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Paul Whybrow

Full Member
Jun 20, 2015
Cornwall, UK
A thought-provoking Guardian article discusses whether an ideal romantic partner would have the same reading preferences as you.

‘I couldn’t be with someone who liked Jack Reacher’: can our taste in books help us find love?

Contemplating my own romantic history, the most successful relationships were those with shared bookish tastes. They included genre writing and literature.

As a librarian and as a writer, I’ve known some odd characters (all male) whose single-mindedness in what they read probably contributed to their confirmed bachelor status. One man read only Stephen King, and had turned his spare room into a library devoted to him, including foreign language editions. A colleague favoured science fiction, considering anything else beneath him.

Previously, we’ve looked at How Frequent Readers Make the Best Lovers and whether Dating a Writer is the way to go if you want a loving and lasting relationship, but what about shared reading tastes?

Does your partner like the same books as you?

Are you mystified and embarrassed by their choices?

Have you bonded over a book?

Film director John Waters gave good advice:

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No. Married 28 years, it's anything but a togetherness of tastes and interests. Teamwork on a common project, yes. I decide the decor. He does the painting.

We both read non-fiction. My husband doesn't read fiction, not at all, and his non-fiction reading mainly consists of WW1 history. He is very knowledgeable, just finished a history of the Duke of Lancaster's Yeomanry. He'd rather do a complex jigsaw puzzle, and is freakily good at it, where I would yawn at the prospect. He yawns at any book discussion, won't discuss books he is reading, but humours me, allowing me to share a daily book sourced factoid, whatever I am reading. He likes a new fact.

I get where this person, John Waters is coming from. It's just that one can learn a lot new from someone who has a different outlook and background to oneself, books or no books.

Instead of a bookshelf they might have a workshop, or a tool shed, or fields of plants or animals.
 
The house I share with my spouse has two extra bedrooms, one for his library and one for mine and never the books from one to the other. His has no fiction (has tried to read fiction, but it didn't take), nothing outside the realm of military (including tin soldiers and dioramas and a bit of 'stuff'). Mine has a wide variety, from how to repair a famous teddy bear, to how to train a cat (or dog or horse), to furniture/house repair, to specific historical reads for regions I've lived in (there are many, and the collections include maps and street directories - a whole shelf!) and even books on projects such as black powder weapons and safety guides for explosives to the people who made roads through the outback. Lots of other stuff; medical, psychology, astronomy, science of all-sorts, geology (love rocks), original works from genealogical societies about the people in their places (Australian places).
Oh, and some fiction. I tend not to keep fiction, though, and share it with other readers (not family, they don't seem to understand what a book is, let alone what it can do for a person).
The short version is that we don't share a passion for the same books, only the need (obsession) to have them. Which is obvious, if you hear us talk about the littlest room in the house, which we call 'the library' and which has shelves for reading material, a special light to ensure reading time isn't a strain on the eyes, and the odd notebook and pen for scribbling.
 
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