6 Ways To Read Fifty Shades Of Grey Without Anyone Knowing

It wasn’t long ago that I was proud to pull out my bestseller on the subway. I would relish over those occasions when looking up from the pages, I would spot a fellow reader emerged in a matching thick paperback like Middlesex or The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, and we’d exchange that knowing glance that said “I feel like I know you, stranger” or “that ‘crocus’ part was pretty weird, huh?” Moreover, I used to love judging people based solely on their book choice; you can realize that the attractive hipster fellow takes himself too seriously before you even talk to him, based on the tattered copy of Catcher In The Rye he’s reading. Reading on the subway was a way to bring people together, to make yourself look like whatever literary sham you always dreamt you could be, and a way to inconspicuously judge everyone around you. But the days of smugly displaying your intellectual capacity on public transportation are over, all because of Fifty Shades Of Grey.

Yesterday my friend (who works at a book store and publishing house, and is a lover of literary transit experiences) confessed that she has started the Grey series and is so ashamed of partaking in the indulgence in public, that she has considered buying a Kindle (ultimate book store employee betrayal) so she can read without judgmental eyes. She say it’s inappropriate and embarrassing to read Fifty Shades in public because even if people haven’t read it, they know what it’s about. It’s up to par with reading Playboy in the barbershop. But with her long commute each day she can’t stand leaving it at home, and can’t help read it if it’s with her.

So, friend, here are some ways to help hide your scornful addiction to scholastic smut (which I haven’t read…yet), and hopefully the next book you’ll read will make everyone around you feel dumb by comparison.

-Photo Via Shut Up Merlin


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    • Elizabeth

      I think subway anonymity is my favorite thing about the Kindle. I had to stop reading In Search of Lost Time until vacation because I couldn’t get through a paragraph without some hipster guy or grad student interrupting to chat me up. (Nothing against hipsters or grad students. I was just disinterested because I was trying to read and was already married to a hipster grad student.) Seriously, I think a person would get less attention from dudes if she rode the subway naked than she would riding the subway with Proust.

      If you buy a book in Japan, the bookstore clerk will offer to wrap the cover in an opaque paper sleeve for you, so nobody can see what you’re reading.

    • Eileen

      I like #1 the best. All the others carry a danger of someone trying to strike up a conversation by asking what you’re reading. But everyone assumes a paper-bag covered book is a textbook, and no one wants to hear about your textbook.

    • Sarah

      The sex isn’t why I’d be worried about reading it in public. I’ve been reading more graphic and better-written smut for free online since I was in middle school. I just don’t want to be judged because ugh bad writing.

      • Amy


        I didn’t find the sex in 50 Shades of Grey to be at all gratuitous, I just wanted to drown my kindle in the bathtube after reading “stop biting your lip” “my inner goddess..” “I flushed” “I blushed” on every single damn page.

      • Mandy

        Exactly. I would brazenly read any form of smut, including PlayBoy (yawn) in public… I just can’t let anyone see me reading this CRAP. I’ve read the books so I can accurately tear them apart, but trust me, there is nothing more embarrassing than someone thinking I actually enjoy this sort of garbage.

      • Lo

        Put the book inside the dustjacket from a better written, more shocking book.

    • Mandy

      I hate to break it to you guys, but it’s easy as hell to read Kindles over people’s shoulders & see what they’re reading.

    • Lo

      Turn your speakers to eleven and play the audiobook, as read by Gilbert Gottfried (easily searchable on Youtube, but sadly not real. Yet).

    • zoe

      Hey, heres a great way! how about don’t post that you’re reading it every 5 minutes!