Deal Breaker Books

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Rachel Donadio published an essay on yesterday's New York Times Sunday Book Review entitled It's Not You, It's Your Books. Donadio discusses how a person's taste in books affects relationships, and she brings in comments from all sorts of literary folks including Augusten Burroughs and Nora Ephron.

Donadio also appeared on NPR's Talk of the Nation today, on a program entitled Books: A Canary in the Relationship Coal Mine? It sounds like she's already getting quite a reaction to her piece, as it's currently at the top of the NYT's "Most Emailed" list.

Here's a brief snippet from the article:

Naming a favorite book or author can be fraught. Go too low, and you risk looking dumb. Go too high, and you risk looking like a bore — or a phony. "Manhattan dating is a highly competitive, ruthlessly selective sport," Augusten Burroughs, the author of "Running With Scissors" and other vivid memoirs, said. "Generally, if a guy had read a book in the last year, or ever, that was good enough." The author recalled a date with one Michael, a "robust blond from Germany." As he walked to meet him outside Dean & DeLuca, "I saw, to my horror, an artfully worn, older-than-me copy of 'Proust' by Samuel Beckett." That, Burroughs claims, was a deal breaker. "If there existed a more hackneyed, achingly obvious method of telegraphing one's education, literary standards and general intelligence, I couldn't imagine it."

So this all leads me to wonder: have I been the victim of the deal breaker book? Has anyone checked out my messy shelves and silently judged me lame? I don't recall discussing deal breaker books per se, but I did experience a near deal breaker movie -- an ex was deeply put off by my abiding love for Brain Candy, the Kids in the Hall movie. I love-love-love that movie, while she, um, didn't care for it so much.

Being the brainy bunch I know you are, I thought perhaps you'd share your deal breaker book/movie/media experiences. Have you ever judged someone harshly, based on their taste in media?

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March 31, 2008 - 2:15pm
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