Full disclosure, I know this might make me sound like a snob. I’m okay with that.
I’m a very introverted person and I have a hard time meeting people in general, much less people I might want to go out with. And let’s be honest, it’s 2018, so yes—I’m on Tinder. And Bumble. And Her. I was even on Grindr for a while when I got sick of talking to straight men. But anyone who has been on any dating app for .5 seconds knows that they can be frustrating. It’s like trudging through the haystack to find a needle, and then trying to convince the needle to meet up for coffee.
I make my love for reading pretty obvious. My front picture is me holding a stack of books, and my description says “I like long walks through the bookstore.” So it’s a pretty obvious place to start, if you wanted to get to know me. Often it goes like this:
Them: “So what do you so for fun?”
Me: “I read a lot”
Them: “What else?”
A few of you Rioters out there know the struggle, don’t you? A lot of my interests revolve around my love for books, and any attempt to get to know another person will inevitably get around to reading habits. So I ask:
What is the last book you read that you loved?
What are some of your favorite authors?
What’s on your to be read list?
If you’re a reader like me, the answers to these questions can tell you a lot about a person. You can tell a person’s tastes, if they like to get out of their comfort zone, if they care about the same things you care about. So it can be a little frustrating to come across people who can’t answer these questions. While logically I understand that some people don’t like to read or aren’t as into books as I am, I’m not sure I want to date someone like that. It’s a deep passion for me, something that has been true since I was a child, and I can’t let go of that. I’ve built my career around books. I’ve built my whole life around books.
And I’ve been screaming about the importance of supporting books by marginalized voices for a long time now, so I also see red flags if someone hasn’t read anything that isn’t by a dead white man. You, Dear Book Riot Reader, might sympathize with this—either they’ve never read anything past high school or they don’t care about reading diversely. To me, that would indicate someone who is blind to issues plaguing our society or who isn’t interested in pushing their own intellectual boundaries. What is the point of reading if you’re only reading things that re-enforce what you already know, what you’ve already learned? Are you really growing as a person if your bookshelves haven’t changed, if you haven’t challenged yourself and your world view? If someone’s reading habits are stunted, are their lives stunted too?
It becomes a philosophical difference, at that point. If we accept that all art is political (it is), then our bookshelves become a political statement, a statement about ourselves, what is important to us, what our beliefs are, what our hopes and dreams are. When looking for a potential partner, or even just someone we might have a conversation with for a night, these things are important.
I ask questions about books because it tells me something about the way someone might think and feel, and these things are important when considering a new relationship. Dating in general is pretty terrible, but trying to find someone who’s reading habits align with mine seems to be pretty damn impossible.
Good thing my books will always be there for me.
Want to romance a bookworm? Read our Do’s and Don’ts of Dating a Reader.