We’ve all been there: You’re sitting on the subway, in a bookstore, or on a park bench, minding your own business and enjoying a few precious moments of down time with a book, when a stranger attempts to strike up a meaningless conversation.
This has happened to me more times than I can count, so I’ve come up with a foolproof way to make sure that you’re left alone by everyone—so gloriously alone that you’ll feel like Burgess Meredith in that Twilight Zone episode, where he’s the last person left alive on the entire planet…except without the tragically broken glasses. Win-win!
Simply take a dust jacket from any of the titles below—or scan and print up the cover—and wrap it around your novel of choice. It’s that easy!
Here Come the Teletubbies, by Andrew Davenport
If you have any toddlers in tow, this particular title won’t work—but if you’re an adult, all alone, and (seemingly) completely engrossed in the adventures of these colorful little creatures, it will all but guarantee that you’ll be able to read in peace indefinitely. That is, unless you happen to run across a hardcore adult fan of Tinky Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa, and Po. In which case, run.
Urine Therapy: Nature’s Elixir for Good Health, by Flora Peschek-Böhmer and Gisela Schreiber
The title alone is a powerful deterrent for social interaction of any kind. Trust me—with this book in your hands, no one will ever want you to open your mouth.
From Soup to Nuts: The Cannibal Lover’s Cookbook, by Jon Macks
This book cover definitely works, but you will also run the risk of having a concerned individual call the cops on you. Also not recommended for those who like to read while dining alone.
Natural Bust Enlargement with Total Mind Power, by Donald L. Wilson
This sadly out-of-print New Age book, released back in 1979, works particularly well for me for some reason—maybe because I’m 6’2”, 220 pounds, bald, and bearded.
I’m Not Crazy, by Frances I. Deitrick
I found this nonfiction gem in a used bookstore and bought it for 99 cents solely for the cover. Reading (or in this case, pretending to read) this book in a coffee shop or on the subway is perfect for when you don’t wish to be disturbed, because the title is clearly visible from far away. It’s almost like wearing a sign that says “LEAVE ME ALONE.”
So, it’s that simple! Head to the nearest printer, then prepare to enjoy a few moments of glorious silence (and more than a few weird looks).
How To Stop Farting, by Trevor Johnson