Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Hot Reads

I am very much enjoying this debate on the Guardian's Culture Vulture blog: which books are sexy and which are not?

I don't think I'd actually try to get off with someone based solely on their reading matter but I do tend to make judgements after the event, based on what books they have lying around the place. Years ago, I was delighted to catch sight, by the bedside of my new love interest, of a volume of Terry Eagleton literary criticism. At last, a thinker! Much joy ensued. Some time and much literary discussion later, I realised that his enthusiasm for arch-mysogynist Philip Roth was a definite sign that there was no future in it. (God I LOATHE "America's Greatest Living Writer" Philip Roth.) When I mentioned that Roth hates women, and he just looked baffled... Well. Farewell.

More bizarrely, I was dumped not once but twice in incidents directly related to Haruki Murukami's South of the Border, West of the Sun. Inexplicable. They read it; it was curtains. I went to a talk given by Murakami shortly after dumping number 2 (indeed, at the suggestion of the dumper, to whom I had foolishly lent the book in the first place - no future lover of mine will *ever* get his mitts on it) and intended to ask the author (a) why this had befallen me and (b) what he was going to do about it, but sadly, from my seat of row Z number 2 (and there were only two seats in row Z) I was unable to get the attention of the chair of the discussion - one Scott Pack, the Artist Formerly Known As Evil. So my question went unanswered. The nice Japanese-speaking gay man in the other half of row Z, however, did dispense the following invaluable piece of wisdom: "If you go out with Murukami men, you get dumped in Murukami ways." Sage...

In short, while it's true that reading might be sexy, it very much depends on what you read. Still, there's one thing to be said for compatible reading habits: at least you know you'll have something to talk about when you finally get bored of having sex.


  1. Probably more than one wants to know about one's neighbourhood bookseller, but in the spirit of disussion...seeing a woman reading Dan Brown , Chick-Lit or The Celestine Prophecy probably has the same effect on many males as Philip Roth has on Marie

    But hey, at least Roth writes about women...what about all those Jeremy Clarkson / SAS fiction freaks out there?

  2. Oh yes, I forgot that some of the people who read this have to look me in the eye over the shop counter on a regular basis. Sorry about that.

    You have a point about Chick-lit and the Celestine Prophecy, not just if you're a bloke either. But judging by the amount of Dan Brown we sell, and who to, you're going to be severely restricting your pulling choices if that is a deal breaker. Hasn't everybody at least tried it once? I know I have. It was unreadable, but there's probably a copy knocking around the house somewhere.

    As for Jeremy Clarkson / SAS fiction, I can't even imagine we'd get far enough into the converation for me to find out what he was reading. But therein lie further perils: you vet a man's reading habits, maybe even accept the odd Roth on the shelf (he's an intellectual author after all), and then one day you come home to find your beloved curled up on the sofa in front of Top Gear.

    Don't laugh. It could happen to any of us.

  3. so let me get this straight...one day I will get bored of having sex? And then I'll start reading books about the SAS?

  4. Saw this and thought of you


  5. So, good luck then, to the poor chap who approaches the counter with a copy of the Dying Animal...

  6. You should here the stuff she comes out with when the customers are out of ear shot.

  7. So how are your sales of The Game, by Neil Strauss, anyway?

  8. That's on the list of books that I won't let the boys order in. They still bloody do, though.

  9. Probably reading it in secret as well, careful now.