What Are You Reading?

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"He was not cute in high school, as gingers often aren't, and then he grew into a hot ginger."

Giovanna, 26

What are you reading?
Interesting that you ask that, because I was feeling really weird about reading this in public. This is called Money: A Biblical Perspective. It's about what the Bible says about how we spend and hold our money, and who we give it to, and how that matters in that way.

Are you religious?
I wouldn't use the word "religious," but I am a born-again Christian, so I will say that I have a relationship with Jesus Christ, and living in NYC, it can be really hard to deal with money. Hearing about it, spending it: it never stops. And where does it end? And I'm not immune to it at all, so I wanted to fix my perspective.

If you weren't actively trying to solve your financial problems with your reading choices, what would you be reading instead?
Another funny question, because I'm currently working my way through Harry Potter. I was really late to the Harry Potter game.

I'm not one to judge.
I'm in grad school to be a teacher, and we had it assigned as young-adult fiction, and I thought, ugh, whatever, fine, I'll read it. And I'm on book six. Last night I got into a fight with my roommate because she felt like I was giving her an attitude and I was like, "I'm reading Harry!" I can't focus on anything. It's taking over. That's why I didn't bring it out here, because if I did it's the only thing I would read. It is so good! I wish I could say I'm reading something better — I'm trying to be an English teacher.

Do you have a crush on Harry?
You know what the thing is? It's Ron who I love. I feel like no one likes Ron.

I have a thing for gingers. 
Me too. I have a huge thing for gingers. A recent thing. I care about Ron — he's not the one you'd go to for advice, but he's just always there. And he's gotten mad a couple times because he's always getting the shaft, but he could've been a lot angrier about it. And things between him and Hermione are just — he's trying to break up with Lavender Brown right now…

Is your newfound ginger affinity based off of Ron?
No, it was based off of an interaction with a guy who went to my high school. And I was like, well, now I'm into gingers! He was not cute in high school, as gingers often aren't, and then he grew into a hot ginger.

Is reading a big thing in a relationship? Is there a book that someone might read that you would be like "I can't date you?"
Reading is a big all-around thing for me. I think if the only thing would be if they weren't really a big reader or if they stuck to, like, sports books. I shouldn't even say that. He just needs to be invested on some level with reading. He can be reading odd sports books, it's fine. 


Neil, 26

What are you reading?
This is Narrative of the Incas, by a sixteenth-century Spanish chronicler, Juan De Betanzos. He was one of the earliest Spanish settlers in what was the Incan Empire. He married an Incan lady, and spoke to people who were part of the old power structure of the Incan Empire, so he wrote down what they told him about the history of the Incan Empire. And this is it. So it's an important document, but no one's really sure how historical it is, because it's basically an oral history written by a Spaniard.

Are there any books that would be a dealbreaker if you noticed a girl was reading?
I'd worry if anyone was reading Atlas Shrugged for anything other than academic reasons. I don't think people need to be encouraged to be selfish anymore than they already are.

Do you typically date women who read a lot?
Thinking about it now, yeah, I do.

You like talking to them about books?
Yeah. I'm trying to work out if that's anything other than a coincidence, but I don't think it is. It's an important thing to have in common. I live with my girlfriend at the moment, and we've got more books than we've got space for. We haven't got any more space for more bookshelves, so things are sort of just piled on the floor.

In the beginning, did you ever trade books back and forth?
We did. But it didn't go so well. She didn't like the book I tried to have her read. The book was kind of bleak and cynical. It's a lot like me.

And she didn't respond to that?
She did respond to it, but I don't know if she found it particularly exciting. But disagreement about these things is never a dealbreaker.

Have you ever lost a book in a relationship?
I've lost books lost that way. I don't think I mind that, though. The more a book is spread around, the better.

Gene, 37

What are you reading?
I am reading Binocular Vision. It's a collection of short stories by Edith Pearlman.

Why did you choose this book?
I was reading an op-ed from Margaret Atwood in the New York Times, and that's when I found out there was no Pulitzer for fiction this past year. But Atwood said this collection should've won.

What is it about?
It's kind of a human-nature type of thing, similar to Alice Munro. Just literary fiction about people. There's a love thread, a love and loss thread, a family thread.

Would you recommend this to a prospective love interest?
Absolutely. It's an amazing book, and I'd never heard of Edith Pearlman until I read that op-ed. I would strongly recommend it.

Have you ever lost a book in a relationship?
Oh no. I keep my books close.

Are you a margin-note-maker?
Not typically. There have been a couple layman science books that I might allow myself to lightly pencil in, but it still hurts when I do it. I do not dog-ear. I think dog-earing is a horrible thing to do to a book. Just find a receipt in your pocket and stick with that.

I know a lot of people who write and mark up books think of it as a romantic thing to do to the book.
I don't hold it against people who actually do it. I can certainly see the romanticism in forgetting the book for years and coming back and seeing the margin marks that you've made.