Sunday Salon: Out like a lion

Busy Bee that I am, I have not been able to devote time to reading or any of my hobbies. I obviously miss it, though I managed to read Blankets by Craig Thompson this week, and I continue to read Count of Monte Cristo in email. I actually read the emails every day now as opposed to forgetting about it and catching up later. There is quite a bit of political history in the book, and it’s just not that exciting as compared to the plight of Edmond who has not graced in the emails for over a week. I have not read Othello since last week. I always find that Shakespeare is fun but requires ample literary concentration. I will be back to reading form in, oh, 1.5 weeks.

Only one literary link this week, and it’s an interesting one indeed. The New York Times has an article called It’s Not You, It’s Your Books, an essay about love and literary taste. Just a few days ago, my close friend S and I were discussing this exact topic. I am quite resigned to the fact that I will probably not find a mate who reads or appreciates books and literature the way I do. Even at present, I can count the number of friends I have that engage in an active reading life on my hand. Finding friends who read is hard enough, I’m not going to raise a high bar for a partner who likes to read classics or–gasp–poetry like I do. So the idea of dumping someone for their literary taste is beyond silly to me because books and reading habits are not the be all and end all of people. They are not deal breakers. Though I can see it being apart of the deal breaker of incompatibility.

This is shallow though:

James Collins, whose new novel, “Beginner’s Greek,” is about a man who falls for a woman he sees reading “The Magic Mountain” on a plane, recalled that after college, he was “infatuated” with a woman who had a copy of “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” on her bedside table. “I basically knew nothing about Kundera, but I remember thinking, ‘Uh-oh; trendy, bogus metaphysics, sex involving a bowler hat,’ and I never did think about the person the same way (and nothing ever happened),”

Firstly, I really do like The Unbearable Lightness of Being so there may be bias in this, but I can understand making a judgment on someone based on books you’ve both read, but on the basis of a book you haven’t even read? So I presume is what Mr Collins means when he said he knew nothing about Kundera. Any way, I would like a partner who reads quite a bit, but I agree with Ms Levy in the article when she says it’s a bit of a “luxury” to have a partner who meets your reading habits. Though I am amused that there is a dating site for fans of Ayn Rand. For the record, I don’t post my reading preferences on Facebook profile. While I frequent the site to keep in contact with friends, my profile page is sparse keeping with my private nature. I also do not like answering questions about favourite books and authors. Too many to name!

Thoughts on this article? Have you known others to break up based on books? Have you? Does your partner read as much or read at all?

11 thoughts on “Sunday Salon: Out like a lion

  • Megan

    I have never known anyone who has broken up because of books. I have unfortunately never had a serious long term relationship with someone who loves to read. In fact that is on my list for the perfect man and I keep promising this is an area I will not settle in this time. When I met my exhusband he was a complete non reader. I can personally take the credit for introducing him to books and getting him to start reading. There was a nice sense of accomplishment that came along with that and it did bring us closer. As a result of his readiness I ended up reading all the Harry Potter books, which I probably wouldn’t have without his encouragement. Now that we aren’t together anymore I notice he doesn’t read (though he did pick up the last Harry Potter, I haven’t read it yet.)

  • Chris

    My husband never reads for pleasure and I don’t share his love of Nascar. I don’t think it matters because we are well suited in many other ways that are more important than hobbies. The idea of breaking up with someone because of what they read is silly. But people break up for silly reasons that probably are just the tip of a larger iceberg. The way my ex-boyfriend ate aggravated me but if we had been getting along I’m sure it wouldn’t have. I think the little things get on people’s nerves when the end is near!

  • Andi

    Ooh, what did you think of Blankets? It’s been on my wishlist for a while now, but I haven’t gotten ’round to reading it.

  • frumiousb

    I haven’t broken up with someone because of reading taste, although B. and I politely Do Not Mention his penchant for Paolo Coelho. We all have literary skeletons in the closet, I guess.

    I did break up with someone once for writing really bad love letters.

  • Ann Darnton

    I’ve never broken up with someone over books but funnily enough I was just commenting on someone else’s site that I really ought to get over my prejudice against a writer simply because they were my ex’s favourite.

  • Clare D

    My husband and I read different books. He loves SF and I love literary fiction – and never the twain shall meet. If an SF book looks literary, he won’t touch it. He does know a good book when he reads it, though, and is very good at criticism of literary stuff, better than I am, really – which is all very odd given out different amounts of practice. It’s an interesting question – and quite a romantic idea that books could alter the way you feel about someone.

  • Julie

    What a great question! My husband and I (happily married 15 yrs) have different but complementary tastes in books: we share a lot of interests, but he usually prefers nonfiction and I usually prefer fiction. I think both of us have ended up reading books that we wouldn’t have on our own. And it is such a delight when we find books that we both like.

    When I was single I used to torture myself with worry: what if I fell in love with someone who a) didn’t like to read or b) was allergic to cats. Luckily, the issue didn’t arise. 😉

  • John Mutford

    Hi there, I linked here from Chris.

    Like you, I certainly don’t hold my wife to any standard of liking the same books or even reading the same amount as me. Though, if she didn’t respect reading and books that’d be a whole different issue.

  • Christine

    My boyfriend is pretty much a non-reader. He’s pretty dyslexic, and although I understand he read a lot as a child, he definitely doesn’t anymore.

    It’s not something for which I would break up with him; a love of reading is a bonus for me but not a deal-breaker. That being said, I still do wish that he didn’t have such an aversion to reading. I feel like that’s a whole side of me that he’ll never really understand — and that is sad.


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