Love & Sex

What Are You Reading?

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A new Nerve feature where we ask New York's most publicly literate about their choices.

Anna Maria, 26

So what are you reading? 
I’m reading Baudrillard’s America. I’m from Denmark, and my boyfriend gave it to me when I left Denmark to come study in New York.

What has he written about New York that’s struck you as true?
Well, he has a lot of great images. He writes about the New York Marathon and compares it to how New York is so ambitious, how people just keep running. You know, the "rat race."

How long have you been in New York?
Only since January. I thought it would be really easy to adjust to the culture here because I’ve been watching American movies since I was a child, but it’s different. I think it’s amazing how many different people coexist here.

So are you and your boyfriend managing a long-distance relationship?
Yeah. It’s not the best situation, but we manage.

Is sharing books important in your relationship?
It is. We try to read the same books sometimes. Especially in a long-distance relationship, you need something to talk about besides "What have you been up to lately?" 

So a book is an experience you can share.
Yeah, exactly.


Daniel, 27

What are you reading?
I’m reading Law School Confidential. I’m trying to see the future before I get there, I want to prepare myself mentally before I go.

So how important is it to you that someone you date is a reader?
Very. I need to be able to have intellectual conversations with a person. 

Have you ever broken up with someone because they didn’t read enough? 
Yeah. Actually, it was exactly because she didn’t read enough. It wasn’t going to work.

Have you ever used books to pick someone up?
There was a girl in school — she was in the library, reading that book with the guy holding up the world. What was it called?

Atlas Shrugged? 
Yeah! I haven’t even finished it yet, but I started talking to her about it.

So did you go out with her?
Nah, I’m still working on it. 

Have you ever had a crush on a character in a book?
Yeah, Sophie from Sophie’s Choice.

Was that a little awkward for you? 
The way they described her, I was like, "She sounds like she’s really good-looking." Then I saw the movie and she looked like I'd pictured her. So yeah, it's definitely Sophie from Sophie’s Choice.

Ksenia, 23

So what are you reading?
It’s a book about the love story between Igor Stravinsky and Coco Chanel.  

What made you want to read about that?
It’s quite funny, I opened my wardrobe the other day and this book fell on me. And I’ve never seen this book in my life. So I decided to read it. 

So what have you learned so far?
Well, Coco Chanel came up with Chanel #5 while their love blossomed one summer in Paris. And she was his muse to create music.

Wasn't he married?
Yeah, he had four kids and a wife. His wife was sick. It was a public affair though.

Has the book put you in a romantic mood?
Yeah, I love reading stories about people who love till the end of their days. 

Has a book ever sparked a love affair in real life for you?
Not really. Nothing I would create a perfume about, anyway.

Have you ever had a crush on a character from a book?
Harry Potter. I was very upset when he hooked up with Ginny. That was back in the day, so I was really upset.

I was too. Is Harry still your type now?
Yeah, I try to go for magicians.