Look, I don’t want to bash books any more than screens already do. Frankly, if people are reading physical books, then I don’t care what they read as long as they enjoy it. Unless, of course, they’re only reading Helter Skelter: The True Story of The Manson Murders, and nothing else. Seems like maybe something’s wrong if the only book you own is The Anarchist Cookbook. Thankfully, a viral Twitter thread is helping people everywhere understand that while reading is good, proudly proclaiming certain books are your “favorite” is a red flag. Sadly, that means waiting until date number 3 before you tell another person you love Updike.
Still, there’s hope. I read about 40 books a year, and I must say, a new favorite pops up every other month or so. It’s not always the case. In fact, there’s a special place in my heart for the books I read at 15 when I was a straight-up monster. Fearfully, I page through those books I loved then only to discover… they’re actually pretty good. The Rabbit novels aren’t perfect and you certainly shouldn’t emulate the things Harry Angstrom does in those books, but come on. The man won two Pulitzers for the same series. There’s something good in there, right?
Novels that include sexism, racism, or point to dark mental anguish (that’s not the sexy, cool kind) are not the thing you should bring up on the first date. The same goes for what kind of pornography you like. You don’t have to start there. Maybe wait until you’re comfortable with another person before you reveal everything.
Here are the replies to a viral tweet asking what book would a date have to say was their “favorite” in order for you to immediately end the date?
1. It all started with a loaded question about another person’s taste in literature.
2. Ayn Rand is going to appear a lot on this list… She had an agenda. Saying it’s your “favorite” novel is a red flag.
3. Let it be known, men… you’re less attractive if your favorite book is The Fountainhead.
4. I think it would be worse if they only talked about his podcast appearances, but yes. The books say something about the reader.
5. What if the book is more “spiritual than religious”?
6. Wow. This really hit the nail on the head. Be careful out there.
I’d like to pause for a moment and say that, yes, in all seriousness, reading whatever you like is good. People who read are more likely to give to charity or volunteer (unless they just read Ayn Rand, of course). That’s true of anything you read. Novels and storytelling cause the reader to be more empathetic to something (even in print) outside of themselves. Increased literacy rates also lead to fewer acts of violence over the centuries. If you read, you’re probably more in touch with verbalizing your feelings, and that’s good all around.
I will say, however, that announcing your “favorite” book is one with a distinct political agenda is a bit of a red flag. Maybe at least try picking up something a little more fun? I don’t know.
7. Sadly, I believe this story is true.
8. Jess has a whole list for you. If you’re walking in with “I love Freud” the date might be weird from the start.
9. Is anyone’s favorite book Mein Kampf? For real?
10. Maybe reread this one before your date to see if you hate it as an adult.
11. Fred, who hurt you?
12. Tom was with us for a little while, then he started bashing… things everyone likes?
13. Again, I doubt anyone has ever said this was their favorite book, but OK. I’m pretty sure White Supremacists like more recent writing that speaks to their values. Like The Alchemist.
14. Actually, it’s cool to dislike one of the best pieces of fiction ever written. Yes, Ginny.
15. I’m with Asha. But prove to me that the date isn’t happening because I used The Secret. Checkmate.