Some years ago, I was awakened early one morning by a phone call from a friend. She had just broken up with a boyfriend she still loved and was desperate to justify her decision. “Can you believe it!” she shouted into the phone. “He hadn’t even heard of Pushkin!”
Crap, I’ve never heard of Pushkin! I’m not worthy, I’m not worthy!
By now, I’m sure everyone has seen/heard/talked about this article. I heard it on NPR Talk of the Nation (Books: A Canary in the Relationship Coal Mine?) and found links to no less than 27 blog posts in my RSS feeder today. Great article. Great discussion going on all over the blogosphere today on this topic. So now I add my 27 cents.
These days, thanks to social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace, listing your favorite books and authors is a crucial, if risky, part of self-branding. When it comes to online dating, even casual references can turn into deal breakers… reading habits can be a rough indicator of other qualities. “It tells something about … their level of intellectual curiosity, what their style is,” Fels said. “It speaks to class, educational level.”
Ok, what do I have listed on my Facebook account? Um…
Favorite Books: All’s Fair In Love and War and Running for President, Anne of Green Gables, Atlas Shrugged, Bird by Bird, Faith of My Fathers, The Fountainhead, The Giving Tree, Interpreter of Maladies, Letters to a Young Poet, The Missing Piece Meets the Big O, One Hundred Years of Solitude, The Passion, Penguin, Persuasion, Pride and Prejudice, Romeo and Juliet, Shaman’s Daughter, Slaughterhouse Five, Sonnets from the Portuguese, Taming of the Shrew, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Written on the Body, Wuthering Heights
What do they say about me? Anyone’s guess I suppose.
“I did have to break up with one guy because he was very keen on Ayn Rand,” said Laura Miller, a book critic for Salon. “He was sweet and incredibly decent despite all the grandiosely heartless ‘philosophy’ he espoused, but it wasn’t even the ideology that did it. I just thought Rand was a hilariously bad writer, and past a certain point I couldn’t hide my amusement.”
Well, well Laura Miller book critic for Salon, no need to add me as a friend on your social network. I enjoy Rand’s writing.
“It’s really great if you find a guy that reads, period,” said Beverly West, an author of “Bibliotherapy: The Girl’s Guide to Books for Every Phase of Our Lives.”
True. I love a man who reads. And I think every man I’ve dated has recommended a favorite book of theirs to me…a few have hit my favorites list. Of course Camus, did not. Then again, I wasn’t really *dating* that man either. Ahem. When I first met Mark through Yahoo one of the first things we talked about was, surprise, surprise…books. He had just received an order from Amazon.com, a biography of a Samurai Warrior and I remember thinking, wow…of course I had no idea at the time that the love of the FIGHTING and all things Warrior/Kung Fu/Martial Arts trumped the reading of a biography. Just as I didn’t realize at the time that the B.A in Fine Arts Painting um, was also trumped by this other ART. Hence, a beautiful relationship becoming the *Wing Chun Bitch* Anyhow, Mark has been reading an impressive amount of classics lately and I am far behind. I should be reading Madame Bovary this minute so we can discuss the book instead of blogging, but…well…just a few more minutes.
Jessa Crispin, a blogger at the literary site Bookslut.com, agrees. “Most of my friends and men in my life are nonreaders,” she said, but “now that you mention it, if I went over to a man’s house and there were those books about life’s lessons learned from dogs, I would probably keep my clothes on.”
LOVED this quote. I have to say the alternate is true as well, after reading a highly recommended author from my boyfriend at the time who ended up being one of my all time favourites, I wanted to get naked immediately. And with titles like “The Passion” and “Written on the Body” well, good think for him I was living in Buffalo while he was in D.C.
And now some of my favorite comments from the PaperCuts blog…when asked about Literary Dealbreakers.
For me the only real requirement is that someone reads, preferably a lot (see the great header on Book Soup, from John Waters: “If you go home with somebody, and they don’t have books, don’t f*** ‘em!”
A good mantra to live by.