"If you go out with somebody, and you go back to their place when the date's over and they don't have any books anywhere, whatever you do, don't f*** 'em! Get out. If you aren't goose-stepping over books and magazines, there's something wrong with that person."
Inquisitive mind mandatory, Ladder optional.
Ages ago, I saw John Waters, 'in concert', if you will, at Royce Hall. It was his one man show that comes around far too seldom, in my opinion. He covered a multitude of topics, from the gleefully perverse & strange to the underhandedly profound.
Dressed in a smoking jacket with his trademark pencil thin mustache he took his all too willing audience on a whirlwind tour through the workings of his Baltimorian mind. The quote above (cobbled together from a foggy memory) is one of the lessons I took with me.
You'll all be glad to know that I only associate with the Literati. My friends and lovers are all terribly literate, though sometimes I question their level of commitment when I learn they have been reading the Kite Runner for 4 years and it's still the first time through. But that aside, I think Waters' is on to something.
Books are reflections of their owners. Look at a persons private library and you instantly know who you're dealing with in no uncertain terms. It's the new medicine cabinet, waiting to be rummaged through; except instead of Amphetamines and horse tranquilizers, it's the Self Help for OCD and Snooki's best seller.
I think the glasses help sell the package, don't you?
I use the word 'library' loosely, by the way. Some are fortunate enough to have a room dedicated to literature, others do just as well with something screwed together with an Allen Wrench. Nevertheless, the library reveals all; hobbies, psychosis', fetishes...books have a way of speaking on their own, whether we like it or not.
By contrast, I have noticed that the coffee table receives the things you want people to know on a purely superficial level. A book on Renaissance Venice, Chateau of the Loire Valley, Gardens of Tuscany; aesthetic but not terribly informative, or incriminating. Where's the fun in that? Never judge a person by their coffee table, people. Coffee tables are smokescreens. Judge people by the contents of what's under their beds and in their glove compartments.
Barring the possibility of complete illiteracy, a person without books is one without personality, depth, and wit. If there isn't a pile of controlled chaos on the night stand or even, dare I say it, in the bathroom, then there is most definitely a problem, and you should probably make your exit. Create your own excuse...Amoebic Dysentary is always a good one.