A couple of years ago, Julie Wilson had a bizarre idea. Rather than reviewing books, she’d observe what people were reading in public, then she’d use her blog to tell people about what she’d seen. Hence Seen Reading, a blog that could be infinitely missable, but is made sublime by Wilson’s wit and sense of timing, fun and style.
On Seen Reading, Wilson herself explains the concept:
What is Seen Reading?
1. I see you reading.
2. I guesstimate where you are in the book.
3. I trip on over to the bookstore and make a note of the text.
4. I let my imagination rip.
5. Readers become celebrities.
6. People get giddy and buy more books.
Each day’s entry begins with a description of Wilson’s chosen target. Here, for example, is what Wilson reported for Seen Reading on July 31st. The book in question is Harlan Coban’s The Final Detail:
Doctor’s office, masked and waiting.
Caucasian woman, mid 30s, with shoulder length blond hair, wearing blue T-shirt, khaki capris, and leather sandals. She coughs nonstop, mask tied, hands free.
This is followed by a short excerpt taken from about the place in the book where the subject was reading followed by a few warmly Wilson-style remarks. Nor must you actually read Seen Reading: each entry has a podcast version, as well. (Says Wilson: “I highly recommend you listen to it while riding the subway or bus. I cannot, however, condone you listening to it while riding a bike.”)
Want to get your book reviewed on Seen Reading? Not gonna happen. “Sightings must take place in the wild,” says Wilson. “Part of the thrill for me is encountering readers in their natural habitats.”
For my part, I know that my own arrival as an author will be complete when Wilson reports she’s seen someone reading one of my books. In the meantime, I’ll track her finds right here.