08 January 2013

Thumbs Up for Herodotus

The other day, I was in the underground. I was reading, as usual, and this time, I was reading a book that was given to me as a gift by a close friend, a few months ago, on the occasion of my graduation. It even had a message written inside, so unlike my other books, this one will remain in my bookshelf even when I am done reading it.

Anyway, as I was reading it, I noticed that a couple of people across the aisle took notice, and someone who didn’t see the cover even turned her head and angled it to see. I then noticed it, so when they noticed that I noticed them, they gave me thumbs up signs and commended me for reading the book.

So what was the book? It was “The Histories” by Herodotus. Not a lot of people read Herodotus nowadays. It was actually a fitting gift, as this friend of mine from graduate school gave me as a nickname, nothing else, but Herodotus.

Anyway, I was amused by the fact that people commended me for reading Herodotus. I told them that I think reading Herodotus is more informative and educational than reading Twilight, or 50 Shades of Gray, for example. They agreed.

That is something I like with the people here in Berlin. People still read books. You ride the underground and you’ll see plenty of people holding books in their hands, reading, in different languages, nonetheless. Back in Buffalo, all the people I see in public transportation have iPods instead. They were all just listening to music, with their earphones plugged in their heads.

(Quite Dreamy, from my Art Institute of Chicago Series)

6 comments:

  1. I was surprised to see a lot of people reading books in the subway this summer in NY. In Ottawa, people tend to be glued to their BlackBerry!

    In Paris too people read books or magazines. Or at least they used to.

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    1. Zhu,

      I always have a soft heart towards those who read. In Manila, not a lot do, because books are expensive, and poor families would rather buy food than books. But when it comes to first world countries, some societies just love their Blackberries or iPods more than books I guess.

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  2. So, just to be contrary, I'd like to point out that people could be reading on their blackberries and ipods (I have more than one book related app on my phone and have been known to read on it.) And, people with headphones in could be listening to audio books. (I've also been known to do this. In fact, on public transportation I'd rather do this because I can still easily keep my eye on people around me when I'm listening. I tend to get engrossed when I'm reading.)

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    1. Kate,

      It is true that people can be listening in audio books when they are plugged in. Although, I have a hunch that the proportion of people listening to audio books is significantly lower to the proportion of people listening to music. And sure, people can read books on their phones, but I just think that's a clumsy and eye-wrecking way of reading, given the font size.

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  3. Despite the Kindles, Ipads and e-books everywhere, it's always nice to see people reading printed books - especially when it's a printed classic such as yours :)

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    1. TNP,

      Indeed it is. And I perhaps am one of the last people to shift to the e-book; I like the physical sensation of turning the page, seeing my bookmark progress through the book!

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