The Mancunion

Britain's biggest student newspaper

Top 5 books you wouldn’t want to be seen reading on the Magic Bus

Do you judge people by the covers of their books? If you do you, remember they may return the favour


Books are for everyone and the vast variety of genres reflects the diversity of humankind. At the Books section we understand it takes all shapes, sizes and fonts to make a library, but the person sitting next to you on the bus may not be so forgiving. Here are a few books that may be better enjoyed in the comfort of your own home, if you want to avoid strange looks and backseat judgement:

1. 50 Shades of Grey – E. L. James (2011)
The controversy factor of this book has been more than well-documented; its popularity was the best advertisement Kindles ever had. Amazon should pay royalties. Everyone knows why you’re reading this, and it’s not for the quality of the writing. Whipping out 50 Shades may seem like the perfect antidote to a hard day of lectures but, even if you can take the vicarious blushing, remember it’s not that dissimilar from the guy next to you pulling out Nuts.

2. Once More with Feeling – Victoria Coren and Charlie Skelton (2002)
Less well known than 50 Shades, it is not the title that triggers associations with this book, but the cover. It is an account of the authors’ attempt to create their own porn film, and its cover displays a bold cartoon of a naked couple ‘frolicking’. Needless to say, Once More will garner more than a few raised eyebrows on the bus. It is a brave student who reads this book in public. Go on, we dare you.

3. Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus – John Gray (1992)
You’re having relationship troubles then? Reading self-help books like this ‘90s classic in public is the literary equivalent of changing your Facebook relationship status to “it’s complicated”.

4. Fantasy novels
By which I mean a Terry Pratchett cover stands out a mile. As a devout fantasist it hurts me to put this on the list but however much the media likes to tell us ‘geek chic’ is in, the endorsement does not extend to the reading material beyond the fake glasses. Be proud of the nerd status a Pratchett brands you with, or cower in the face of superficial stigmatism and read it on your Kindle.

5. Celebrity ‘auto’-biographies
Need we say more? These are basically just Heat or OK annuals. They may be styled and spray-tanned to look like books, but literature it is not.