Finding Love In The Library With Literary Speed Dating

By Kaitlin Stein
Published: Friday, September 5, 2014 - 4:03pm
Updated: Friday, September 5, 2014 - 4:12pm
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If you’ve ever felt like you’d have better luck finding someone datable in a book than in real life, you may just find your new leading lady or gent at the Mesa Public Library’s speed dating event this weekend.

Participants come under the pseudonym of a literary character, armed with their charm and favorite book. Shina Sepulveda attended one of these events back in February. She said she loved the difference between the library’s version of speed dating and the more common scene you might find at a bar. 

“There’s a little bit more of an expectation like ‘Stay hang out with me have some drinks!’ And it’s like uhhh no, you know," Sepulveda said. "At the library it’s not like ‘Hey, sit read with me!’ There wasn’t that like, let’s sit and read a book together kind of expectation. It’s like ‘Oh hey nice to meet you and we’ll both just see how it goes.' It’s like nice to meet and happy to part. It’s like the introvert’s speed dating.”

It helps that everyone is coming to the table with a love of literature, but what if you hate your speed dating partner’s favorite book? Is your happily ever after over before it begins?

“I think the great thing about books is it’s not like music, right, where you have to be tortured by it if you do end up with this person, you know? So, it’s like, books are silent, they’ll sit on a shelf," Sepulveda said. "I can deal with a totally different genre you know, coupled next to my romance novels. I’m okay with that."

Plus, if you do find a love connection, it makes its own great story. Matt Mesnard is trying it out for the first time this weekend. First experience with speed dating and he’s happy to try something away from the traditional dating scene. 

“I figured, you know, why not? It’d be interesting," Mesnard said. "And on the bright side, instead of saying 'oh I met this person on the Internet' you can say 'oh I met this person in a library technically.' So that kind of is appealing to talking to your family right?”

But let’s be real, not all of our favorite literary characters are exactly datable themselves. Matt is going under the name Elmer Gantry from "All People." 

“What’s funny is I think the first line of Elmer Gantry was “Elmer Gantry is drunk.” So, that kind of explains a lot of it," Mesnard said. "I don’t think Elmer Gantry’s a good person to pattern oneself after. You know, you wanna get some sort of repeat business so to speak." 

So who would you be? We polled the newsroom to see who our KJZZ staff would moonlight as. 

Sarah Ventre would be Laura Ingles from "The Little House on the Prairie" series.

Nick Blumberg would be Atticus Finch. "And I guess in the interest of consistency, I’d bring 'To Kill a Mockingbird' by Harper Lee,” he said.

Dennis Lambert said he would be Bobby Garfield from Stephen King’s Audiobook "Hearts in Atlantis.”

Tiara Vian would be Fanny Price from "Mansfield Park." "And my favorite book is Where the Red Fern Grows," she said.

Tracy Greer would be Betsy Throckmorton from Dan Jenkins’ "Fast Copy.”

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