On Literary Deal-Breakers; or, My Lack of Snobbery

The New York Times published a much-talked-about story a week or two ago titled “It’s Not You, it’s Your Books,” which talks about “deal-breaker” books — books that make their owners less attractive or downright undateable.

I’ve delayed writing about it until now because it wasn’t that obvious what books would give me second thoughts about dating a guy. At heart, I’m simply not much of an elitist. I have the occasional snobbery, but in general I seem to judge people based on their attitudes (the less elitist, the more I like them) and not their actual tastes. After some thought, I came up with the following few literary turn-offs:

No variety. Only science fiction? Only non-fiction? Only mysteries? Only political biographies? A boring bookshelf means a boring person.

Naked ladies. Even if they’re tasteful, artsy coffee-table book collections, more just near-naked pin-ups — more than one (and really… even just the one…) porny or pseudo-porny book is going to weird me out. I’m not a prude, I would just… wonder about that guy.

Movie novelizations. I abhor these.

No books at all. Now that’s a deal-breaker.

I started to put “Bad Science Fiction” on the list, but — and here I pause to consider The Staffer’s seventeen-and-counting Dean Koontz novels on our shelf — that’s not really a deal-breaker (apparently) as long as the “variety” requirement is filled. (His Koontzes are balanced out with Dostoevskys and Chomskys.)