Alikewise.com just may be brilliant. A cross between Goodreads and Match.com, it allows you to meet people based on literary taste. You had us at "Call me Ishmael"...maybe.
First of all, reading through this site is fascinating, and doesn't feel voyeuristic the way viewing profiles normally does — because it's all about books, and of course the thornier (and arguably more fascinating) question of what people thinks is impressive, or who they're hoping to attract with a certain title. And really, is there a better metric for a book-lover? Within five minutes I knew I'd rule out The Little Prince (creepy), Franny and Zooey (although me ten years ago would have been all over him) and, well, Jillian Michaels' Winning by Losing (I don't work out.) On the other hand, Robert Lowell caught my eye.
Does it narrow things down more than any such profile? I think so: the way people talk about books, or music, or movies, is revealing, and not just in the High Fidelity way. You also can't help thinking that it's a self-selecting population...and isn't that what it's all about?
A game friend of mine tried it out, and reported, "the ratio of douche to cool seems about standard, but you can weed out a lot of chumps early on. And the good part is, you always have an ice-breaker in the form of books, be it an argument or bonding. At the end of the day, though, you still have to go out on a blind date."
Or, there's always a good book.
Image via Garth Bruner]