An article of mine recently appeared in Quill magazine (Apr-Jun 07) under the “He Says, She Says” section. Dina Zaman gave the female viewpoint whilst I gave the male’s. I thought I might share it with you.
The question essentially was: “If you’ve received a marriage proposal and are unsure, simply take a look at what your possible future spouse reads before you decide. Do you agree.” Here’s my response:

Believe me, I would have second thoughts if I found my fiancee reading How to Poison Your Husband for Dummies. Now if I found her flipping through A Nutshell’s Guide to A Sexless Marriage, then I would really flee.

There are so many books out there, from all kinds of pedestrian subjects to weird and wonderful topics that it’s impossible to guess what my beloved is reading: Real Estate, Managing Better, Computers, Travel Guides, Cookery, Handbags, Beauty, Pilates, Feng Shui, Witchcraft…

My cousin’s fiancee had read Think and Grow Rich 12 times. So my cousin concluded his fiancee had an unhealthy obsession with wealth. But the real issue was that she only read non-fiction. As he adored fiction , this caused a huge argument and thus they broke up.
So if you’re about to get married, find out what your beloved is reading. It will give you an insight into her interests, her inner character even.

I know this can be difficult. You can’t exactly rummage through her oversized handbag or check the drawers of her bedside table. My advise is to let her loose in MPH then secretly follow her. See where she gravitates to. If you find her picking up How to Poison Your Husband for Dummies or A Nutshell’s Guide to A Sexless Marriage then, believe me, it’s time to run a mile.

Stalking my fiancee, I find that she has ambled towards the Fiction section. She’s spending a lot of time at the Crime shelf. Perhaps she’s hooked on serial killers. I’m going to have to sleep with one eye open. My wife might wield a dagger on our wedding night!

Obsession with other genres pose their own dangers though. If she only reads Romance, would I be able to live up to my darling’s expectations? I couldn’t possibly present her with bouquets of roses whilst reciting romantic sonnets on a daily basis. And if she was hooked on Fantasy, I would be terribly lonely knowing my beloved was inhabiting a magic world of dragons and warlocks without me. As for an obsession with Horror, I shudder at the dreadful possibilities…

A lady we know takes great pride in her library declaring how well read she is. She has, in fact, a grand collection of “airport novels”. Often called popular or genre fiction, Jeffrey Archer, Ruth Rendell, Ken Follet, John Grisham, Dan Brown are but some of its luminaries.

Oh dear, I know my fiancee borrows countless books from this lady. My sweetheart must have the same taste as her. Airport novels only.

Such fast-paced novels have been accused of lacking any depth. Could my beloved possibly be shallow? This cannot be. Whilst hooked on the latest riveting novel, she must find something there for her soul. Surely.

Oh, what’s this? My darling has moved on. Her delicate finger slides along the spines of books by John Banville, Peter Carey, Philip Roth, Annie Proulx , JM Coetzee, Margaret Attwood. Ah, what books indeed!

Literature. Books incorporating beauty of language causing the heart to stir. She has taken two off the shelf. She is going to buy them.

She loves literature!

Oh dear. She’s probably better read than I.

I scurry down the aisle, grab a copy of A Nutshell’s Guide to How to Survive a Smarter, Better Read Wife and head for the exit.