I'm currently reading Julie Phillips's excellent biography of an SF icon, James Tiptree, Jr.: The Double Life of Alice Sheldon. Although occasionally given to sweeping psychological statements that not even meticulous research can make one that sure of, this is a terrific book. Phillips has insight, access to letters between Sheldon and such writers as Joanna Russ and Harlan Ellison, and a graceful prose style. Here is Sheldon in 1941:
"Turning from a broken marriage to a shattered world, she filled her journal with notes on Oswald Spengler's Decline of the West. She was appalled by Spengler's thirst for war and power, his glorification of man's "animal" over his intellectual life. After six years of stormy marriage, Alice didn't think people had to get any closer to their animal nature."
Alice Sheldon didn't always choose lovers well -- which brings me to the sly article in this morning's New York Times Book Review, "It's Not You, It's Your Books." Rachel Donadio takes up the question of literary compatibility -- how important is it that people who read marry 1)other people who read, 2) people who like the same books you do, or 3) your exact literary clone? A Manhattan psychiatrist opines that book choice "is a bit of a Rorschach test." A book critic confesses that she broke up with a lover because he was enthusiastic about Ayn Rand. A writer says he "just wrote people off completely because of what they were reading." A book publicist says "If you're a person who loves Alice Munro and you're going out with someone whose favorite book is The Da Vinci Code, perhaps the red flags of incompatibility were there prior to this big reveal."
We in SF have a special problem. If an interesting person hits all the right notes about Ayn Rand or Dan Brown or Tolstoy, what if he or she has a condescending, patronizing, or dismissive view of science fiction? For me, that would be a deal breaker. But, then, I write the stuff. Your view may be different.