Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Judging Your Literary Taste

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.


  1. Hey, I resemble that remark! Technically, I do still have a stereo - it's up there in the attic if and when I ever come to my senses. (And I haven't stopped listening to music - which would be an unforgiveably egregious sin - just not on a 25 year old stereo system.) Also, bookshelves have a dramatically greater presence in our house than TVs.


    this is an intense documentary on the mysteries of Jesus’ Bloodline. Those of you who are into ‘The Da Vinci code’ or ‘holy blood holy grail’ will be amazed by this real-life adventure with actual holy relics found.. I was amazed.

  3. With computers these days, a stereo is hardly necessary. The one in my living room always has the kids' music in it (children's music is painful). If I want to hear my own music, I go to my office and listen to the music on my computer.

  4. Thanks, Damon. I'll just keep telling myself that rather than admit I'm rapidly approaching middle age.