Julie suggests that we put our cards on the table and reveal the three books we'd take with us to a literary speed dating event. Putting the question of strategy aside, here are three books that both jumped out at me as likely candidates and are (I hope) not too damaging:
1. Joseph Conrad, The Secret Agent.
2. M.F.K. Fisher, Serve it Forth. I'm not dating anyone who doesn't like food, or doesn't like my liking food.
3. Alternate choices: In an ideal world, I'd include Helen DeWitt's The Last Samurai, a fantastic novel from a few years ago, but no one I know has read it (except Jenny at Light Reading; I think I saw a post on it a while back). And whenever I recommend it I have to explain that no, it doesn't have anything to do with the Tom Cruise movie of the same name, which came out later. So
3a. Kazuo Ishiguro, The Unconsoled. I hesitated a bit about which Ishiguro, but The Unconsoled has the benefit of being long, to show date-person I like reading and am not scared of thick books.