Some years ago, I was awakened early one morning by a phone call from a friend. She had just broken up with a boyfriend she still loved and was desperate to justify her decision. “Can you believe it!” she shouted into the phone. “He hadn’t even heard of Pushkin!”Donadio later makes the case that literary tastes may be a gender thing: "Brainy women are probably more sensitive to literary deal breakers than are brainy men. (Rare is the guy who’d throw a pretty girl out of bed for revealing her imperfect taste in books.) After all, women read more, especially when it comes to fiction." I definitely could not stand if all someone read was maybe Zig Zeglar or Who Moved My Cheese?--no offense meant, but that's just not my thing. It won't be the total deal breaker. There will be other things. But I also like Ariel Levy's idea of "compartmentalization": that compatibility in reading taste is a luxury; and that the goal of a relationship, according to her, is “to find somebody where your perversions match and who you can stand.”
We’ve all been there. Or some of us have. Anyone who cares about books has at some point confronted the Pushkin problem: when a missed — or misguided — literary reference makes it chillingly clear that a romance is going nowhere fast.
NOTE: This post was written like three weeks ago or so. Just posting it now.