Blind Dating with Books

pexels-photo-267586.jpegMy local public library is sponsoring a program this month called “Blind Date with a Book.” This is apparently not a brand new program; libraries have been doing this for a few years, and there are websites where you can purchase books based only on a very short description. But this was my first encounter with the phenomenon.

I saw a description of the program on the library’s website, so I made it a point to visit the library last week. On a table in the center of the room, they have a display of books wrapped in bright red paper and decorated with valentine stickers. Each book contains a label that gives clues about the contents of the book and a suggested age range for readers. The idea is to select a book based only on the somewhat cryptic description. The “bait” is that you may discover a new genre or author to add to your reading list. That, and a prize drawing at the end of the month for anyone who fills out and turns in a rating form for their “blind date.”

My first blind date was an audio book. It was described as one of the most challenged books to appear on Oprah’s recommendation list. I listen to a lot of audio books while I’m driving, so I decided to give it a try. After checking out the book, I unwrapped it in my car and found The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison. I had not been aware of the book when it was first published in 1993, and I wondered if it would feel dated to listen to it in 2018. A closer look at the box of CDs revealed that one of the readers was the author herself. I was completely drawn into the world of the main characters from the first moment. I laughed, I cried, I recognized familiar situations and I struggled to absorb foreign ones. As a “blind date,” I call this a success. I would spend time with Ms. Morrison and her books again.

Today I returned that audio book and chose a print book. It was described as a suspense novel set in a time when “crimes weren’t solved with DNA evidence.” There was something about the description that made me wonder if I had read it before; so I picked a backup book just in case. If my first choice was one I had already read, I would return it (still wrapped in red paper) and check out the backup. No need for the backup, however. I had not yet read The Alienist by Caleb Carr, had not heard of it in fact. From the summary on the book jacket, I learned that the title derives from a term used to describe psychologists in the 1890s. Only one of my Goodreads friends has read the book, so it feels a bit like I’m breaking new ground (kind of the point of a blind date, I guess). I haven’t started reading the book yet, but I’m looking forward to it.

I have really enjoyed this “blind date” idea; I had become a little too comfortable with my short list of familiar authors and genres. This has been an enjoyable way to step into some new arenas for my reading this year.

 

Advertisements

Published by

Barbara Bruneau

Barbara Bruneau is an ordained pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. She is recently retired, having previously served congregations in Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Barbara enjoys knitting, reading, cooking, and weaving. She shares her home with Russell, a solid charcoal gray cat with an attitude; Khaleesi, a tortoiseshell rescue cat still getting accustomed to being around people; and Sadie, a beagle-and-yellow-lab mix

2 thoughts on “Blind Dating with Books”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s