Thank You for Riding the New York City Subway

Deep beneath the asphalt streets of New York City lurks a breed of creature that’s haunted the subway’s subterranean labyrinth for over a century. No, it’s not sewer alligators or radioactive rats. Instead, we’re speaking of…bookworms. And documentarian Uli Beutter Cohen has been on the hunt to capture their travels.


In 2014, Uli founded the viral Instagram account Subway Book Review, which documents her conversations with subway riders about the books they’re reading. After spending nearly a decade exploring the literary landscape of the underground, Uli has learned: “Readers will tell you what's coming in culture.” Now she’s compiled 170 of her favorite bibliophile encounters in her first book, Between the Lines: Stories from the Underground, which features conversations about books with notable authors like Ta-Nehisi Coates, Min Jin Lee, Roxane Gay, and more. In his debut episode as a guest host, Book Dreams producer Gianfranco Lentini sits down with Uli to discuss her experiences and to consider…what does it mean to belong in a city of 8 million people?


Subway Book Review has been featured on TV, in print, and online by New York Magazine, Esquire, Forbes Women, Glamour, Bustle, Vogue, The Guardian, Refinery 29, The Atlantic, BBC and more. Uli’s interview work and writing about human connection and belonging has been published by The Washington Post, Here Magazine, The Creative Independent, and HuffPost. Today, contributors to Subway Book Review are reporting from 20 cities around the world.




Between the Lines: Stories from the Underground


"After these past eighteen months of isolation and despair, the radical connectivity of Between the Lines arrives like manna from heaven...These heartfelt conversations remind us that even in our most solitary activities, we’re never truly alone." —ESQUIRE


“Beutter Cohen, creator of the Subway Book Review, goes underground to New York’s subway system in this rich collection of interviews. With a genuine curiosity for the city’s wealth of perspectives, Beutter Cohen’s interviews show how deep a person’s connection to a book can go…Literature lovers will relish this insightful compendium.” —PUBLISHER'S WEEKLY (STARRED REVIEW)


Go Deeper


Uli Beutter Cohen

Between the Lines: Stories from the Underground, by Uli Beutter Cohen

Subway Book Review

Braiding Sweetgrass, by Robin Wall Kimmerer

Ill Fares the Land, by Tony Judt

Min Jin Lee

Octavia E. Butler

Ta-Nehisi Coates

Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates

M Train, by Patti Smith

How to Be an Anticapitalist in the Twenty-First Century, by Erik Olin Wright

Things I Have Withheld, by Kei Miller

Gianfranco Lentini

Eve Yohalem

Julie Sternberg

Book Dreams Podcast

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Lit Hub Radio