By Maura Kelly and Teddy Wayne


You're a young woman riding the subway in New York City, reading Candace Bushnell or Sophie Kinsella.  The back panel of your e-reader is its default setting-gun-metal gray. A cute, nerdy guy in Elvis Costello glasses and olive-drab clothing sits down across from you. He's getting ready for his English Literature doctoral exams at Columbia-he must be, because he's reading a dog-eared paperback of "The Fairie Queene" without embarrassment. You like him. e-back® can help. Press the lizard icon at the bottom of your screen and choose instantly from thousands of back-panel displays. And just like that, you're no longer a chick-lit bird-brain but an alienated Thomas Pynchon fan re-reading "Gravity's Rainbow." And yes, you would love to attend an  indie-rock concert by a band that uses staplers as percussion instruments with him tonight.


You're lazing away your Sunday with your e-reader and Michael Crichton's posthumously published "Pirate Latitudes" when your wife yells at you for not taking out the trash. Turn on your e-back®'s "marriage-saver" function, go into the kitchen, and say, "Honey, I'm listening to your needs." Make sure she gets an "accidental" look at the back-panel display of what you're (not) reading: "How To Be a Better Husband To Your Gorgeous, Brilliant Wife." So what if there's no such book? 


Hey, thirteen-year-old boy-yes, you, the one who thought no one was around. What's so tantalizing that it's got your eyeballs popping out of your head as you hunch over your e-reader? Let's get a closer look, shall we? ...Oh, never mind, we see the cover: "Advanced Algebra II." That's right, Johnny; mathematics can be so exciting that it puts you in a quiver. Keep studying, young Einstein.  Ah-you want to lock the door so that you can concentrate?


Might you be an unmarried forty-something woman? Sitting alone, as usual, at the local cafe, you're learning "How To Take Care of Your 14 Cats" over a cup of chai when you recognize what a cultural cliche you appear to be. e-back®ize your reader: "A Literate Passion: The Letters of Anaïs Nin & Henry Miller." Now you're a mysterious older woman! For enhanced effect, tuck your "Kathy" cartoon sweatshirt into that National Costco Shoppers' 2004 Speed-Dating Convention tote bag and put it under your chair, where no one can see it. (FYI: Soon, you'll never have to worry about your dumpy bag again: The new e-back® tote, coming next spring, with faux-canvas displays, will have hundreds of logos to choose from.)


The e-reader e-back®: For when you're unable, or ashamed, to show others what you're really reading.


Maura Kelly writes a dating blog for Marie Claire and is working on a novel. Teddy Wayne's debut novel, Kapitoil, will be published by Harper Perennial this April.


July 25: On this day in 1834 Samuel Taylor Coleridge died of heart disease at the age of sixty-one.

Crime fiction legends Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly discuss the new book that unites their beloved sleuths Patrick Kenzie and Harry Bosch.

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Paradise and Elsewhere

Canadian short story marvel Kathy Page emerges as the Alice Munro of the supernatural from these heartfelt tales of shapeshifting swimmers, mild-mannered cannibals, and personality-shifting viruses transmitted through kisses.


When a persuasive pastor arrives in a sleepy farm town, his sage influence has otherworldly results (talking sheep, a mayor who walks on water). But can he pull off the miracle of finding kindly local Liz Denny the love of her life?  Small wonder looms large in this charmer from Andre Alexis.

The Hundred-Year House

When a poetry scholar goes digging through the decrepit estate of his wife's family to uncover a bygone arts colony's strange mysteries, he awakens a tenacious monster: his mother-in-law. A wickedly funny take on aging aristocracies from author Rebecca Makkai (The Borrower).