I Don’t Love You Because You Love That Book

Do you look at people’s bookshelves first thing when you visit their homes?

I think it’s interesting to find out what people read. Somehow I have it in my head that this knowledge will help me understand them better – maybe even clue me in about our chances of becoming good friends. I have no idea whether this method is accurate, but, hey. It’s something I do.

Apparently I’m not the only one. This article describes a dating site that focuses on what people read as a matchmaking tool. Pretty neat idea.

There are lots of books I love to read, mainly in scifi, fantasy, or spec fic in general, but I’m flexible.

And, of course, there are some books I really don’t like to read. I have nothing against the publications or the authors themselves; the stories just aren’t my cup of hot cocoa.

Heart of Darkness is one that doesn’t do it for me. I recognize that it is a classic work of literary art, but I can’t get into it. I imagine that I would not have much in common with someone who absolutely loved Heart of Darkness more than anything in the world.

That seems like a petty reaction, doesn’t it? Surely I could have other things in common with someone who enjoys a book I don’t care for. Joseph Conrad doesn’t manage the universe… does he?

I have a similar reaction to anything by Ayn Rand (who, I should point out, was a great writer with entertaining stories). She rubs me the wrong way, even though I enjoyed Anthem. This may be because I once dated a guy in high school who said I should check out Rand’s much debated essay “About a Woman President” because it might give me a useful perspective on life.

“For a woman to seek or desire the presidency is, in fact, so terrible a prospect of spiritual self-immolation that the woman who would seek it is psychologically unworthy of the job.” – Rand

I’m still not exactly sure what the boy in high school was suggesting when he asked me to read that essay, but ever since then I’ve felt a little hesitant around Ms. Rand’s most die-hard fans. 😉

Now, show me someone who’s a Neil Gaiman reader, a Ray Bradbury enthusiast, or a Shakespeare fanatic, and I’m ready to sit down and chat for hours. Toss in some Harry Potter or Sookie Stackhouse for fun, and we might just be best friends for life.

Are these reliable measurements of compatibility? Is it fair to say, “I don’t love you because you love that book”?  🙂

How often do you do the Bookshelf Check?

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5 responses to “I Don’t Love You Because You Love That Book

  1. I know what you’re talking about. I can’t stand anybody who hasn’t read at least the first book in “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” series.

    Get some culture, people! 😉

  2. I could never marry a guy who hadn’t read Lord of the Rings. Kind of a necessity, right there. 🙂

  3. I really struggle with people who love Faulkner. I know some people who clearly are exceptions to this rule, but in my gut I am very suspicious anyhow.

  4. Rob, that is one of the best classics, for sure.
    Joanna, hobbits FTW! 🙂
    Kalupy, absolutely. Very smart to be suspicious.

  5. I know I’m like a year late on this, but I do the shelf-check too. I tend to do it more for the movie collections, maybe because DVDs are usually present in a person’s living room and books aren’t always. But it’s a little disconcerting for my supposed PC brain to see flicks like “Just My Luck” or “Crossroads” and think, “Oh, you’re one of THOSE people…”

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