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What that ’10 life-changing books’ post on Facebook really says about you
A novel is worth a thousand words.
There’s an argument to be made that the “list 10 life-changing books” meme all over Facebook right now is yet another manifestation of the cloying, self-congratulatory smarm that dominates online discussions of literature. But let’s not bother—instead, here is a 100 percent accurate breakdown of what some popular choices are telegraphing about your personality:
Love in the Time of Cholera: You did not speak to a single non-American during your semester abroad.
The Bell Jar or Mrs. Dalloway: You have an asymmetrical haircut and/or Etsy store that sells felted dolls.
1984: You are a YouTube commenter, partial to the word “sheeple.”
Anything by Joan Didion: You always talk about moving to California, but won’t.
Anything by Roberto Bolaño: You are Lorin Stein, editor of The Paris Review.
A Visit from the Goon Squad: Your toddler has their own iPad.
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: You had a weird relationship with your high school band teacher.
Just Kids: You’re not sure what heroin actually looks like.
The Bible: Nobody actually tagged you to do this.
The Sun Also Rises: You think all those lady celebrities who were hacked should’ve been more careful with their nudes.
Blood Meridian: You think Hemingway was a pussy.
Any Harry Potter or Hunger Games book: Your parents were mean to you.
Any book from A Song of Ice and Fire: You challenge every parking ticket in court.
Infinite Jest: You can’t seem to make a connection on OkCupid.
The Handmaid’s Tale: Your name appears on an NSA watchlist.
Fifty Shades of Grey: You have been banned from at least one T.J. Maxx location.
Ender’s Game: You could survive on ketchup alone.
The Lord of the Rings: You have a certain smell—not bad, exactly, just… unique.
Anything by Haruki Murakami: You once had a dream so boring it woke you up.
Anything by Jane Austen: You are weirdly active on LinkedIn.
Lolita, or anything by Georges Simenon: Police are standing outside your door.
Song of Solomon or To Kill a Mockingbird: You are white.
The Fountainhead: You knock over kids’ sandcastles for fun.
Gravity’s Rainbow: People can’t pronounce your surname.
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man: You have tried—and failed—to adopt a vegan lifestyle.
Fight Club: You only wear shorts, even in winter.
The Great Gatsby: You got tired of writing your list.
And that’s the unabridged truth. No judgment, though: We’re just happy you’re reading at all.
Miles Klee is a novelist and web culture reporter. The former editor of the Daily Dot’s Unclick section, Klee’s essays, satire, and fiction have appeared in Lapham’s Quarterly, Vanity Fair, 3:AM, Salon, the Awl, the New York Observer, the Millions, and the Village Voice. He's the author of two odd books of fiction, 'Ivyland' and 'True False.'