You thought reading was just fun? Well it’s good for your relationship, too. Two birds, one stone. Don’t you love it when that happens?
1. It gives you something to talk about. Obviously, if you’re always reading something, you’re automatically armed with a trove of conversation topics. You can worry less about what to talk about if you’re reading something on the New York Times best-seller list, a book everyone had to read in high school, Harry Potter, or a weird theory book nobody has heard of.
2. You can learn from other relationships—even fictional ones. The most compelling fiction and nonfiction offers valuable insight into people and how they relate to each other. Romeo and Juliet taught us about tragedy in love, Antony and Cleopatra taught us about politics in love, Sir Lancelot and Queen Guinevere taught us about sacrifice, Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler taught us about balancing love and hate, Elizabeth and Darcy taught us about love and social status, Tristan and Isolde taught us about grief and broken hearts…I could go on forever. But you should get reading on your own. You’ll realize what you’re willing to give up and what you yearn for and grieve for and love and hate, too.
3. You learn about people. It’s always a little creepy to hang out around writers, because you know they’re observing you in a deep, analytical way. All books basically tackle the question Why do people do what they do? What are they thinking? After reading 800 pages of Anna Karenina, you are so immersed in the characters’ thoughts, you’re used to tackling their psyches and ready to do that to people in real life—which is a good quality to have when you’re looking for a mate. Just try not to analyze your date quite as much as you’ve analyzed Mr. Darcy. That’s not fair.
4. Reading makes you smarter. Duh alert: you literally become a smarter person by reading about anything. You can read about science or pop culture or sports or music and become a more educated person. I know I did this after college, which is when I really became a voracious reader. I missed the opportunity to grow my education in classrooms, so I do it with books. I know I don’t want to be with someone who doesn’t know about a million things, or at least have curiosity about a million things.
5. It’s a good litmus test. I’m not saying that readers cannot fall in love with nonreaders—love is blind, yada, yada, yada. But if you’re really into reading and you meet someone who hasn’t read a book since the seventh grade, you might find you have an infinite number of irreconcilable differences with this person. People who love reading are very different from people who don’t love reading. And if you find yourself with someone who shares your love of books, that’s a very good sign. Plus, reading the same book at the same time is hot.
6. Reading is sexy. You look sexier reading a book, and you’ll definitely get hit on more. A book is the perfect conversation starter, and being a reader is a turn on. Do you know how many times I got hit on during the two days I was carrying around Kafka’s The Trial? And both of those days, if I remember correctly, were really bad hair days.
7. You can use a book for protection. If you’re carrying around a hardcover version of War and Peace and your date gets fresh, you’re automatically armed with a discreet weapon. Some creep might think you’re a meek little book nerd, but what he won’t realize is that you’re an ass-kicking, book-loving ninja who isn’t afraid to use Leo Tolstoy to go for the jugular. A guy knows not to mess with someone carrying pepper spray, but a book is a much less obvious weapon. And it says something about you: “I’m not just reading this book because it’s blowing my mind and making me a better person, I’m reading it because I am not afraid to use it.”
8. You’ll have something to do (that won’t get you into trouble). It’s good to have healthy hobbies, and reading is one of them. Being a reader means you devote time to something positive. It’s an investment, a life philosophy. That time you spent with your nose in a book could have been spent invested with your nose in other things, much worse things. Reading—it’s an anti-drug!
Would you enter in a relationship with someone who didn’t read?