I generally like the-back-of-the-book essays in The New York Times Book Review, have been composing one in my head for a long time: “How I Came to Learn that Carlos Fuentes Loves Bluefish.” Alas, I cannot give this away before writing it so, in the meantime, today’s essay in the Book Review, It's Not You, It's Your Books, prompts this post.
Dump him/her, it says, if your reading tastes are not compatible. Fortunately, my hubby and I didn’t make this a criterion, lest those shelves of science fiction - which he regards as something close to sacred and I’ve never gotten past Page Two of - would have rent us asunder. That said, I made this compatibility a key magnet between the main characters of a novel.
Read Rachel Donadio’s piece if this difference in taste troubles you.
Meanwhile, this tidbit from the annals of relationship history as contributed by my friend, Hannah, who spent many a year searching for her true love, a mission successfully completed two Junes past.
Before the Internet, she was a major contributor to the income stream of the personal pages of The Village Voice and The New York Review of Books. Her ads weren’t turning much up so I jumped in with my aforementioned pencil (previous post), wrote what I regarded as a killer ad, which naturally turned up many suitors (including a few suits). None was so amusing as the attorney whom she went on one date with, during which he talked about their respective summer homes and how wonderful their shuttling between the two would be. Said he’d call her the next day (remember the phone? that communication device that people once used?). Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. And then three months later he left a voicemail, said he was sorry, that he couldn’t continue the relationship.
Back to the point of this post. The drill went like this: Hannah would call to tell me about an impending date, then report in when she got home, on occasion the following morning. We’d do quick post-assessments including checklist questions like whether he held the door, picked up the check, appeared to have changed his clothes since the ’60s, and of course whether he was cute, funny, and smart, without which...One night, around 9 o’clock, early for the post-date call unless the guy was a real loser, Hannah was whispering into the phone.
“I’m at his apartment.”
“Wow, things went that well,” I replied. “Where is he?”
“He’s in the bathroom but he doesn’t have any books.”
“No books in the whole apartment?”
She did. And guess what? The guy she married has books, is something of an expert on Muriel Sparks, an English professor even.