Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Would you dump someone over a book?

The most e-mailed story on nytimes.com right now? It's Not You, It's Your Books, an essay by Rachel Donadio, about literary dealbreakers in relationships.

The whole idea cracks me up. Dump a dude because of what he reads? I'd be happy if the dude read at all! But indeed, Donadio shares tales of people whose (in my opinion) book snobbery got the better of them and they had to end it.

I heard an interview with Donadio yesterday on NPR's "Talk of the Nation" (if you want to listen, the link's at the top of this page), and people called in with their two cents. One woman said she makes her husband take his Stephen King novels from the bookcase when her book club comes over (heaven forbid the ladies think she has such lowbrow tastes). A man commented that if he'd seen, for example, "The Secret" on his wife's bedside table, he might not have married her. Folks called and e-mailed in to say that if prospective partners hadn't read certain books, they could keep on keepin' on.

Harsh.

As for me, I side with author Ariel Levy, who told Donadio that she goes to her book group when she wants to talk about books, and that reading compatibility is a luxury. The goal, she said, is “to find somebody where your perversions match and who you can stand.”

What about you? How important is literary compatibility to you? Have you ever dumped someone because you found out they adore Ayn Rand or despise Dave Eggers? Or could you care less?

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

My husband and I have decidedly different tastes in literature. I love to read trashy novels and other works of fiction while he leans more toward biographies. I want to be enertained and taken away from the mundane and he wants to expand his knowledge. It's never been a problem for us.

Anonymous said...

My husband and I are somewhat different. I like are difference in books. It really is not that big of a deal. The only time I might get a little worried is if he is reading something like "Murdering your Spouse and Getting Away with It.."

Anonymous said...

You mean to tell me, with everything that is going on in the world, this is what get posted.... WOW... I sure wish I have the last 2 minutes of my life back instead of wasting it on this.

Anonymous said...

I would never leave a man over his choice of reading material (w/the exception of him researching 200 ways to kill your partner and get away w/it) - I wouls just be pleased that he was reading and therefore not give me grief re:my reading!!

hipQuest said...

I might have dumped a guy over music, if our taste were very opposite, 'cause I might have to actually be subjected to something I dislike but books?!?! I'm just glad my husband enjoys reading, he reads his books and I read mine. I read everything but he tends to be very focused on historical non-fiction. He's helped me discover books I might have missed and I help him weed out some of the dry, hard to read stuff that would drive him crazy.

The only instance I can think of to dump someone over their taste in literature is if they insisted on reading their choice aloud to me, frequently.

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

Do you ever write a blog that isn't about you?

chrlt37 said...

I wouldn't dump someone over a book necessarily, but I WOULD be inclined to dump someone (or not be inclined to date them to begin with) if they didn't read at all. That would (and in the past has) bug me. I love reading, learned to do so at 3 1/2, and reading is one of the greatest pleasures of my life. It would be really hard for me to imagine a relationship with someone who doesn't read.

Anonymous said...

No problems here. As long as she's reading books, and not Cosmo or In Style(because sooner or later, you'll no longer meet her expectations as a male of the species, that's why).

Then again, the women who read a lot of Anne Rice always end up breaking my heart, for some reason. I like the Erica Jong/Jackie Collins type, myself.

Great topic, BTW, don't worry about the haters.

Anonymous said...

Deirdre, now you have done it, this issue is without a doubt the most shining example of the most incredibly shallow mind, arctic cold heart, egotiscial, ignorance on the planet. Anonymous 4:06 PM on 4/1/08 needs to stop reading and get a life and stop wasting everyone elses time with his or her comments until he or she can come up with something constructive and productive to say. Deirdre, please, find something to write about that "Relates" to relationships! We can see and buy "stupid" and "blah" in the grocery store

eye_dee_ten_tea said...

Just on the off chance that someone in authority at the Big O reads this stuff:

If you haven't figured it out yet, based on the responses to the posts, these two have no clue about how to blog about relationships.

Save the electrons!

Linda Randall said...

when I read the book Hes just not that into you, it was a real eye opener and I dumped several potential boyfriends based on what Greg Behrendt taught me about relationships. I finally found the right kind of guy for me because of it, I stopped dating losers. :)

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