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"Reading is one of the things that connects us all together, that reminds us of our shared humanity," says photographer Steve McCurry.

McCurry's been snapping pictures of people around the world for more than 30 years. You've probably seen his work. He's covered a lot of topics, from war to monsoons to everyday life. Wherever he goes, he keeps an eye out for interesting shots.

As he worked, one theme kept popping up in his photos all over the world: the simple act of reading.


A man catches some time to read in India. All photos from Steve McCurry/Phaidon Images.

McCurry even remembers reading as the start of his career: He picked up a Life magazine photo essay of Indian monsoons back when he was just 11 years old. 20 years later, he travelled there himself.

His favorite reading shot happened in Yemen, he says. "There is an image I took of an elderly man in Yemen reading as he waits for customers in his tiny corner of a market in Sana'a. There is something about his serenity in that moment that spoke to me. Amidst the fervent activity of the marketplace, he had totally escaped within the contents of that book."

McCurry recently turned this project into a book called "On Reading." It captures the worldwide link we share through the written word.

Check a few more of his best shots below:

This merchant in Rome, who is nominally selling paintings.

This child reading a book curbside in Burma, looking miles away.

This steelworker in Serbia, taking a break to read a newspaper.

This amazingly colorful library in Brazil.

Ever been so engrossed in a story you missed an elephant?!

Readers in Sri Lanka.

Getting lost in a good story just seems to be part of the human condition.

No matter where we are in the world or in time, we can pick up a book and connect to somewhere or someone else.

"I hope that anyone who has engaged in a good book and loves reading can feel connected to these images," says McCurry.

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