It’s official. Former managing editor Caitlin Roper is leaving New York for San Francisco, where she’ll be an editor at Wired. We thought it’d be nice to let her pinch hit for team Paris Review before she leaves for the West Coast. This week, she answers our advice column. —Thessaly La Force
Is literary taste—or a lack thereof—a deal breaker? I’m dating a lovely man, but he has one major flaw: He doesn’t read. I’ve thrown everything from early Tom Wolfe to Cormac McCarthy at him, and he’s simply not interested. He’s not uneducated—he would just rather be “doing things.” Do you have any recommendations for the nonreader, or should I give him up as a lost cause? —Hopeless
I spent four years with a nonreader. I like “doing things,” too, so we had that in common. It took me about a year to stop giving him books I was sure would grab his attention (I also tried Cormac McCarthy). There was one writer he enjoyed: Eric Bogosian, especially Pounding Nails in the Floor with My Forehead. I read it for insight into my boyfriend’s elusive literary taste. It was funny and angry—more of a rant than a story—and it finally made me give up my futile book suggestions. I’d say it’s absolutely a lost cause to turn your man into a reader, you’re going to have to let that go and ask yourself the real question: Can you be with someone who doesn’t read?