The Reading Game

As I was taking a break from writing my prospectus, I came across an interesting post at Stuff White People Like wherein they highlight an article from the New York Times on romantic compatibility and reading. I find this very amusing since I love to read, but (at least to my knowledge) am not a intellectual snob about it.

It’s actually hard for me to be a snob about reading and be in the field of Early American Literature. If you’ve ever taken a class where they made you read any piece of American fiction written before 1850 you know that it is horrible an acquired taste. I once recommended that a girlfriend read Charles Brockden Brown’s Wieland and wondered why she didn’t break up with me after. I love it, but most people would rather read the romantics anything else.

That being said, my wife and I have two identical bookshelves in our home office (though I have more book covered shelves along the ceiling as well). When I moved my stuff in and set these two up, I couldn’t have been more pleasantly surprised at how different they were.

  • My wife’s consists of: Dickens, non-fiction, vegan books, and Psychology works
  • Mine has: Early American works and critique, pulp and sci-fi, and a few comics.

We couldn’t be more different, yet we both slide up to the shelves and take a gander once in a while.

When we were dating, we actually exchanged books. I didn’t think of it as a test of compatibility at the time, but maybe it was. I read Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation, which helped me move into a healthier lifestyle and she read Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, which she seemed to really enjoy.

We still trade, but school has zapped our reading time. I gave her World War Z a while back and it sets on her shelf looking strangely at home among the non-fiction and she keeps putting baby books on my desk in hopes that I won’t tie our kids up like my dad did me (kidnapper anyone?).

All this to say that, like Ariel Levy from the article, I ended up with someone who doesn’t have the same reading taste or even frame of mind that I have, yet I love her intelligence (she’s a hell of a lot smarter than I am) and I would never kick her out of bed for saying that only Hawthorne she ever read was the high school brain killer, The Scarlet Letter.

So, don’t judge a book by its cover. You might not be compatible with a girl, just because she knows that Conan was an author first, a barbarian second, and only became a talk show host in recent history.


2 thoughts on “The Reading Game

  1. I’ve never read The Scarlet Letter. Every pretentious asshole claims The Scarlet Letter as the most recent book they’ve read. I’d rather be a unique pretentious asshole. And yes you should someday get around to the child raising books I “accidentally” leave on your desk. I’d like the kidnap game to be something fun you do with our child instead of a disciplinary technique.

  2. It’s funny that pretentious assholes have claimed The Scarlet Letter as their book of choice. That wouldn’t fly around English majors. We have to pull out Joyce or Beckett, etc.

    Though Joyce has lost some pret-cred now that they use Ulysses in upscale hotel commercials.

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