What is your literary deal breaker?

Considering the books that could tank a relationship.

By Sarah Hepola
Published March 31, 2008 6:33PM (EDT)

I have a female friend who, in the course of online dating, eliminated every potential candidate who listed "The Da Vinci Code" as the last thing he'd read. Apparently, this axed a lot of men. I've never had a literary deal breaker, but plenty women have, as recounted in a story in the New York Times Book Review called "It's Not You, It's Your Books." Salon's own book critic, Laura Miller, is quoted as breaking up with a guy for his love of Ayn Rand: "I just thought Rand was a hilariously bad writer, and past a certain point I couldn’t hide my amusement."

The piece, written by Rachel Donadio, is an amusing overview of that awkward situation we increasingly face in an age of personal profiles -- when what you read (or watch or listen to) becomes an important part of who you are. But here's the part that snagged my attention: Donadio writes, "Let's face it -- this may be a gender issue. Brainy women are probably more sensitive to literary deal breakers than are brainy men. (Rare is the guy who'd throw a pretty girl out of bed for revealing her imperfect taste in books.)"

So is this true? Are women more prone to this behavior than men? And if so, what's the book that would torpedo your relationship? I had to think about this one for a bit, but I came up with a final answer: "Dianetics."

Sarah Hepola

Sarah Hepola is the author of the New York Times bestselling memoir, "Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget."

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