The essay claims that listing your favorite books and authors is a type of self-branding. Totally. It also claims that reading habits are indicators of other personality traits. Yes. It concludes that most serious readers have encountered a moment when literary tastes conflict with romantic hopes and caused a break up. Meh....
You have to read it if you are a book lover. Seriously. And read the comments over at Papercuts. They are completely awesome. Both because of how pissed people are about the topic AND how dogmatic people are about their deal breakers. As an aside, I cannot believe how many people hate on Ayn Rand. My favorite comment?
The Beats, especially Jack Kerouac. Not only does he have bad taste but he will justify cheating on you philosophically.
Maybe it is because most people I've dated aren't "readers" and the person I married doesn't read fiction--ever--but I don't think that different literary tastes are grounds for a break up. If a partner refuses to read to a child before bed? Dump him! If a partner doesn't support your reading habit? Kick em to the curb. If a partner exhibits absolutely no intellectual curiosity? Totally lame and should be discarded. But if a reader has a whole bunch of popular fiction on his or her shelf? I just don't think that's a problem.
I hope you all have your impressed faces on right now. This is quite possibly the least intellectually elitist thing I have ever said. Inmywholelife. Remember how I judged my childhood friends for their reading habits? Exactly. Don't get me wrong, the chances of me ever marrying a person who reads nothing but graphic novels? Probably slim (both because I'm already married and because I think I am missing the part of the brain that allows me to comprehend that type of media). A partner who has never heard of Jane Austen? Not gonna happen for me. My friend, Bethany, once said that it takes a certain amount of nerd in a man for her to date him. That is most definitely true for me as well. But I'd like to think that it doesn't take a certain type of reading for me to date him.
I enjoy talking about books. I do it all the time. I constantly recommend things. It is annoying. Even to me. But I can't stop. Drew entertains me. He asks about the books I read. He buys me reading lights. He is supportive of my addiction. He values books. He values learning. So I'm okay that we don't read the same things. Do I wish we could share recommendations back and forth? Kinda. But that's also risky. A great passage from a book I read last year, Mister Pip, sums it up....
Personally, though, I am loath to push Great Expectations onto anyone, my father especially. I am mindful of Mr. Watts’ disappointment in Grace’s ability to love what he loved, and I have never wanted to know that disappointment, or for my father to feel, as Grace must have, like a pup with a saucer of milk pushed towards her in the shape of a book. No. Some areas of life are not meant to overlap.