It’s Not You, It’s Your Books

I’m sure that by now every book blogger has linked to It’s Not You, It’s Your Books in The New York Times. It’s hilarious, and I essentially agree with Beverly West except with the genders reversed:

After all, women read more, especially when it comes to fiction. “It’s really great if you find a guy that reads, period,” said Beverly West, an author of “Bibliotherapy: The Girl’s Guide to Books for Every Phase of Our Lives.”

Finding someone who likes to read is one way of avoiding the bigger problem discussed in the next paragraph:

Still, to some reading men, literary taste does matter. “I’ve broken up with girls saying, ‘She doesn’t read, we had nothing to talk about,’” said Christian Lorentzen, an editor at Harper’s. Lorentzen recalls giving one girlfriend Nabokov’s “Ada” — since it’s “funny and long and very heterosexual, even though I guess incest is at its core.” The relationship didn’t last, but now, he added, “I think it’s on her Friendster profile as her favorite book.”

Nabokov seems like a needlessly high test of literary taste, like demanding that a significant other not only be athletic, but participate in marathons. The purported link between fiction and empathy deserves a note too, since it might be used to justify otherwise almost sadistic requirement for literary knowledge and pleasure.

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