Reading is sexy: these ten books can make you more attractive

Pretty woman reading a book outside

Can reading books improve your chances in love? Can the books you read improve your chances in love? A recent EliteSingles survey says yes! In fact, our survey found that 85% of singles believe that being well read makes a prospective partner more appealing. What’s more, the contents of your book shelf may make you more attractive.

What’s more, after putting it to a vote from our members, and with a little help from and from EliteSingles psychologist Salama Marine, we have uncovered the complete reading list that will make you more attractive to the opposite sex!

The numbers don’t lie: reading is sexy!

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single person in possession of a good book must be quite attractive – to our survey respondents that is! Indeed, a huge 85% of the 800 singles singles who answered our ‘bookshelf’ survey admitted that they would like to date someone who loves to read.1 What’s more, this lust for literacy is a trend we have seen occur again and again – and not just with our most academically-minded members!.

For instance, in our ‘hottest hobbies’ study, we looked at the anonymous user data of 47,000 Canadian singles to determine which hobbies are considered the most attractive. Reading made it into the top 10 list of the most attractive pastimes, coming in at number 7 overall (and at number 6 for women!).2

Likewise, in a survey co-operation between EliteSingles and interior design firm Westwing, 1500 singles revealed what most turns them on about a date’s home. For 26 per cent of those surveyed, it was a well-stocked bookshelf that made them weak at the knees.3 The fact that all three studies showed a clear link between books and attraction means it is safe to say that reading is sexy. Therefore, if you’re a reader, you and your hobby have instant appeal.

So reading is sexy – but that’s not all there is to it. Does it matter what we read, or can we simply pick out a few dog eared tomes to stack on our nightstand? The survey unearthed some interesting facts about men, woman and the desire for a literary-minded lover but, first off, let’s take a look at which genres fared the best, with results from our 2015 survey on books and dating.

Men like women who embrace their sensuous side

Putting the lover back in book lover, a previous EliteSingles survey of 1700 people revealed that men’s heads are most easily turned by women who read erotica. In fact, for more than one in five of the men surveyed, female erotica readers are as sexy as it gets.

Indeed, when asked ”What is the most attractive genre a potential partner can read?” 21 per cent of men picked erotic fiction as the ultimate turn-on, putting it far ahead of the next most popular genres – thrillers, at 12 per cent and biographies, at 11 per cent. In other words, if you’re a woman wanting to meet a man on your next commute it might be time to put down the paper and pick up 50 Shades of Grey (or even some Anaïs Nin).

Women like men of mystery

However, the same strategy is not going to work for men who are out to impress women. Indeed, the women in that survey were not fans of erotica, with just 6 per cent admitting that they find men who read it attractive.

The way to a woman’s heart lies instead behind a veil of mystery: 19 per cent of women picked thrillers as the sexiest genre a man can read (James Patterson and Louise Penny, take a bow!). This was followed in popularity by non-fiction, which was viewed as attractive by 17 per cent of women surveyed and by biographies, which were favoured by 16 per cent.

Which books would you most love your date to have read?

But what about individual books? Is there a page-turner in circulation that stands out from the crowd, and will help its readers find love? Our most recent books survey says: yes!

Following 2017’s survey, in which over 800 participants were asked which books they would most like a date to have read, a clear winner has emerged. Dip the lights, and a cue the drum roll, please: the most attractive book to have in your back catalogue is…

To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee!

Over a third of respondents included this in their top five, with the book being a clear frontrunner for both men and women. It seems singles like their partners with a social conscience, and clear sense of justice. Considering the current world climate, this result seems particularly interesting.

What’s more, the second book in the running, as selected by a further third of participants, is George Orwell’s dystopian political commentary 1984. It seems that in these turbulent times, America’s singles are looking for someone with their feet on the ground, and an interest in current affairs.

Beyond searing social commentary, serial fantasy and science fiction fared exceptionally well, with The Lord of the Rings series, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series, the Harry Potter series, and the Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones) series all making it into the top ten. Men’s tastes run more towards Douglas Adams – 1 in 4 men would like to see their date reading The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

Here’s the top ten in full:

  1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  2. Nineteen Eighty Four by George Orwell
  3. The Lord of the Rings (series) by J. R. R. Tolkien
  4. The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald
  5. The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger
  6. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (series) by Douglas Adams
  7. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
  8. Harry Potter (series) by J.K. Rowling
  9. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  10. a Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones series) by George R. R. Martin

The singles surveyed clearly express a penchant for explorative, bold literature, with clear social implications. The presence of so many escapist novels seems to suggest we love a partner with an active imagination, while the two most popular novels also indicate we look for a strong moral compass and intelligence in our partners.

According to EliteSingles Psychologist Salama Marine, there are a variety of reasons why these books have come to the fore, chiefly, ‘’people look for those who have interesting hobbies – and reading is one of them. Why? Because a great book leads to great discussions.’’ She adds ‘’also, your taste in books can highlight aspects of your personality – are you curious, romantic, dreamy? By sharing your tastes you can show and share your inner world.’’

Salama says that this popularity shows that ‘’reading is an easy passion to share with [your] partner’’ – which makes it the kind of common ground that cements a great relationship!

In conclusion, if you want to get in someone’s good books, pick up a good book. Why? Because reading is – officially – sexy.

Are you ready to start a new chapter in your love life? Want someone who shares your passions and who is on the same page? Then try EliteSingles today.

EliteSingles editorial August 2015. Updated April 2017

Do you have questions or comments about literature and love? Do you think that reading is sexy? Let us know by commenting below or write to us at [email protected]


1 Unless otherwise specified, all percentages are from the EliteSingles ‘Bookshelf’ survey, 2015. Data collected from 1700 singles; participants from Canada, the USA, the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. Percentages may not equal 100 due to rounding.

2 EliteSingles ‘Hottest Hobbies’ study, 2015. Anonymous data collected from 47,000 registered members of EliteSingles Canada.

3 EliteSingles and Westwing ‘Dating and Decorating’ survey, 2015. Data collected from 1500 singles; participants from Canada, the USA, the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. Percentages may not equal 100 due to rounding.

4 All Salama Marine’s quotes from an exclusive interview with EliteSingles, August 2015.

About the author: Sophie Watson

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