May 20, 2013

Eleven tactics to keep your reading choice a secret


Over at the Literary Saloon Michael Orthofer discusses the secrecy with which the Nobel committee must read over the works that have been nominated, lest the names of those under consideration leak out. The list of nominees is down to five at the moment, but the committee strives to keep those names close for fifty years, presumably until those who were considered but not chosen are beyond the point of aggrievement or embarrassment or life, generally.

Orthofer suggests that such secrecy must be growing more difficult, and that unless surprising care is taken, booksellers or translators could well discover which names are among the five, as may have been the case with early rumors about Mo Yan last year.

He even suggests that anyone spotting members of the committee on the beach this summer would do well to note what they’re reading (because of course members of the Swedish Academy are only a small step below Eurovision contestants in their celebrity in Europe, constantly being photographed topless on the beach by unscrupulous book critics.)

Well we at MobyLives feel that nobody should have to endure that sort of surveillance, whether it be in a sexy Swedish beach bungalow (goosebumps and rocks and herring are sexy, right?) or on the New York subway (though the Underground NYPL tumblr is really so great). With that in mind, here are eleven tips and tricks to help hide your reading choice from nosy photographers.


Dustin Kurtz is the marketing manager of Melville House, and a former bookseller.