Here Are the Books to Mention—And Avoid—On Your Dating Profile
What books do most people think are red flags? Twitter found out this week
Relationships are hard. Whether they are with romantic partners or friends, it’s no easy feat navigating the dance of differing opinions that comes with introducing a new and potentially important person into your life. What is your political affiliation? Do you want kids? And probably the most controversial question — what’s your favorite book?
Sometimes, you get lucky and you find yourself in a decade-long friendship with someone who can discuss the feminist undertones of Jane Austen. Sometimes, you’ve already given your boyfriend keys to your apartment before finding out that he’s read Atlas Shrugged seven times…and loved it each and every time. Aware of this conundrum, writer Laura Relyea took to Twitter and asked her fellow bibliophiles, “What books are automatic red flags for you with people?”
What books are automatic red flags for you with people? I’ll start: I once called off a date when a dude told me his fave book was Lolita.
One person echoed Relyea’s Nabokovian worries:
@laura_relyea @mashpotassium Once I said to a prospective date, jeez, how could a person ever call their daughter Lolita after reading that? My daughter is called Lolita, he said. Aaaaaaaargh.
Others added their own personal dealbreakers. Warnings against Catcher in the Rye, Jonathan Livingston Seagull, and Atlas Shrugged (plus really anything by Ayn Rand) dominated.
Honestly I can't believe no one has said Ginsberg or Kerouac yet? That's like a gigantic fuck boi red flag to me. Only acceptable the first two years of college.
Some used the thread as an opportunity to recall non-romantic but still equally horrific experiences.
And there were those that took a hopeful approach, advising that maybe you are the book angel someone’s library deserves.
One writer, Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self author Danielle Evans responded with a post on her own personal Twitter.
And Twitter delivered love stories that would make any literature-lover weep with joy,
@daniellevalore The first book my man & I ever talked about was The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. I fell in love- with him; a decade later I found out his first true love was Superman.
@daniellevalore My not yet husband was reading Four Ways to Forgiveness, by Ursula Le Guin (which had just come out) the first time I went to his house.
@daniellevalore One time, I took a friend to a bookstore (and I had a crush on him and I thought he liked me but never ever happened) and I mentioned that Of Mice and Men is my favorite book but I gave my only copy away, so then we were in line and he bought me a copy to surprise me and ❤️
As well as this, uh, candid gem.
Forget romantic matchups—this is a great thread to read through if you need some new books and authors to fall in love with.
@daniellevalore I know they've got a big ol' soft spot if they've got The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter on the shelf.
@xiankiefer @daniellevalore David Wojnarowicz's incredible essay collection. https://t.co/LBhyUq19d8
@daniellevalore any Markus Zusak (Book Thief/Bridge of Clay are best), Eduardo Galeano (The Book of Embraces), Marilynne Robinson (Housekeeping). Tocqueville! also one time a guy I dated asked who Walt Whitman would've been as a rapper (I said Nas, but open for debate) & I kinda lost my mind.
@daniellevalore Hands down - Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. A) it's amazing b) you have to commit to reading it c) you also probably enjoy snarky footnotes
@daniellevalore Never met a Tove Jansson fan I didn't like (both the Moomin books and her novels/stories for adults, which are great)
@daniellevalore Anybody who loves The Woman in White or The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins is my friend whether they know it or not.
And finally, here’s our favorite exchange on the topic:
@daniellevalore I have knocked people over with the force of my friendship if they make any reference to @mary_roach
@JezRebelle @daniellevalore And I will rush over and pick them up and we'll all go have a beer together
Red flag books are all well and good—it’s important to be on your guard in this bad world—but white flag books can get you a beer with Mary Roach, and in the end, isn’t that what it’s all about?