Today I am sharing an interview with a fellow blogger. Actually, it’s a double whammy because it is a blogging couple! Katie and James work together to create Between The Lines, which is a great blog for those of you that have ever been on any form of public transit and those of you that have ever read a book. Safe to say that all of you would enjoy their blog. Meet the top-notch team below.

LC: So! You blog about what people on the SF Muni are reading. Sounds like a simple yet genius idea. Do you read on the Muni as well or is most of your time devoted to finding paperbacks and hardcovers?

J: Lately, I’ve been trying to keep up with my subscription to the Economist. The book I’m currently reading, Infinite Jest, is a behemoth and is not portable even in the most expansive sense of the term: it technically fits in my bag, sure, but it also crushes any unsuspecting fruit I might have in there. It has footnotes with endnotes and comes in around 1,000 pages, so trying to juggle that on a bus is a bit difficult. On my commute home, sometimes I just like to put in my earbuds and people watch.

K: I have been spending more time finding books to blog about on my way to work and class at night. I am currently reading Zeitoun by Dave Eggers, but have been saving it to read at night after busy days.

LC: Wow James, I’m going to go ahead and say you’ve created fruitnotes in your bag! Sounds dangerous yet exciting. Have you ever wondered if people have fake covers over the book they’re really reading because they’re embarrassed to be reading the first Harry Potter so late in the game?

J: Not really. Although, and I think I mentioned this as an anonymous example on our ‘About‘ page, I did once take the cover off of the hard copy of the Da Vinci Code that I was reading on the bus, because I didn’t want to be judged. So I probably should be more suspicious of others.

K: Yes. I think people get self conscious in public about what they are reading and what it says about them. I have not seen any suspiciously covered books, but I will let you know if I spot any.

LC: Do you judge people by the cover of their book? Any special experiences you want to share?

J: I try not to judge in a negative way. San Francisco is such an educated city, if you take a look around you, it’s rare to see anything that could be called trashy. I see people with some reading choices that I wouldn’t make, but I don’t think less of them for it. Usually, it’s the other way around; I see someone with a title that I have never heard of, and it turns out that I’m the ignoramus. You can learn a lot by keeping an open mind and set of eyes.

K: I agree with James on this one. I try not to judge by the cover because that is part of the fun of the blog…to see the diversity of San Francisco public transit readers. Although I was intrigued by a book recently that had no words on the cover, but interesting drawings. I would have loved to blog about it, but was unable to decipher what the book was about.

LC: Suppose I spot someone riding and reading. Would you blog it or does Between the Lines have special standards?

J: The only standard I really have is trying to keep it interesting. So, if we haven’t done it before, and it’s not something that is culturally ubiquitous (like your Harry Potter reference), sure! Why, have YOU seen something interesting Lola?

LC: Well, I’ve seen some interesting things but nothing quite related to the written word. Throughout this journey for the greater good, I’ve noticed you started interviewing Muni readers. Would you say your friendly, sly, or creepy? I can’t pull off being sly, but I can definitely be a creepster. Maybe I shouldn’t try to spot someone reading and riding. Them bus rides can get rough.

J: I definitely worry about coming across as creepy. It’s fairly easy to spot what someone is reading from afar. But the interviewing is a bit different. One interviewee definitely had that “oh god, here comes another crazy m*therf*cker” look when I first approached her. And, I mean, we’re on muni, can you blame her? But after a brief intro, she was very willing to chat.

K: I have yet to get the nerve up to ask a fellow Muni rider about their book of choice. I am working up the courage though. I think by sharing what others are reading and bringing diverse topics and interests to the public we are only helping to spread more knowledge.I try to be very sly about discovering the title and author, which is sometimes disappointing as I have to leave without knowing the title of an interesting novel. If a simple glance at the book does not give me the info I need to research the book then I decide to leave the reader in peace.

LC: Katie! I bet anyone you interview will feel honored. Are you keeping track of who is better at playing ‘I spy the book’?

J: No, it’s a collective effort, and one of our friends Shya, who rides different muni lines, has also been contributing. Unless Katie says it is a competition. In which case, I’m winning.

K: Definitely more collective. Shya and James are fabulous writers and each of us puts our own spin on our posts, which I think keeps it fun and interesting!

And that was behind the scenes with Between The Lines!

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