A new literary matchmaking service lets people hook up based on their book preferences. But is this just as superficial as anything else?
According to GalleyCat, Word Bookstore's "Between the Covers: A Matchmaking Service for Book Lovers" is charmingly old-fashioned: the Brooklyn store simply put up a cork board where readers can tack up their literary faves along with contact information. The store's events coordinator Kelly Amabile told Time Out, "A lot of young, single professionals shop at our store, so it made sense to give people an opportunity to mingle in a literary environment." And Sherry Wasserman, one of several people who appear to have met literary loves through the service, says,
Sharing this meaningful interest can really open people's minds to one another. [Greg] loves Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon. I love Neil Gaiman, and American Gods is one of my all-time favorite books. It's all good. We read each other's recommendations. Sharing things we love creates a great form of intimacy.
Adorbs, right? Well, sorta — even in the quaint world of cork boards and ye olde printed word, the equivalent of a crap Craigslist from a dude exists. Russ Marshalek, AKA DJ RussComm, tells Time Out his "literary dealbreakers":
Junot Díaz — he's incredibly overrated and will come between us in bed. I don't like Michael Chabon, and more importantly, I don't like the self-important hipster girls that think Chabon created literature. If you refuse to read Bret Easton Ellis because you got halfway through American Psycho and were ‘offended,' um…to the left, to the left.
Okay, I get that they asked. But I'm not sure I've met those "self-important hipster girls that think Chabon created literature" (and frankly, for all their good points, Chabon's books can be a little dude-centric). And RussComm's bit about herding "offended" ladies to the left (what, are they queuing up?) makes him sound like a dismissive jerk. Then again, maybe I'm just mad that he doesn't like Junot Díaz.
The truth is, I'm not sure judging somebody by his or her literary taste is any less superficial than trolling Match for tall guys who make a lot of money. Despite another Between the Covers user's observation that "many women have a distaste for Kerouac and Bukowski. It sounds like they may have been burned by dudes who read them in the past," you can't really tell that much about someone's personality by his literary taste — at least until you know why he likes what he likes. Which, like most things, requires an actual conversation. For a lot of serious readers, finding someone who also loves books is probably a baseline compatibility issue — and in bringing those kinds of people together, Between the Covers is performing a useful service. But daters beware: that Alice Munro fan could still be a serial killer, and the guy re-reading On the Road could be the man of your dreams.
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