Ender meet Scout – I think you’d make a great couple

4 Apr

Today in Slate (is it in Slate or on Slate?) Emma Straub wrote an article on “Love in Bookstores” about customers and co-workers finding, you guessed it, love in bookstores.  She talked about people that found dates (and eventual spouses) by bonding over a shared favorite author or title and about the ways that people use their book choices to advertize certain features or interests.

“Heidegger implies late-night conversations over coffee and cigarettes; Rumi, a bathtub surrounded by candles. Ayn Rand indicates a need for a wide berth; Sarah Vowell means mornings spent listening to NPR while baking gluten-free cupcakes.” (Personally, I come closest to the Sara Vowell reader, in case you couldn’t guess.)

Staub also talks about dating boards that some bookstores post where people can post their romantic and literary desires:  “must love Nabokov, or detective novels, or villanelles.” I guess it saves people the time of getting to the point where you go to someone’s house and try to, as surreptitiously as possible, glance through the bookshelves, judging them all the while.

Seriously, don’t pretend that I’m the only person that does that!  Anytime I’m in a house for the first time, I’m checking the books.  Fair warning in case I ever come to your house.  All you need to pass my test is To Kill a Mockingbird, some cool non-fiction, and some well worn guilty pleasure novels, all the better if they’re displayed with pride right next to the “smart” books.  (One of my Buffy books – yes that implies that I have multiple Buffy books – is currently sitting between Bowling Alone and The Bridges of Madison County.)

I never got a date out of Borders, but I knew Borders co-workers that got married and others that found some of their best friends over discussions of books.  Bookstores just seem to foster the kind of intimacy and discussion that lead to relationships.

One of my favorite moments while working at Borders was a conversation about A Separate Peace, specifically whether Gene had jounced the limb on purpose.  (Personally, I think yes, but that he didn’t mean for Finny to be hurt so badly.  What about you?)  I was talking to one a customer about it and people came over from all corners of the store to express their opinions on Gene and Finny and the infamous jouncing, everyone from a middle school kid who had just finished it to a grandfather who remembered reading it ages ago.  (As I recall, most people seemed to think that he had done it on purpose.)  It was such a genuine moment of bibliophiles coming together across all ages over their shared interest and memories.  (Conversations like that totally made up for the people that asked, “What’s the shortest book that I can get away with reading for this class?”)

…and to finally get around to the title, although Ender’s Game and To Kill a Mockingbird are of two completely different genres, they’re both about honor, justice, and growing up.  I would bet that although a sci-fi fan and a literature buff may not think they have a lot in common, fans of those two books would really get along.  Also, Scout and Ender would be great together.  Think of their cool adventures…


MaggieCakes is a blog about culture, social media, and what’s new in the world of internet culture. Every day (okay I try for every day) I comb blogs and news outlets for the news about internet culture and social media to bring them to you (with my commentary, of course) here on MaggieCakes. MaggieCakes is hosted by WordPress and often draws upon Slate, Jezebel, The Hair Pin, and SocialTimes for links and inspiration. Find anything interesting in the worlds of culture or social media that you’d like to see a post on? Leave a comment or send me an e-mail at mo134603@ohio.edu.

2 Responses to “Ender meet Scout – I think you’d make a great couple”

  1. stevesw April 4, 2011 at 7:07 pm #

    Liked your post. I find book stores are very ‘sociable’ and have been approached by women more than once. Having the same literary likes seems to be a good starter that can lead to a nice conversation at the store’s coffee area, then a date.

    Of course there are some oooops moments. I was at Borders to do some research for a novel I was writing and stopped first to see if there was a new Peter Robinson Inspector Banks police mystery. A woman was behind me looking at some books on the other side of the aisle and eventually she asked about Peter Robinson’s books. Small talk, smiles. A few minutes later she wondered over to where I was looking at a book I needed for my background research and she started to say something, then abruptly stopped when she saw what I pulled from the shelf, Justine (or The Misfortunes of Virtue), by Marquis de Sade. A she walked hurried away I had to control my laughter. (The killer in the novel associates with pain and pleasure, vice good and evil).

  2. stevesw April 4, 2011 at 7:11 pm #

    “As she hurried away, I had to control my laughter.” Great writing, ooops.

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