It's Not You, It's Your Books - New York Times: "Sloane Crosley, a publicist at Vintage/Anchor Books and the author of “I Was Told There’d Be Cake,” essays about single life in New York, put it this way: “If you’re a person who loves Alice Munro and you’re going out with someone whose favorite book is ‘The Da Vinci Code,’ perhaps the flags of incompatibility were there prior to the big reveal.”"
Yes, I will judge you by your literary tastes. Let me in your place and I will gravitate to your bookshelves, head cocked sideways, reading titles. Unless, dear lord, you don't have bookshelves. It's almost as disturbing as not having a stereo. And if you don't have bookshelves or a stereo, I'll bet you have a large TV centered in your room like a shrine.
Books definitely tell a lot about a person, though I can't say I've ever dismissed someone because of their literary tastes. I've been attracted to someone based on their literary interests. I once went on a date with a woman because we had struck up a conversation about Steinbeck. She turned out to be about as dull and dry as the Salinas Valley. Books provided a perfect way to strike up a conversation. On a plane last week, the man across the aisle was reading American Pastoral. We ended up talking about our children instead. His wife was reading Driving with Dead People. I'm not sure what this says about them. Their child, crying most of the flight, was watching Elmo DVDs. That might say more about them. Or at least it explains why they thought they could read on the plane with a toddler.
(Also, I almost stopped to talk to a woman at the airport who was reading with an Sony Reader.)
Regarding the quote above from Rachel Donadio's piece in the NYTBR, I list Alice Munro among my favorite writers...and there's only one person in my house who read The Da Vinci Code. It wasn't me.