Stuff you read when you’re not paying attention

This is the written equivalent of the phenomenon known as Stuff You Hear When You’re Not Paying Attention. Some people call it serendipitous browsing; some call it eavesdropping.

Stuff You Hear is, for example, the voice-change madlib created by switching stations. “I gotta –” “–switch to decaf!” (By the sound of it, yes.  You do.) Or walking in on a conversation between two gamers and hearing “Yeah, I destroyed her last week. ” (Okay, I think I’m sitting over there. WAY over there.)

Stuff You Read… occurs when shelving or browsing, or any time a book opens at random. For instance:

“The check tells your bank to give $1000 to the guy who sold you the hippo.” (If You Made a Million)

If You Made a Million

If You Made a Million

“Pardon my meatball!” (On Top of Spaghetti)

On Top of Spaghetti

On Top of Spaghetti

“An ignorant skunk is a very sad skunk indeed.” (Our Library)

Our Library

Our Library

Incidentally, Stuff You Read is a rare phenomenon on e-readers, but by no means impossible.

So pick up a book in the middle, and see what you hear.


About Amy

Children's librarian, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
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One Response to Stuff you read when you’re not paying attention

  1. Julie Kant says:

    I like your description of this phenomenon! Imagine what we’d see and hear if we were paying attention all the time. On the other hand, there are alot of things I’d just as soon to be able to filter out. Balance in all things.

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