NERD-STALGIA: HMM…BOOKS? NEVER HEARD OF ‘EM.

Is nothing sacred anymore? After hearing yesterday’s shocking news that the folks at Encyclopedia Britannica will be ending their print edition (insert sad trombone noise here), I was struck by two things. First, the overwhelming nostalgia-slash-am-I-getting-that-old? sense that settles in when we realize something in our lifetime has come and gone already. Secondly, I, like most other people, wondered out loud, “Wait, they were still making those?!” Whoa. Mind Blown.

But, much like other things that confound (why do they still print phone books? does anybody ever really use payphones anymore? and on and on), one thing was pretty clear. Women – at least this woman – loves books, bookshelves, and guys who own them.

No, you don’t need to go out and buy a monocle and start wearing elbow patches, but guys who read – and keep – books are charming in an old fashioned way. So, the only acceptable thing to do now is to highlight some of the volumes that would impress us if we were ever to walk into your apartment and find that glorious piece of furniture known as the bookshelf. Hey, you can tell a lot about a man from what he reads (or doesn’t). And if you own these, you’re already ahead of the game.

The Classics - I don’t mean this in a run-out-and-buy-every-leather-bound-edition-by Fitzgerald-Tolstoy-Twain-or-Hemingway” kind of way. I just mean that, if you happen to have kept your high school edition of “Catcher in the Rye,” tattered pages and all, that’s kind of endearing. Sadly, Cliffs Notes don’t have the same effect, sorry boys.

Biographies - Whether it’s about Steve Jobs, Keith Richards, or Abraham Lincoln (bet you’d never see those three next to each other in a sentence), reading about other people’s lives is fascinating. Just as long as it’s not the biography of Osama bin Laden or Hitler. Those are less charming.

Interests/Hobbies - If we see a few titles about mountain biking, shipwrecks, punk rock pioneers or even green architecture, it’s a good sign. It means that your life isn’t just about work. Women love a well-rounded man, in the mind, not the midsection.

Nostalgia - There is nothing sexier than a man who hung onto a book that he used to read with his parents, or to that faded copy of “The Giving Tree” or “Peter Pan” from childhood. *Miss Wingman note: This is not to be confused with actually being a Peter Pan, we find enough guys with that syndrome on our own, thankyouverymuch.

Sports - Whether you read about legendary surfers, the Ali/Frazier rivalry or Murderers’ Row, books about sports are awesome. So much so that sometimes even girls read them, too. Just don’t own anything about cockfighting or elephant tusk poaching, that’s a little too intense for most of us.

Think Pieces - Whether it’s oft-read titles like “The Tipping Point,” “Outliers” or even “Freakonomics,” books that get your mind going are a solid choice. Both for displaying and for actually reading, should you be so inclined. I’m not saying to shun fiction, I’m just saying that sometimes examining how and why we think a certain way is sexy. In more ways than one.

And that’s about it. Obviously it’s not a complete list, you can add your own personal favorites like that riveting Tucker Max compilation (I own his books, I can make fun), or political manifestos like “Game Change.” (Nothing by Sarah Palin, obviously). Or even photography books if that’s what you’re into – not to be confused with picture books. It would be nice if you had more than a third grade reading comprehension level.

But whatever pages you prefer to peruse, sometimes it’s best to ditch the e-readers and go old school. Even if you didn’t jump on the encyclopedia bandwagon before it was too late, you can still impress us with your book smarts. Just remember, you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover, but women can’t promise to always say the same in return.GEEK WINGMAN

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