Judging her by the cover

Saturday, 29 March 2008 — 6:09am | Literature

Rachel Donadio has written a superb essay in The New York Times Book Review on literary dealbreakers, disparities in literary taste that spell doom for a relationship. As should be obvious to my regular readers, I fully agree that this is an acceptable standard that brooks no compromise, much like how many out there hold their partners to far sillier criteria like religion.

Need I name my dealbreakers, Dan Brown?

I find it a stimulating exercise, however, to ponder the problem in the inverse: the dealbreaker involving a book that a potential (but alas, only potential) companion fails to like. And come to think of it, on this account I can be quite forgiving—knowing, as I do, that I am a reader of profoundly omnivorous interests whose favourite novels hail from genres or aesthetic movements that virtually never intersect.

But if I had to pick one? Well, I wouldn’t even consider getting involved with someone who doesn’t appreciate The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. A candlelight dinner with the sort of young lady blind to Mark Haddon’s whimsical celebration of genius—be it the intrigue of its Holmesian bravado, the incalculable charm of chapters numbered in primes (oh la la!), or simply hating France—is, frankly, two wasted hours better spent re-reading The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.


submit to reddit

3 rejoinders to “Judging her by the cover”

  1. Daniel Kaszor

    It’s funny how the deal breakers aren’t the super low-brow books; they’re the middle-brow novels that people mistake for high-brow.

    Sunday, 30 March 2008 at 8:32pm

  2. Spencer

    Of course the same article received some attention on Stuff White People Like in their edition of White People Problems:


    Monday, 7 April 2008 at 11:29pm

  3. Hmmm… interesting point of note. I can see that.

    I’ve got to read that book you mention. It’s on my to-read list. Especially after Mark Haddon’s comments on some of the other books I’ve read recently.

    Friday, 16 May 2008 at 2:27pm

Say something interesting: