Judge a man by his bookshelf

Judge a man by his bookshelf

A Story by Persnickety

when a relationship just isn't worth it.


He was the first guy she attempted to have feelings for in quite a while. He picked her up for dates, paid for dinner, always wore cologne, and he knew how to tie a Windsor knot. He was worth a few more dates, worth wondering if there were possibilities. It was the wondering which made her accept his invitation to his family’s barbeque.

He picked her up on time and he waited patiently in the car while she redid her makeup, she decided last minute that false eyelashes were a bit much for a family barbeque and now she was trying to hide and cover the emptiness they left. Once she decided she looked as presentable as possible without starting all over, she headed down stairs and climbed into his passenger seat.

“You look lovely”. He told her as she buckled her seat belt. She returned his compliment with a smile. They were the only words they spoke during the commute. She liked to drive in silence.

They arrived at his house and he welcomed her in. It was the first time she saw his home and the first thing she noticed was his tidiness, not that it surprised her, he seemed the tidy type, but it was almost too tidy, too cold, and too gray. She knew she was making excuses now, finding reasons to stop wondering about the possibilities. He didn’t offer her a tour, she was thankful.

Most of his family had already arrived and his backyard was bustling with kids laughing and adults talking loudly. When they stepped through the sliding glass doors, the men in his family let out an embarrassing “Oooooooh” and headed towards them, hands extended for introduction. Once the men of his family stopped trying to embarrass them, he guided her to his mom and older sister. Introductions were made and he left the women to get to know each other.

His family proved pleasant, kind, attentive, and made her laugh on several occasions. They made wondering an easier process. She could fit in here.

The sun was setting and the family was beginning to make their way home. He left her in the living room as he went outside to help his sister wrangle up the kids and get them strapped in. It gave her the perfect opportunity to explore the grayness of his home without him shadowing her. The other rooms looked much like the living room. Whites, grays, and the occasional orange were spread throughout the two bedroom home.  She wasn’t impressed with his style, she liked bright colors and patterns, but she thought it made him feel safe. Safe was okay with her.

She made her way back to the living room and sat on the oversized gray couch and stared at his entertainment center. There were electronics she couldn’t even name and she laughed to herself. She only owns a TV and DVD player and she refused to pay for cable or the internet. It was quite the juxtaposition. It was in that small laugh that she realized, not once did she see a book shelf. Not even in the office. Sure he had a dictionary and some business related books on his desk, but nothing else. No fiction, no historical, no biographies, not a single piece of literature. She felt this realization hard and decided to bring it up to him. Maybe he downsized and all his books are on an ereader. Not everyone is as ridiculous and her and buys the books twice if she loved it, once on the ereader and then in paper form if she wants to add it to her bookshelf. She knew she had to ask.


She didn’t bring the book situation up when he came back in the house or on the drive back to her place. She was trying to find a way to address the situation, which, to her, seemed quite serious. He put the car in park outside her front door, she removed her seat belt but continued to sit.

“Is something wrong”? he asked, raising his eyebrow at her.

“I couldn’t find any books.”

“What do you mean? Any books where?”

“In your house. I looked around and I never saw a bookshelf only a few business guides on your desk.” She tried to hide the disappointment in her voice, but she knew it wasn’t masked well.

“Oh, well, I’m not a big reader.”

“It doesn’t look like you’re a reader at all.”

“Well, no, I guess I’m not. But that doesn’t mean anything. I like movies and they are basically the same thing”. He had no idea how to respond. Was she really upset he didn’t own a book?

“They are certainly not the same thing. I can’t believe you just said that.” Now the disappointment in her voice turned to disgust. Movies and books basically the same thing? How can someone say that?

“Does it really matter? Me not reading? Is it something that really bothers you?

“Of course it bothers me! You don’t READ.”


“And? And I’m not sure that’s a quality I want in something I’m with.” She knew he wouldn’t understand, but it all made perfect sense to her.

“What if I started reading? I’m not saying I will, but what if I did?”

 “Then I suppose we could see how it goes.”

“Are you telling me that our entire relationship depends on my willingness to read a book?”

“That’s what I’m telling you”.

He gripped the steering wheel, trying to understand what was happening. After they sat in silence for a few minutes he came to the only conclusion he deemed worthy of the situation.

“Then I guess you should get out of my car you crazy b***h.” He said it calmly, without anger or disappointment, as if he were stating a simple, indisputable fact.

She smirked at turned to get out of the car but before she closed the door behind her she looked back at him and said “You know, paint comes in more colors than gray”.

© 2013 Persnickety

Author's Note

It's been far too long since I've written. It was good to flex the muscles.

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THis is pretty good. I don't blame this woman for her attitude. But I wouldn't care about being with a man who had to be forced into reading a book.

Posted 11 Years Ago

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1 Review
Added on March 31, 2013
Last Updated on March 31, 2013



Las Vegas, NV

Before I discovered a passion for writing I discovered a passion for reading. Book after book I met the most incredible people and went to the greatest places. I wanted to know these people and go to .. more..