New York Today: Treasures Left, Not Lost, on the Subway


Look for the book.

Mark Lennihan/Associated Press

Updated 10:07 a.m.

Good morning on this cloud-specked Monday.

Be on the lookout on the subway this morning.

You might find a book.

But don’t assume someone accidentally left it; it may have been put there for you to discover.

There’s a group of New Yorkers hiding books on the cars, platforms, benches and other nooks and crannies of our subway system. Their hope is that you’ll pick up the book, read it and put it back for the next curious person.

It’s like a “mobile library,” said Rosy Saliba Kehdi, who started Books on the Subway with Hollie Fraser in 2013. (Ms. Fraser began the project a year earlier on the Tube in London, with Books on the Underground.)

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“We want to stand for education and reading, and to actually make some change in the world, by helping to get books in the hands of those who might not have access to them and encouraging people to read more,” Ms. Kehdi said.

“And when you find a book on the subway, you’re compelled to pick it up,” Ms. Fraser added, “because it feels like serendipity.”

Every weekday, Ms. Kehdi, Ms. Fraser and volunteers across the boroughs (including the actress Emma Watson in the fall and the actor Dylan Minnette this spring) will plant roughly 20 copies of a given book on the subway.

They’ll post a photo or live video of the drop to the Books on the Subway Instagram, Twitter and Facebook accounts to let people know which title to look out for that day, also tagging the author or publisher to help spread the word.

(The books, including new releases and classics, come from major publishers and lesser-known indie authors.)

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