Our store is hosting a mixer for book lovers next week- you can check out the details on the front page of our website. I'm looking forward to it the way you look forward to any party- the food will be good, we've got some fun planned, who will show up? As I think about compatibility and book tastes, though, I wonder...
My husband and I have totally different tastes in reading. That is, I love to read, and he never cracks a book. He used to read more, especially during his many travels. But now he'll listen to his iPod or play games on his phone, or watch movies on his laptop, or one of the many other high tech options that we now have available to us. Me? I see an airplane trip as several hours of uninterrupted reading time. Full Stop. I usually take about twice as many books as I'll probably actually read on a trip, because who knows? I might somehow power through all the books I've brought and THEN WHAT??!! Security is bringing an extra book or two. I haven't gone to an e-reader, although traveling is one place where I could see a use for one. Maybe someday, but I don't mind cramming my suitcase full of books and pushing the weight limit for checked bags.
But I digress. The point is that I am a reader and believe I will be one for the rest of my life, and my husband decidedly is not a reader. This makes me sad sometimes. I can (and do) tell him about the books I'm reading in excruciating detail, discuss their themes, and ask him what he thinks. He will gamely take part in such a conversation. But talking about a book that I've already filtered through my brain is not the same as getting his own take on its ideas. My husband is a smart, thoughtful man. But I don't get to hear his thoughts on philosophy, the latest foodie book, or whether the new science fiction book I'm reading is as good as I think it is. He is a wonderful husband with many sterling qualities. It seems petty to be wistful about the fact that we don't read together. I certainly know that I won't change him. But if I'd gone to a booklovers mixer to meet him, he wouldn't have been there.
So, how does taste in books translate to compatibility? I love the members of my book clubs, because they are smart, funny, insightful, open-minded people, and we have great discussions. In theory, I can see that translating into a deeper connection, relationship-wise. If you know how someone thinks and what is important to them, that can help you decide if they would be a good mate. Just knowing how someone thinks and argues about books can help you see if they are willing to look at another point of view, if they are willing to listen, or if they just like to hear themselves talk.
I don't think type of reading necessarily should be a criteria for romance, though. I know, for example, many whip-smart, professional women who read romances almost exclusively. They have fast-paced, stressful lives, and they need an outlet and escape, which romances provide. Most guys that I know are not big romance readers (I can think of a couple of exceptions, though). But maybe the fact that the girl you're interested in likes a happy ending instead of tragic books is useful information? Conversely, if I know that someone else likes reading Charles Stross, for example, I know that we can have a great conversation about the direction that science fiction is going, how technology and imagination can ignite each other, and maybe find that we have similar senses of humor.
I think I can get along with just about any sort of book lover. I can respect different opinions and I know that everyone has unique tastes. It's fun to discover what you have in common as a couple, and where your interests are different enough that you learn from each other. My husband and I share a love of hockey and languages. I've taught him some about food, and he's certainly broadened my travel horizons. He hates the Vampire Diaries (my guilty pleasure) but will watch The Big Bang Theory with me. So I don't think it's about finding the perfect match, but finding someone whom you can respect and grow with.
But, I don't think I could marry an Ayn Rand worshipper. We're not coming from different viewpoints, but almost different planets. No offense to the Randians- maybe we could just be friends.