Don't Judge a Person By Their Favorite Book

BuzzFeed usually has great lists from "50 Of Cutest Things That Ever Happened" to "18 Of Your Favorite Toys From the 90s." BuzzFeed author, Joseph Bernstein, however, recently created a questionable list titled "28 Favorite Books That Are Huge Red Flags."

This list, which suggests you run for the hills should someone's favorite book be among the 28 included, attempts to be funny, but just infuriated many commenters. Multiple classics and favorites are on this list ranging from Harry Potter, Pride and Prejudice, and the Great Gatsby.


Unfortunately, this author does not give very credible reasons as to why many of these books are deemed “red flags.” He states that people who enjoy Harry Potter (myself being one) “These [books] are diverting but if your FAVORITE book is a glorified television show about a boy wizard written for 5-year-olds I’m going to wonder if you know where Afghanistan is.”

Not only have you completely missed the point of the whole Harry Potter series, but this series spans all ages, from youth to older adults. A series that has culminated in $15 billion (movies and films combined) sure should not raise a red flag. I admit the movies are not done the best, nor is J.K Rowling’s writing the best grammar-wise. For an author who created a huge fandom, two theme parks and a huge movie series, people who claim to say this their favorite book have every reasonvto do so. I can only tap into how much community and sense of camaraderie the fandom has created with conventions to the creation of multiple fanfiction sites. Again, this is coming from a die-hard Harry Potter fan whose life revolved around the books, so I am a bit biased.


Pride and Prejudice is another literary classic. Written by Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice has witty retort, wonderfully descriptive scenery, and is a tale of two characters finding their flaws and falling in love despite their misgivings. It remained on BBC’s Big Read Series as number one. Now, I understand it caters to the female audience much more than the male audience, but it is another classic that many people should read. Bernstein states “You think waiting around is going to turn jerky-but-hot Blake from advertising into Mr. Darcy? No, the only thing you’re going to be waiting for is your cats to eat your face after you die of loneliness. Settle for a loser like the rest of us.” That is not what the book’s main message is, but clearly Bernstein didn’t read the book.


The Great Gatsby is an another American classic. It is the epitome of 1920s literature and is wrought with wonderful, colorful descriptions of New York. It was number 2 on USA Today’s Best Selling List of Book in 1994 and currently holds number 48. Bernstein’s reasoning for people who claim Gatsby is their favorite book states that they “stopped reading in 10th grade. Shoo.” Gatsby is a staple in high school literature classes because it is such a great book.

Some of the books that made the list, such as the Twilight Series and I Hope they Serve Beer in Hell should raise eyebrows, but honestly, his reasoning is not very substantial. Granted, one should not judge a person completely based on their favorite book choice. I understand that this article is probably done in tongue-and-cheek, but his evidence lacks any literary credentials. He doesn’t state why the books are not good, but takes personal attacks on those who enjoy the books.

Bernstein, I have three raised flags against me since Pride and Prejudice, Harry Potter, and Great Gatsby are three of my favorite books. Not sure if I should or the PM community be worried. I’ll let you all judge.