Blog of the Week: CoverSpy Stalks Your Subway Reading Habits


Of the many magical moments you’ll have on New York City’s subways, one of them is the respite from the rest of your life in the city that comes during those rare moments you get to use your time underground to finally get some reading done. Well, kiss that goodbye. Because you’re being watched.

A hearty salute to our Blog of the Week, CoverSpy, which takes subway sightings of what kind of people are reading what book on the subway. For example:

Breakfast of Champions, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. (M, 20s, red hoodie, white canvas shoes, tweed golf cap, F train)

Or maybe something a little more contemporary:

I Was Told There’d Be Cake, Sloan Crosley (F, 20s, chopstick in hair, cowboy boots w rhinestones, F train)

Or maybe something a little more mainstream:

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Stieg Larsson (F, 20s, blond ponytail, glasses, geometric top, Q train)

CoverSpy is the product of Slice Magazine, a “Brooklyn-based nonprofit print magazine” who describe themselves as:

THE BRAINCHILD of two book editors with a firsthand view of how difficult it is for new authors to have their voices heard. We aim to spark a dialogue between emerging and established writers.

Regardless of Slice’s purportedly good intentions, any number of catty, maybe even sinister implications can be drawn from (or insecure projections can be made at) why CoverSpy exists, the most obvious one being (insert certain kind of person) reads (certain book or kind of book). The best part is that none of this context actually exists: it’s just descriptions, so it’s up to you, the blog reader, to take from it what you will. That said, if you do decide to take the negative route, you could argue that this is exactly the kind of elitist posturing and chin-tilting that plagues much of New York’s reading community, forgetting the people who actually work in it, be they authors, agents, publishers, or bookstore clerks. Then again, you could just be interested in what people are reading, in which case, you’re likely to enjoy this so, so much.