April 8, 2008 by 8junebugs
I confess: I judge you by your bookshelves. Mike will attest to this–while he cooked me that first dinner, I pretended to look at his fish but was really evaluating the books on the shelves beneath the tank.
And I am not alone, especially when it comes to reconn on the opposite sex.
Before you tag me as the namby-pamby pseudointellectual I fully admit I am, let it be known that this type of literary screening has come back to bite me in the ass. I met a lad long ago who let me catch him reading Catcher in the Rye in a stairwell.
If you know me at all, you know I’m a sucker for boys reading in stairwells. Also for Salinger.
“A ha!” thought my 19-year-old self, adjusting her flowy skirt and releasing her ponytail. “Clearly, we will have much to discuss. Here is a gent of discriminating literary taste. Now that I have seen into his intellectual soul, I am willing to overlook the unfortunate denim jacket.”
Whether he deliberately misled me or just got lucky, I shall never know. Eventually, I learned that he considered Anne Rice’s Memnoch the Devil his Bible. I nearly choked on my ego, I was so appalled. I am something of a Rice fan, but there are limits, and Memnoch was so far past those limits that I think I took up Ayn Rand in sheer protest.
What am I looking for on your shelves? The article nails it–I am looking for intellectual curiosity, for variety that connotes a playful spirit. Dickens and Dante, sure, but also the Dune series. Bonus points for The Tao of Pooh, minus 1 for every Chicken Soup title. If Douglas Adams is well represented, you can probably count on getting to at least second base. Ditto for a well-thumbed Choose Your Own Adventure or a vintage Hardy Boys.
Huntington’s Clash of Civilizations? That may be a tipping point, one way or the other. We can discuss it.
At the same time, I am determining whether my own shelves will freak you out. I have the Dune series, in fact, as well as Little Women, the Deed of Paksenarrion trilogy, Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking, Atlas Shrugged (told you), Franny and Zooey, and several editions of Shakespeare’s complete works. I have books on God, books on Jesus, and books on Wicca. I have The 9/11 Commission Report and Mary Poppins. I have the Harry Potter series; biographies of Helen Thomas, Alan Greenspan, and Dave Eggers (to start); and several different style manuals and dictionaries.
I do not have a thesaurus, but I know that’s because I’m a snot-nosed brat. That’s an outlier, just like your copy of The Firm. We can agree to live and let live.
Come out, come out, wherever you are… I know some of you do this. ‘Fess up.