I end up reading a fair number of children's books when there are no children present. Or even near. Like when I'm on the subway on my way to work (note: I usually manage to hold it together).
But sometimes it makes me self-conscious. Which is, I know, ridiculous. Considering what other people are reading (surely Dear Dumb Diary is a rung above the NY Post, right? Except the sports section?). Then there's the question of who's looking anyway (other than me), and what's the big deal really?
Still and all. There are some books that are a little intense to show to the world. I'm thinking of when a friend was reading Breaking Silence: Lesbian Nuns, which was actually a fairly awesome conversation starter, it turned out. But there are those times when you really don't want a conversation. Also, when my book group was reading Negroes With Guns, (which, while being a really interesting book that will make you think hard about all the ideas you have about civil rights and gun control, at least it did for me), it was a little dicey to have around the playground, you know?
Ditto for YA books on the subway. Particularly those that make use of special handwriting fonts and/or weird formats (notes, lists, fake text messages). But what to do? Going with the brown paper book cover will just make me feel like a pornographer (or a pornography reader); I think the best way is to just brazen it out. I practice when I can. I stand there, trying to keep my balance while holding the book in one hand, and emanating: Yeah, I'm a grown-up. Yeah, I'm reading Dear Dumb Diary. Want to make something of it?