6 Books That Say "Date Me!" (& 4 That Don't)

Photographed by Winnie Au.
Let’s face it — the dating pool is tough. Whether it’s a duck-faced selfie on Tinder, a grammatical error on OKCupid, or just a ridiculous pick-up line at a bar, there are plenty of reasons out there to swipe left.

Still, nothing is quite as telling as your date’s bookshelf. Whether it’s a completely packed library à la Beauty and the Beast (major brownie points) or a home devoid of books (perhaps they have a Kindle?) knowing what your date reads could give you just that extra push to keep them around for awhile — or move on. Here, a few thoughts on some books that might pop up on said date’s bookshelf — Fifty Shades of Grey included.
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Photo: Courtesy of Arthur A. Levine Books.
Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Stone By J.K. Rowling
Nothing brings together fellow '90s kids like Harry Potter — the hero's seven-year battle against the evil forces of Voldemort is now seared in our brain. Having this on a bookshelf basically screams, “I’m a wonderful person who values loyalty and empathy, and Emma Watson is my everything.” Seriously, studies back this up (save for the last part). The downside: You may hear some questionable Potter-related pick-up lines. “I hope you like Quidditch, because I’m definitely a Keeper," for example, could take down the score.
Plus 500 points.
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Photo: Courtesy of Hachette Book Group.
The Notebook By Nicholas Sparks
Sure, Nicholas Sparks might be the bane of many a relationship (nobody will live up to Noah Calhoun for any Notebook fan). But if your bae has this on the bookshelf, consider it a free pass to send Ryan Gosling memes at any time. Plus 20 points.
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Photo: Courtesy of Vintage Books.
Fifty Shades Of Grey By E. L. James
Maybe they’re into it, or just "curious." But, anyone who's seriously into BDSM knows that the Christian-Anastasia relationship is hardly a healthy one. (One BDSM pro went so far as to call Christian a psychopath — NOT a good thing). Plus, why would anyone ever spend money on such shoddy writing? Minus 500 points.
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Photo: Courtesy of HarperCollins.
Bad Feminist By Roxane Gay
Congratulations! Your date is well-read, culturally informed, and most likely a self-identified feminist. You two can bond over what it means to be a feminist and how hard it is when a song like “IDFWU” is both catchy and problematic, learn all the moves to "***Flawless," and watch The Bachelorette and The Bachelor with actual joy (or hate-watch them, whatever floats your boat). Your date gets that people are complicated, so you can be you and not feel like they’re, uh, checking marks off a list. Plus 20,000 points.
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Photo: Courtesy of Harper Collins; Photo: Courtesy of It Books.
The Game By Neil Strauss
Also see, Rules of The Game. This is the book that introduced the term “negging” into the mainstream, with an author who once told Jimmy Kimmel that saying, “You are absolutely disgusting,” is sometimes better than a generic compliment. Minus 20,000 points for your date, and here's a nifty guide to fend off PUA techniques for you.
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Photo: Courtesy of Bantam.
A Song Of Ice And Fire By George R.R. Martin
The series that sparked the Game of Thrones series is notorious for having an avid fan base, so anytime this book shows up well-worn, bookmarked, and maybe annotated, it means you have a real GoT fan on your hands. This probably means Sunday nights watching gory fight scenes, debating the book vs. show plot line, and engaging in various theories on how the series will end. Your date probably values authenticity (books above movies, vinyl above Pandora) and could potentially be great at remembering all your friends’ names, how you met them, and where they're from. Overall, plus 200 points, but only if your date has actually read these books.
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Photo: Courtesy of Citadel.
Anything By Tucker Max
Run. Various people consulted for this story concur: Someone who enjoys reading Tucker Max “belongs in a sewer” and is “probably a douche” with misogynistic tendencies. Anyone who takes pride in being an asshole is exactly that, and probably doesn’t deserve your time. Minus 50,000 points.
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Photo: Courtesy of Seal Press.
Yes Means Yes! By Jessica Valenti
Seeing Valenti's Yes Means Yes! on a bookshelf would be the perfect antidote after running across Tucker Max elsewhere. Your date doesn't have to agree with EVERY essay in this book — there is, after all, always room for criticism and debate. But, and this is major, if your date is reading this, it means he or she is thinking critically about rape culture and understands the value of consent — definitely an intellectual turn-on. Plus 50,000 points.
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Photo: Courtesy of Gallery Books.
Marry Smart: Advice For Finding The ONE By Susan Patton a.k.a. The Princeton Mom
If someone owns this book, you can probably assume that they went to Princeton or a similarly ranked Ivy League school. Good for them. Susan Patton, however, is not the best representative of this crowd, to put it lightly. This is the elitist woman who wrote, “Girl, lose the weight! I know it’s hard…just do it,” and called date rape a “learning experience.” So, so wrong. Minus 20,000 points.
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Publisher: Courtesy of Back Bay Books.
Infinite Jest By David Foster Wallace
This 1,000+ page tome from literary hero David Foster Wallace has become a rite of passage for many an intellectual. And, Infinite Jest fans bond. “If you were at a cocktail party and you go, ‘Oh, you’re a person who’s into [Infinite Jest]?’ Now I know what you and I are doing for the next two hours. We’re talking about this," Parks and Recreation co-creator Michael Schur told the New York Times. Major DFW fans can go two ways (much like hipsters in general): Your date could be intelligent and caring and creative, or he or she could be some of those things wrapped up in a condescending package. Plus 1,000 points if the former, minus 1,000 if the latter. (If they didn’t read Infinite Jest and just have it around to look smart, minus 300 points.)