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  • Writer's pictureSteven Hansen

Really Underground Book Reviews

Any book that can hold the attention of a New Yorker riding a jam-packed subway car that's screeching and lurching through the bowels of the city has got to be damn good. Documentarian Uli Beutter Cohen thinks so too. That’s what prompts her to ask straphangers to talk about the books she notices them holding.

Once she has broken the ice in such a genuinely curious way, the responses that spring forth not only divulge passionate opinions about the plot or author but also revelations about the personal lives of the individual readers and how they feel connected – often surprisingly -- to the books they’re reading.

And that’s just what has connected Cohen to the more than 1,000 commuters she’s met riding the city’s subway lines for the past eight years. She posts the reviews she collects, along with photo portraits of the rider-reviewers, on her social media pages as Subway Book Review. The project, hailed by Esquire as “…one of the few purely good things on the internet," quickly rocketed to worldwide fame. In fact, transit riders from countries around the world are now sharing their book reviews with Cohen.

Late last year, Cohen published her first book, “Between the Lines: Stories From the Underground,” a collection of 170 of those real-life book reviews and photographs from her uniquely heartwarming project. Reading the book and meeting each of the truly fascinating everyday characters she interviews is an irresistible pleasure.

So what happens if you read “Between the Lines: Stories From the Underground,” a book about reading books on the New York City subway, while riding the New York City subway? Well, you just might get to meet Uli Beutter Cohen in person!

WATCH: Video promo for Uli Beutter Cohen's new book:

Video and photos from Subway Book Review.

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