I can get lost down the rabbit hole of "What Your Bookshelf Says About You to a Date" or "The 12 Best Dates in Fiction"-type lists, unable to extricate myself as I shake my fist or nod knowingly while being surprised I landed on a dating website with never ending lists that send you to more lists (books, you can really get me to go anywhere).
As I read these lists, I keep imagining two people meeting up for a first date with high hopes, reviewing literary references while frantically rereading the last Pulitzer-winning novel in fiction in an attempt to impress the other, deflating when the other person's reading list eclipses their own. I've tested potential friendships and relationships by bringing people to bookstores, the easiest way for me to get a read on someone new.
The way people move through bookstores can reveal a lot about them. Can they browse the shelves as long as I do? Do they like to touch spines, and how do they handle books? What section do they make a beeline to, if any section at all? Can they find the entrance to the used book section? Do they maintain a list of books he has been searching for used? How many books off the best-seller list have they read? Are they doing the antsy 'get me out of here' dance? Are they comfortable talking about books they have read? Does they answer the impossible question 'Do you have a favorite book?' with ease, or do they hesitate while trying to battle out favorites internally?
There are really no right answers to the questions above (well, except for the antsy 'get me out of here' dance, unless this is a restroom emergency calm it down), but bookstores are part of our social landscape, just like movie theaters and coffee shops and concert venues. They're where I've met and bonded with some of my favorite people, and I've seen countless others do the same. All else fails, and you can't find your perfect bookstore companion? Buy a book.