I had a day in London yesterday and travelling on the tube between Piccadilly and King’s Cross I sat opposite a young man who was totally engrossed in his SF novel, Frank Herbert’s Heretics of Dune. He was far away, on another planet. One of the consequences of people reading so much electronically is that you can’t see what it is that they are reading. Fifty Shades of Grey or War and Peace? There’s no way of knowing. And it’s not just young people: I noticed an elderly couple on the train reading on their ipads. I regret this, as I do like to see what I can spot people reading when I travel to and around London. This time I only bagged Frank Herbert and a young woman reading Terry Prachett on the train back to Chesterfield. I particularly like it when I see young people reading the classics. I once saw a young woman reading a Graham Greene novel in a waiting room at Moorfields Eye Hospital.
Sadly I have never spotted anyone reading one of my novels. I guess that must sometimes happen to people who write best-sellers. However I did once see someone buying a copy of my edition of William Morris’s writing on art and design in the V and A and that was a thrill.