and when I cracked open my newest library book last night I found my second one!!!! I tell ya it’s the little things in life that really count. This teensy scarp of paper put a grin on this lusty reader’s face:


It’s not the best I’ve ever found, only one other book was on it, so I deflated a little bit, but persevered and looked up Songs for the Missing. A little more depressing than my usual fare (how a family is affected by the disappearance of their 18 year old daughter) and the book I’m currently reading (Wifey) is also a bit depressing so I don’t think I’m picking it up anytime soon.

But finding that definitely put a twinkle in this voyeur’s eye.


9 Responses

  1. I love, love, love finding old book receipts too! There’s also a blog you might like: Seen Reading ( Local lady spies on what people are reading and posts an excerpt from the page she estimates they’re at. Kinda cool.

  2. I love catching glimpses of what people are reading too. It’s always interesting when I see someone reading something that I have either already read or want to read. I just have to reign in the impulse to ask total strangers what chapter they’re up to :)

    Olga, I’ll have to check out that site you posted – sounds interesting :)

  3. omg, i haven’t seen that movie but now I’M traumatized as well. and feel the need to go purel my hands.

  4. I especially like seeing people read books I’ve read!

  5. Olga: TRES COOL thank you for sending that to me! i like on her “about page” she describes it as sightings of readers in the wild!

    for the love of pics: sometimes it is SO HARD not to talk to people, i just never know whether my approach will be creepy/stalkerish, or welcome….

    Alice: It’s like the Royal Tennenbaums (sp?) but more deviant and DISTURBING BC ITS BASED ON A TRUE STORY. ok stepping away from the caps lock now.

    Art: me too! then its the HARDEST to hold myself back

  6. I, too, feel strange when I find these or other “book marks” left behind. It’s like a glimpse of someone else. Just a glimpse. But I like found things. If you do, too, you’ll probably like:

  7. I guess I should have known libraries have “receipts” now, but it still makes me kind of sad. I remember the days when they just had index cards in pockets, and you crossed out the person before you and wrote your name in.


  8. i love seeing what people are reading! it makes me smile. i like to compare the book with the person too.

  9. I do the same thing all the time when I check out books from the library… it’s a great source of recommendation!

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