I started on a shidduch reading list many years ago:
Reading List 1
And now I’m going to add another two books to the list.
This past Shabbos I finished Seven Blessings by Ruchama King. This one is an astonisher. Written by a frum woman about frum women, the characters are actually real people you could potentially meet on the street. This may be why it was not published by Artscroll or Feldheim. Pick it up at your local library. Or support a good religious writer and buy it instead.
The second book I literally couldn’t put down. I read it in one straight sitting, finishing in the wee hours and tottering off to bed. Data: A Love Story presents a paradigm shift for the serial dater. Sick of bad dates with lousy guys, Amy Webb sits down to crunch the numbers and find her husband the 21st-century way: via algorithm.
She then proceeds to prove that you don’t have to date everyone every suggested to you “just in case.” Oh, and that wisdom about how you shouldn’t make a list? Throw it out. You need a list.
Naturally, her parents freak out. She’s being too picky. She’s being too hard. She may be letting someone great pass her by. But she perseveres and, wouldn’t you believe: finds a guy who matches her list! Who likes her! Who proposes!
So you see, it can be done if you do it the right way. So excuse me now. I’m off to compile my List.
I spend a lot of time discussing books with friends.We swap recommendations (The Doomsday Book, Code Name Verity, How to Be Good, Busman’s Honeymoon, The Arrival), we debate important subjects (Is Brave New World the ultimate dystopia? Is there any revenge novel that can come close to The Count of Monte Cristo?), and once we spent two hours arguing over whether The Hunger Games had good characterization or not.
Books make you new friends. Or steal you them. Once, Good4 sat by completely disgusted while I hijacked her friends to swap favorite Shakespeare orations. We wound up with our heads together comparing actors on YouTube, and, as the night wound down and turned into morning, testing our own thespian skills on the Bard.
Point being: people who like books can sometimes resemble people who like sports (only smarter). Get them together in a room and throw Monstrous Regiment on the table, and watch them go on and on about political themes, multiple layers of irony, and whether Making Money is better.
And the conversation can give you insight into other people. Like the friend who told me that she’s never really gotten Darcy, but understands Scarlett O’Hara perfectly. Or the friend who really, really likes Tamora Pierce. Or the friend who thinks that feminine behavior in Gothic romances is totally realistic.
So honestly, it’s surprising that nobody’s thought of this dating idea before. An Arlington library has created book-based speed dating, based on a North Dakota event on the same page. Bring a book that you like. Discuss.
I could totally handle that. But it’ll have to wait a little bit, because I’m up to the best part.