Thursday, April 3, 2008

Deal Breakers: Books

Earlier this week, the New York Times Sunday Book Review published an article about books that were deal breakers when it comes to relationships. I must admit that I had never considered a book to be a deal breaker before.

The article is interesting, but the true entertainment comes from reading responses in the accompanying blog. As I write this, the NYT blog has 300+ responses ranging from anything by Mitch Albom (who wrote Tuesdays with Morrie) to Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code to James Joyce’s Ulysses. A number of people also cited not reading as a deal breaker while others complained that judging people by what they read (or don’t read) is snobbery.

If anything, this idea is very thought provoking. Like music, which can be very personal, books are not simply objects in and of themselves. Instead, this article suggests that the books we read are a reflection of our ideas and values. While this may be true to a certain extent, it is a little scary to think that we are all judged by these books. As several posts pointed out, some very intelligent people read light books for fun or to get a break from more serious fare. Whenever I ride the subway, I am intrigued by the books people read. While I see people who study their law torts and read diligently from their copies of War and Peace, I can’t help but admire those who have no qualms with publicly reading a book with a really embarrassing title and cover (often found on self-help books and romance novels).

For me, I suppose that the real deal breaker might be not reading at all, if for no other reason then we would probably run out of things to talk about after the first few dates. Granted, I might be a little freaked out if a guy I was dating said that he loved Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series or read only manga. However, at least that would give us a lot to argue about.