This morning I went to the coffeeshop around the corner from my apartment to, well, get some coffee and do the crossword (coffeeshops always lose points when they don’t offer free newspapers with Arts sections for me to poach) and I noticed that the cut-out snowflakes that had been adorning the windows since December were now replaced with multicolored paper hearts. It took me a minute, but I finally figured out that it was February, and February means Valentine’s Day.
Whether or not you’re a supporter of February 14th or not, there’s no denying its presence during the bleakest month each year. I mentioned briefly in an earlier post the matchmaking board at Word, an independent bookshop in my neighborhood. I love reading all the slips of paper tacked to it every time I stop by. They’re all the same format, with spaces only for “I’m a _____ looking for a ______” and what books/authors you do like and those you don’t. That’s it! No other personality traits or qualifications, these matches are made based on books and writing preference alone.
Which gets me thinking. How much does compatibility in literary tastes matter in compatibility? Does it matter? Similar or, conversely, vastly different tastes are certainly helpful for awkward first date conversation—mention the book you’re reading (or, really, any subjective artistic pursuit) and whether the two of you can gush together or argue amicably, there’s at least ten minutes of waiting for the food to come covered. I would never decisively say that a preference for a certain genre of literature or a writer’s body of work could ever define a person (as evidenced by John’s post earlier this week), but it’s still really fun to find someone else who has read the same obscure novel or loves the same generally ridiculed author as you.
In any case, while I myself am hardly adventurous enough to fill out one of those forms and stick them up for the world to see, I wholeheartedly encourage everyone else to do so—otherwise I don’t get to read them!