“It’s not you, it’s the fact that you forwarded me that ‘It’s Not You, It’s Your Books’ article”

It has taken almost exactly four months for a trend piece to make me actively wish I still worked at Gawker. I guess it had to happen sometime. Writing about literary dealbreakers, Rachel Donadio interviews a bunch of snobs whose snobbery I can so totally relate to, and then, on the Paper Cuts blog, solicits ‘literary dealbreakers’ from commenters.

Of course, I’ve found myself on both sides of this kind of dealbreaking — the moment of indrawn breath following my confession that I’ve never read ‘Dead Souls’ on the one side, the moment of spotting ‘A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius’ on a bookshelf one the other. I’m ashamed of myself, but at the same time not. Because, well, we all want to have read and accumulated all those books for SOME reason, right?

Best comments so far: “Give me a lover of James Patterson and Nora Roberts any day over someone who thinks Lethem and Safran Foer are geniuses. Who likes a striver?” (But then he contradicts himself by continuing, “The sight of a woman reading Javier Marias, Robert Musil, Frank O’Hara or just about any of the NYRB titles and I’m immediately smitten.”)

A lot of other commenters get all chidey and recommend dating someone whose likes complement yours and aren’t identical to them. Everyone takes everything incredibly seriously. And no one likes Ayn Rand.

10 comments to “It’s not you, it’s the fact that you forwarded me that ‘It’s Not You, It’s Your Books’ article”

  • EG

    Is it wrong that cookbooks are a turn on? A woman with cookbooks and knows how to use them. I bet you and Sarvas would fall in loved based on your literary tastes. We all know you pick on Sarvas because you secretly like him.

  • I like Ayn Rand. I’d recommend that you not date anyone.

  • Jen

    I have books that I ended up hating (ahem, David Foster Wallace) on my bookshelf.
    And “Dead Souls” is awesome and not very long.

  • Merely SEEING “A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius” on someone’s bookshelf is a dealbreaker?

  • Andrea

    What’s your beef with Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius? I have my own reasons but I’m curious to know yours.

  • emily

    @Bobo: Well, only if there are only two or three other books there alongside it. I’m sure this is not the case on your bookshelf, so we can still sleep together when you decide to stop being gay.

  • jacque

    I’m kind of bummed that Rachel Donadio didn’t remark on the prevalence, of what I call, ‘pristine spine’ bookshelves. If you see a bunch of greats unscathed (probably unopened) and weathered copy of Sula by Toni Morisson, you’re in for a world of ache.

    It’s probably a whole different set of rules for lesbians though.

  • [...] fiction. For further reading, check out the comments section of the NYT’s Paper Cuts blog, Emily magazine and Half the Sins of [...]

  • I don’t have ignorant musings, just normal ones, semi-informed ones.

    I’m curious to know what Emily is reading right now, and what she has liked in the last year. I need some new fiction to read, I’m a bit too non-fiction focused. It’s hard to find literature better than a biography of Lincoln.

    I’ve never heard of you before reading your Times article. Hope you’re following Robert’s advice and taking time to recharge.

  • mary

    that article in the NYT was so ridiculous! i myself, an avid reader married a non reader who could care less about books. not a problem expect when he has the television on as background noise to my much needed silent reading time.

    seriously people who create trite and sanctimonious “deal breakers” might want to look into medication and consider a real deal breaker is using that phrase at all!!

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