Quill and Quire

Book news

« Back to

Talk books, knock boots

Over at The Tyee, Shannon Rupp has posted a lengthy response to a recent New York Times piece about bibliophiles judging potential mates by their reading material.

Using a booklist to divine a man’s character seems no worse than rating his shoes “ which many women swear is infallible “ and it may be better. A meeting of minds as a prelude to a meeting of . . . well, it just seems more authentic. Or so I thought, until I saw male reaction to the Times piece and discussed it with a few of my well-read men friends who began reminiscing about how knowing what was between the covers got them between the covers.

From there, Rupp shares a number of her men friends’ cheesy book-related pick up lines, and also exposes the all-too-common practice of “bookwinking” “ pretending to have read and/or liked a book in order to get laid.

In perusing online comments it became clear that bookwinking is common. For every woman who dismisses a man for not knowing Pushkin, there are 10 men who have been literary poseurs. While it’s generally agreed by those of all sexes that a fondness for The Da Vinci Code, Ayn Rand, Dianetics, The Secret, and anything by Ann Coulter or Eckhart Tolle will get you booted out of bed by most thinking singletons, women note that there are a few books that serve as a kind of code-speak that a man’s taste in fiction is just that.

For example, beware any guy who claims Milan Kundera’s Unbearable Lightness of Being on his reading list. He’s trawling for casual sex.

Another warning sign is an alleged fondness for Dave Eggers’ A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. Apparently, it’s the title-of-choice among men posing as sensitive guys.