Here I go pulling an old article out of the archives again! I just read a lovely article on Slate from July of last year on how the rise of e-books means the fall of the practice of judging people based on their books. Sure, that could sound incredibly pretentious, but writer Mark Oppenheimer silences naysayers by making the most convincing romantic argument for this judging practice:
This is a delicate matter. I can already hear some readers turning the page (perhaps a Kindle “page”), muttering that only an elitist jerk picks friends or lovers based on what they can be seen reading. Well, maybe. This essay is for the rest of you, the ones who freely admit to having been seduced by a serendipitous volume of Jamaica Kincaid’s Annie John glimpsed on a potential girlfriend’s living-room shelf or by a spine-broken copy of Robert Lowell sitting atop that boy’s nightstand. Maybe that was your first time in the apartment, you had been reluctant to go, and now you wanted to linger a while …
If all they’d had were e-book readers plugged into a convenient socket, what would you have done then—asked to have a look? That feels like a fifth-date move, at the earliest—and it was always talking about books that got you the first date! That was my experience, anyway.
If you, like me, are dismayed that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to judge a person by their (book) cover, read the full article here.