I realise by writing this I am loose all claims to credibility/many many feminist point, but hey, it’s the truth how I live it baby…
What’s good enough for Bennet is good enough for me…
Now that being geeky is ‘cool’ and ‘hip’, librarian chic is a actual fad talked about on Glee, and reading not only is sexy, but promoted on television by actual celebrities rather than aged nun-types mouldering away in some dark recess of the Bodleian somewhere wanking over F Scott Fitzgerald and sobbing, the phrase ‘so what books are you into’ has officially become a bit of a Line.
Unfortunately, booky types are usually for the most part atrocious at starting conversations. Approaching strangers is permanently uncool and only to be tried if you’re into really arty nonsense style books; squealing ‘ooo I lurved the new Shardlake!’ isn’t going to get you anywhere. Trust me.
However, as The Best Website In The World ‘Hot Guys Reading Books’(click on title link) demonstrates admirably, there is literally nothing sexier than a fittie reading (apart from a fittie eating a fried breakfast but that’s an over share of a fetish we are not going into…).
So. You need to be reading, in public (quiet pubs are best, though bus stops/beaches/park benches/doctors waiting rooms work just as well), looking fabulous obviously (because this is a quick flirt we’re looking for here, guys). With a snare. The snare is the book that makes the Other go ‘oooo’ and look at your fabulousness in a whole new light. The book must draw them in, either through common ground or remembrance. It also must attract the right sort. Reading Andy McNab’s Slaughterthon War Fests ain’t gonna bring the most sensitive of sorts to your yard, lets be honest.
Hunter S Thompson obviously works a treat, but (draws breath) Hunter S Thompson is done. As is Jack Kerouac/William Burroughs/Bret Easton Ellis/Aldous Huxley. Not that these aren’t all amazing writers I could talk about for days, but seriously, if I have to have another semi flirtatious conversation about Naked Lunch and what it all means I’m going to Eat My Own Hand.
No no no they need to be books that they remember, books that take them back, books that lead on to bigger conversations rather than going round and round in circles about times you didn’t participate in, just read about afterwards.
The Phantom Tollbooth is a great one. Written by Norton Juster in 1961, this is the Alice of Wonderland of Maths. If you haven’t already, find a copy and prepare to laugh your trousers off as you follow Milo (hideous child) to Dictionopolis, and the Kingdom of Wisdom. The fight between numbers and letters that Milo finds himself stuck in the middle of is hilarious, but also educational. This is also a classic book that not many people still have copies of and so you’re owning of it leads nicely to the whole ‘I remember that as a kid’, ‘well you can borrow it if you like’… conversation.
Another nice trick is The One That They Haven’t Read Yet. Everyone loves George Orwell, right? Well have you read ‘A Clergyman’s Daughter’? No? Well, you should, because it is excellent, but more to the point neither will they…
Or you could try The Battered Old Copy which just happens to fall apart, where upon you bring out the magic tape from your bag, the premise being that anyone who has sticky back plastic in their bag is bound to be interesting. Or ‘This is Your Brain On Music’ by Daniel Levitin, which is just really cool. Or anything that’s really old looking. Or anything by a former member of a 90s rock band. Or anything that makes you laugh out loud.
In fact, you should just read more in public really, sod pulling, who needs a partner anyway. Reading makes you far far more interesting and wonderful than everybody else anyway and if they’re not falling at your feet in droves then, hey, at least you know I think you rock.