• Tue, Jul 27 2010

Do You Have Literary Dealbreakers?

Who wants to be stuck with someone who likes that despicable hag, Jane Austen? No one!  Well, at least not me and Mark Twain. What about Bret Easton Ellis? Intern Michael probably thinks that girls who like him drive stick shift.

Fortunately, now we can go to Alikewise: Dating by the Book. It’s a dating site that matches you based off your mutual interest in authors. Each person describes their favorite book, and they put up a little picture of you. Preliminary investigation indicates:

Men seem to really like Catcher in the Rye. Men do not seem to realize that almost all serial killers list Catcher in the Rye as their favorite book.

Yeah, everyone loves Harry Potter, but don’t women who rave about how they were hooked from his first Quidditch goal seem like they’re trying a little too hard to be cutesy?

Am I a snob?

Wait: why are people not capitalizing the word “I”? Or using punctuation? Presumably this is a site for people who at least want to come off as erudite.

“Vonnegut is a fun read. Sometimes I wish his writing was a bit more… hmm… not sure what’s lacking, but something..” Sometimes people are… I don’t know… douchebags… who feel their favorite writer still isn’t good enough… and overuse ellipsis.

The guy who loves the Zombie Survival Guide actually sounds cool. Someone should ask him out.

I don’t think “I like this book” is what they mean when they say “describe why this book is your favorite.”

Damn, that Anathem sounds like a good book. I should really read that.

Okay, so all in all, not a bad time. Though I’m not inclined to think that relationships rely on your literary preferences so much as whether the other person is interested in literature at all. I wouldn’t care if I were dating someone who read Jane Austen all the time because, hey, it’s cool that they read for pleasure at all (and besides, one of my longest relationships was with someone who owned two books, both of which I bought for him).

But then, maybe I just haven’t  haven’t thought through literary dealbreakers hard enough. Norman Rush wrote in “Mating.” “There are certain quagmires to be avoided with people. You can find yourself liking someone who appears intellectually normal and then have him let drop that his favorite book of all time is ‘The Prophet.’” I don’t know about “The Prophet” but I think I’d have a hard time not smirking a little if someone started talking about how The Da Vinci Code is like, really deep.

If someone loved your least favorite author, would you be willing to date them? What if they listed, say, Mein Kampf as their favorite book? Wait, seriously, what if they just talked about what a genius your least favorite author was all the time? On the same note, are there any books that are literary deal seal-ers for you?

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  • Malkovich

    Bill Gates and his wife are reported to have bonded over The Great Gatsby. Not very original but effective.

  • Lindsay Hartman

    It wasn’t my husband, but my best friend and I bonded over our fascination with Atlas Shrugged. Not so much that we love the book, it’s interesting. More, we bonded over other people’s obsession with it.

  • Katiej

    Doesn’t everyone offer up an Ayn Rand novel as “special” at some point in their life? But then they go and mispronounce her name and the magic vanishes.

  • porkchop

    Surely no one could be so wrapped up in an author that I couldn’t hang out with them… Unless they WERE that author…

    Dave Eggers: Okay, I’m ready, let’s go.

    Me: (reading) You put our plans on hold to write *this*?

    Eggers: What?

    Me: I don’t think this word means what you think it means.

    Eggers: I’m really not looking for notes…

  • Jessica

    I think NOT reading is more of a dealbreaker in and of itself over reading crappy books. reading is my favorite hobby and i find it difficult to connect with people who don’t do it for pleasure. on second thought, though, anything by stephenie meyer might give a few people the boot…

  • Adri

    I do this all the time! I got together with my university boyfriend because we were both fans of Terry Pratchett books, and I test whether new female acquaintances are likely to become close friends by whether they loved “Harriet the Spy” as a child.

  • Katie

    I’d like to think I could accept a person who loves Dostoevsky, but I don’t know if I have that kind of internal strength. He would have to be a really awesome person, like Prince Harry or the heir to a Nutella factory.

    • Jennifer Wright

      Frankly, if he’s heir to a Nutella factory, I’m flexible about whether or not he’s even able to read.