The Books They Gave Me: True Stories of Life, Love, and Lit has a throwback vintage sort of look to it. The look, along with the premise, just scream “Give me to a bookworm!”
Jen Adams has collected stories from various people — told anonymously — about a gifted book that was especially meaningful. Some meant good things, like “This person totally gets me,” and others foreshadowed the lack of knowing that ultimately resulted in growing apart.
The entries are each formatted in the same way: a colored picture of the book being profiled at the top, followed by the story. Some are a few sentences long and others are a couple of pages long, with the majority falling somewhere in the middle with a few paragraphs describing the book gifting in question.
There are some common themes, such as a fellow bookworm relative who always gave books, or a significant other giving the completely wrong book. Some books were actually gifted, but others were loaned or suggested, but the recipient recognized the value of the contents of the book. The fact that the person wanted them to read the perfect book was memorable in itself.
I totally understand that. I love matching up the right book with the right person, and love it when someone “gets me” enough to suggest or give me a book that I end up enjoying. I don’t care if the physical book accompanies the suggestion or not, though a physical reminder on my bookshelf, possibly inscribed, is fun too.
This is a fun book to browse. It’s a virtual connection with others who feel the same we do about books. It’s not organized in any logical order, which would improve it in my opinion. The table of contents has the essays listed in sequential order by author and title of the featured book. I would have liked to see an index by book title or author as well. However, you can scan the table of contents to search for your own personal favorites.
I’m happy to be able to offer a copy of this book, from the publisher, offered to a booklover by a booklover. Just leave a comment if you’d like to win. And if you’d like to — just for fun — tell me about a book that you gave or received that hit the target perfectly.
We’ll announce the winner in our book column on December 5 (U.S. shipping addresses only).
Jennifer loves putting books in the right hands — of friends, her children, and friends’ children.