Five Signs Your Man is Living a Secret Literary Life

So, he tells you he doesn’t like to read, and you believe him. Then, the tingles begin. Ever suspect your man is cheating with Chaucer? Sneaking around with Shakespeare? Dallying with Diaz?

Here are 5 signs your man may be living a secret literary life.

1. He accidentally uses SAT-style vocabulary words in regular conversation. Has he described you as “gregarious?” Does he occasionally become “inebriated?”  Is his car “immaculate?” According to Katheryn Hansen, the number one and number two ways to increase vocabulary are through reading. Read about the other ways here.

2. He knows all the best bookstores in town, their hours and possible discounts. Does he point out the bookstores as you pass them? If you “drag” him in, does the person at the counter speak as you pass by like she knows him? Beyond the store, can he pinpoint every library in town?  In his wallet, is the library card in the primo position right behind his debit card?

3. He initiates intelligent discussions about current events, but he doesn’t watch the news. Does he talk about current events as if he has done some research on the subject? Does he spout statistical information at seemingly random intervals as if his brain is so full he has no choice but to unload the information? He may be reading.

4.  He gets your obscure literary references. Do you quote Shakespeare in everyday conversation? Does he finish those sentences? When you mention Medea does he get that you aren’t talking about Tyler Perry?

5. He is dating a self-proclaimed literary diva such as yourself.  Like often attracts like. Remember, just as you chose him, he chose you. Although the initial attraction may have been physical, in the long term that kind of relationship is unsustainable. Odds are he craves the intellectual conversations and stimulation.

So, he’s a reader.  Now what?

Recognize that not all cultures value reading. So, if you catch him sneak-reading, don’t make a big deal out of it. Understand that for some reading is a very private part of their lives. Be patient. When you’ve earned his trust, he’ll share that part with you.

Crystal Zanders is a MFA student in poetry at the University of New Mexico and a self-proclaimed literary diva. She can be reached at





Crystal Zanders