But perhaps talking about books on first dates has some practical application in India, specially with at least 70% of our marriages still being arranged. If you have to gauge a person by an hour of conversation, it may be quite revealing to ask him a few of his favorite books.
Alternatively, it could be very useful if the person blogs. Recently a friend of mine who went for one of those awkward first meetings, found to his pleasant surprise that the girl had been reading his blog in the past few days, and there was already some sort of a common platform between them. She knew at least some perspectives of him, and he knew that she could relate to what he had written. This link helped them to use that small amount of time more constructively, and they are now engaged.