Big Brother Book Club: It's Hard Out There for a Book Spy

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We’re giving up our precious subway reading time to check out what you’re reading, and lately we’ve been reading some good stuff (more on that to come, don’t you worry), and it’s been tough to put it back in the bag and pay attention to what’s going on around us. Luckily, spying has its thrills. For example, when some one’s got a hardcover with no dust jacket, and we manage to catch a glimpse of the title at the top of the page without seeming too creepy. Or when we see an old, crumbly, used-bookstore paperback, or a book of which we heartily approve (hint: we do not feel the thrill of the hunt when we spot a book by Steve Harvey or John Grisham). This week started out with a triple-thrill: as we boarded the F train, we spotted a young shaggy dude hunched over a yellowing paperback. Our spidey sense began to tingle. The book was old. It was coverless. The reader did not look like some one who would read Are You There Vodka, It’s Me Chelsea. How would we ever see what he was reading? Fortunately, the F train was crowded as usual and we found ourselves strap-hanging right over the guy. He did not disappoint. The book was Dostoevsky’s The Idiot . Thank you, young man, for renewing our book-spy enthusiasm.

It was hard to miss the sexy washboard abs on the cover of E. Lynn Harris’ Basketball Jones, about the secret lover (oops, sorry. Now it’s stuck in our heads, too) of an NBA basketball star, and the gold-digging baby mama out to steal his man.

Another distinctive cover was spotted on (Bowie-free) Labyrinth by Kate Mosse. A bit different than her homonymous counterpart, this Ms. Mosse is the co-founder and Honorary Director of the prestigious Orange Prize, and Labyrinth is a more muscular Da Vinci Code featuring not just one but two heroines. Sorry, Tom Hanks.

We also spotted The Girl Who Stopped Swimming by Joshilyn Jackson, which instantly made our to-read list with ghosts and evil tween girls in its synopsis, and Countdown, one of Iris Johansen’s popular Eve Duncan mysteries.

Image via Kiss a Cloud.