Ourit Ben-Haim 's photos of people reading on the NYC subway are amazing

Date
10 August 2012
Reading Time
2 minute read

We all know not to judge a book by its cover, but we’re all guilty of judging people by the cover of the book they are reading. This is especially true on public transport where confined for a set period of time our minds are free to run wild – how often have you mentally mapped out a possible love affair based on spotting a much-loved title among the armpits of fellow commuters.

Ourit Ben-Haim has indulged this idea with the Underground New York Public Library site, a project that is conceptually ambitious but beautifully simple in execution. Travelling the NYC subway she snaps pictures of people reading and posts them along with the title of the tome on her site.

She says the library: “freely lends out a reminder that we’re capable of traveling to great depths within ourselves and as a whole,” and what she’s built is a collection of pictures that speak to our relationships with great writing, with books and with each other.

There’s some regulars– a Sunday morning Bible post, a Tuesday translation, a mystery book her readers help identify on a Friday and her E-reader post but on the whole it’s all about eclecticism, of our tastes, passions and prejudices – with works ranging from Nietzsche to Star Wars, Malcolm X to Mitt Romney.

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Ourit Ben-Haim: William Napier – Attila: The Judgment

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Ourit Ben-Haim: John Steinbeck – The Grapes of Wrath

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Ourit Ben-Haim: Jack Kerouac – On the Road

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Ourit Ben-Haim: Lillian Browse – Augustus John: Drawings

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Ourit Ben-Haim: Dr R. L. Travers – Mary Poppins

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Ourit Ben-Haim: Mitt Romney – No Apology, Believe in America

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Ourit Ben-Haim: Erri DeLuca – The Day Before Happiness

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Ourit Ben-Haim: Friedrich Nietzsche – The Birth of Tragedy

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Ourit Ben-Haim: Fiódor Dostoyevski – Crimen y Casting

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Ourit Ben-Haim: Salman Rushdie – The Enchantress of Florence

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Ourit Ben-Haim: Sean Williams – Star Wars (The Old Republic): Fatal Alliance

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Ourit Ben-Haim: Eric Van Lustbader – Last Snow

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Ourit Ben-Haim: Philip K. Dick – A Scanner Darkly

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Ourit Ben-Haim: Jane Smiley – A Thousand Acres

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About the Author

Rob Alderson

Rob joined It’s Nice That as Online Editor in July 2011 before becoming Editor-in-Chief and working across all editorial projects including itsnicethat.com, Printed Pages, Here and Nicer Tuesdays. Rob left It’s Nice That in June 2015.

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