This post by Zoë Heller and Anna Holmes originally appeared on The New York Times on 10/28/14.
Each week in Bookends, two writers take on questions about the world of books. This week, Zoë Heller and Anna Holmes discuss the havoc books can wreak on relationships.
By Zoë Heller:
Do you want to be one of those dreary couples who are always delivering their identical cultural opinions in the first person plural?
Many years ago, when I was in my 20s, I went on vacation with a boyfriend to a remote Scottish island. We spent the days going on long, wet hikes and drinking in the pub. At night, we huddled in our freezing house and read aloud to each other. Neither one of us, it turned out, cared much for the other’s choice of book. I had come with “A Legacy,” by Sybille Bedford, which my boyfriend found mannered and pretentious. He had brought “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,” by Hunter S. Thompson, which I thought was tiresome and unfunny.
These differences of opinion did not strike me as a big deal. It was mildly disappointing, perhaps, that my boyfriend should be impressed by the drug-brag of Hunter Thompson and oblivious to the genius of Sybille Bedford. But it wasn’t as if I was auditioning him to be my literary adviser. Chacun à son goût, I thought.