There are at least two things this "Marie Claire" article "8 Ways To Use Books to Flirt" does right; one of them is that it talks about books and reading in a slightly more intelligent way than expected from that title. The writer interviewed Jack Murnighan, author of a collection of summaries of all those books you should have read already called BEOWULF ON THE BEACH (oh, Beowulf) to get some lighthearted tips on using books to attract the opposite gender, and you can tell it's lighthearted because in the answer to the first question they spelled ULYSSES wrong. (And all the copy editors in the world just died.)
In any case, some stray thoughts:
- Having actually read LOLITA, I would not classify it as a titillating book either in title or subject matter. (As for THE NAUGHTY BITS, I got it confused with THE NASTY BITS, the Anthony Bourdain food collection, and started thinking about offal, but your mileage may vary.) I would never cast undue aspersions on a man or a woman I saw reading LOLITA in public, but I would cast them on people who called it "titillating." Just... consider it.
- At what party are ANNA KARENINA and MADAME BOVARY coming up in regular conversation? First, I would like to be at that party, and second, that could go horribly wrong. ("I went to visit my friend who's having a horrible time; she just found her boyfriend's been cheating on her." "You know what Flaubert would have to say about that?")
- As for bringing up Márquez, I quote the immortal Rob Gordon: "Hey, I'm not the smartest guy in the world, but I'm certainly not the dumbest. I mean, I've read books like THE UNBEARABLE LIGHTNESS OF BEING and LOVE IN THE TIME OF CHOLERA, and I think I've understood them. They're about girls, right?"*
- In college, the sole class required of everyone in my in my concentration (or "major" for the rest of you) was a literary theory course in which we used THE CANTERBURY TALES as our main text for writing tedious papers on which my TA, for whom English was not a first language, would change words apparently at random and leave no other comments. In fact, maybe the real purpose of the class was to get concentrators to bond over how much they hated the class, in which case, mission accomplished. A Daily Beast interview reveals Murnighan is a fellow alum, which suggests at least he must have had a different TA. Anyway, that ruined me for ever using THE CANTERBURY TALES as an aphrodisiac, but if Chaucer works for you, God bless you and make you happy in love and life.
*Completely off-topic, but if you enjoy "High Fidelity" and use Twitter you should be following Emily's tweeting of the movie. It's been too long since I've watched it, but this will tide me over.