Can You Attract More Flies With “Heart of Darkness” Than You Can With “War & Peace”?


A coworker of mine had an interesting question/observation about reading on public transportation that I had to twist her arm so that she would love to share with you!  You see, this is sort of the inverse problem we have here at betweenthelines.  Normally, we are trying to decide whose book to showcase on here, or with whom we can do a little interview about the book (s)he is reading.  But what about when it’s YOU doing the reading?  Can you get different people to notice or talk to you based solely on what you’re reading?  Or, as she put it….

Do certain books attract different types of people?

I’ve gotten into a habit of reading on Bart while commuting to and from work. Recently, I have realized that I get approached by different, errr “people,” (Ed. note: I think this is her way of saying these “people” are “dudes”) depending on the type of literature I am reading…

Exhibit A: War and Peace.

Usually an intellectual type, well-traveled, slightly socially awkward but genuinely just interested in the fact that someone else has read the novel. One particular person explained he finished the novel while on a train traveling Europe (it must’ve been a loooooooong train ride).

Exhibits B-C: The Picture of Dorian Gray and Heart of Darkness.

I have recently started a book swap with a friend; he sent me these two books. These books have gotten me into more random (often awkward) conversations with men than I care to admit.

From these interactions I have dubbed these books “dude reads,” as it seems every guy (or the ones that read books anyway) has read these and has an opinion about them that he wants to share with me. Possible reasons: 1)  they’re short enough to hold the (male) attention span, 2) the main characters are of course male, or 3) the main focus of both novels is the corruption of man.

Well, we do love corruption, that’s for sure.  Thanks for the input!  I wonder if people find someone reading War and Peace more intimidating?  I could definitely see Heart of Darkness as a Dude book, though it might have more to do with Apocalypse Now than anyone will ever admit.

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