Sometimes the only thing more challenging than navigating the dating scene is finding that next great read. So what’s lonely reader to do? Introducing: Literary speed dating. Sure, being an avid reader doesn’t guarantee a perfect happily ever after, but a shared passion for paperbacks does make an excellent ice breaker.

Literary speed dating has bookish singles mingling among the bookshelves of local libraries, armed with a work by their favourite author that best represents their own personality. Who knew that handsome hipster with the mysterious smile was hiding an adorable Harry Potter addiction this whole time? Using the same basic format as traditional speed dating, pairs have a limited amount of time to introduce themselves and their books. Participants get to know one another by discussing why they picked the book they did, or what they like about the book they brought, which sparks immediate conversation and potential bookworm love connections.

This kind of niche dating service gives individuals a chance to reveal their true personalities in a natural, authentic way. The books you brought instantly give each of you something to talk about, as well as inspiration for thought-provoking questions. The literary theme puts the focus on the fiction rather than any dating-related anxiety-riddled get-to-know-you chatter that many singles experience, and the rest is really just up to old-fashioned chemistry. What better way to make a
great first impression than sharing your passion for (insert totally underrated, life-changing author here) with a kindred spirit.

Flirting over fiction

Part socializing and part book club, some organizers even assign the participants character names from famous historical novels to up the cheekiness factor. Not that we want to perpetuate any negative stereotypes, but we love this added incentive to really bring out the playful aspect of potentially shy, bookish types.

Sometimes the only thing more challenging than finding that next great read is navigating the dating scene. This is why literary speed dating is a single bibliophile’s dream: a group like-minded individuals who all love books, everyone with "great expectations" for (at best) a
happy ending, or at least an exciting story arc in their own epic love story. And hey, if you don’t end up finding true love among the stacks, worst case scenario you’ll walk away with some really great recommendations to add to your ‘must-read’ list. It’s a pressure’s off singles event, more like a gathering of friends you just hadn’t met yet and far removed from awkward blind dates and boring mixers with terrible music. "Read Dating" is your opportunity to finally meet that Brad Pitt lookalike who appreciates Kurt Vonnegut for the satirical genius he really was.

More on this new literary speed dating phenomenon for singles on the next page…
Between the covers

For avid readers looking for their Mr. Knightley, a partner who doesn’t like the same genre of books as they do isn’t necessarily a deal breaker. On the contrary, a couple divided on fiction versus non fiction will have further to grow and teach (and debate!) one another far into the future.

The appeal of these literary speed dating events is easy to understand. With other standard speed dating events, meet & greets or online sites, it’s easy to fake generic likeable traits (consider the classic "I love puppies, and the beach after a storm"), but it’s so much harder to fake a passion for the printed word. In other words, it takes a graphic novel reader to know one.

Literary speed dating events can be found in many libraries across Canada, some, such as Vancouver Public Library’s are so popular that they have "Read Dating" nights tailored to both LGBT and straight book lovers. We think Jane Austen’s Emma would approve.

Read more:
Is monogamy out of style?
Why dating against your type can result in a relationship

Dating and relationships: Dating dress code