What do your favourite books say about you?

What do your favourite books say about you? There is a quiz in The Independent newspaper that attempts to calculate how old you are based on your favourite books. Feel free to give it a try.

As I mostly favour Long 19th Century books I was expecting it to estimate my age at about 150 but, disappointingly, it managed to correctly pigeonhole my decade. I say I was disappointed because no one likes to be seen through so easily. I’d like to think when reading we’re free from the restrictions of age, income, social class, gender, ethnicity etc. However, that’s surely unrealistic. We don’t pick up a book in a blank state, we carry a lot with us.

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Puzzling “shelf talkers” – an unusual way to categorise books

Booksellers, publishers, librarians and marketing folk love to categorise us. Saying that reminds me of an independent bookshop I frequented that used idiosyncratic shelf labels such as “Clever 8 year olds (slow 12 year olds)” – “Midlife crisis” – “Books for the venerable”. An extreme example of pigeonholing readers to sell books. A marketing gimmick, of course. It’s up to us to escape our assigned categories and plunder books we find in forbidden pigeonholes. Be a septuagenarian that reads Young Adult fiction or a 12 year old that reads Jude the Obscure – but don’t let the librarian catch you!

If you did the quiz yourself was it accurate for you? Have you ever come across any puzzling or eccentric categories in a bookshop or library?



5 thoughts on “What do your favourite books say about you?

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  1. Well, yes — how disappointing. They got it right with me, too.

    I really don’t think the ones I chose are my “favourite” books, though. I read quite a bit — mostly pretty obscure stuff I find through Google Books and such. And, while I do think in terms of did/didn’t like it, I don’t spend much time thinking about the one or two I’d take to a desert island or hope to be buried with. After all, my becoming either stranded or dead is so unlikely.

    That said: Frankenstein and My Ántonia.

    Perhaps those date me at the Pioneer Era…


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