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Dealbreaker: She's the Wrong Kind of Smart - Culture - GOOD

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Would anyone add any other books to this list? ...

“What’s your favorite book?” I asked. “I mean, of all time. Any subject. Favorite book. Go.”

Without hesitation, she said: “1984,” then quickly, “by George Orwell.”

I suppose she didn’t want me to confuse it with the Danielle Steele version. I was irritated. 1984? What a drag. Sure, it’s iconic. But the characters are thin, and if you really want to read some Orwell, Keep the Aspidistra Flying is his better work, and—but I didn’t say any of these things. I could get over this. I could get over 1984 being her favorite book. I could get over all of her ignorant claims about just shooting off a book, an important one. I could maybe even be supportive and helpful in this endeavor. There was just one thing I needed to know.

“When is the last time you read it?” I asked. I was 28 years old. She was 32.

She blinked and said, “I don’t know. High school.”

And just like that, it was over. I don’t disqualify romantic partners whose favorite books are 9th grade staples like To Kill a Mockingbird or Huckleberry Finn. Hell, I’m obsessed with The Old Man and the Sea and Catcher in the fucking Rye. But I’ve read both of those books several times since I escaped from beneath my parents’ roof. I don’t just talk about reading books, or show up to readings of books. I really read them, too.

If reading is a kind of passion, and passion is related to sex, a partner who only bothers to page through her “favorite book” once, way back in high school, hasn’t advanced much past intellectual puberty. A woman doesn’t have to have read—or even heard of—the books I love. She just has to read books, and read them for fun because she loves them. For some, writing that changes the world is a huge turn-on, and that’s great. For me, it’s a little smarter, and maybe a little sexier, when a woman is content to just turn the pages and sigh.

What list?

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