A Blind Date with a Book

Blind Date with a Book

Have you heard of this idea before?

I first came across it in my old neighbourhood (still waiting for the realisation to kick in that I no longer live there), along West Hampstead High Street.

It was soon after a new bookstore had opened up, called The House of Books. And on those glorious days when it wasn’t raining, they would put a couple of stands out on the sidewalk, two for books, and a postcard carousel.

You can see one of those book stands here. No book covers. Just rows of books covered in brown paper, neatly wrapped by hand with string, and a little tag that says, “Blind Date with a Book 🐞” for the bargain price of £6.99.

📘 Blizzard, Rural noir, Persistence, Dark humour, Gripping.

📘 Secret love diary, Book restorer, Bletchley Park, Family life, Time slip.

📘 Escape plan, Bossy Husband, Rediscovery, New beginnings, Provenance.

I decided to pick up that last one. Since my bossy husband and I were busy hatching an escape plan of our own at the time.

Blind Date with a Book - the one I chose

I just had to have one. It’s the best sort of impulse buy, these little treats. And what kind of book lover would I be if I could just walk on by?

First of all, I truly fell in love the idea. So much so, that this is now going to be the only birthday or Christmas present I give to all my friends from now on.

And because I like the idea so much, I tried to hold onto the mystery of the book for as long as possible.

One month went by, two, then three… I packed it with me as we moved around from house to house over the summer, finally able to visit family after so long apart.

In my bedroom, I always keep a little pile of books to read next, in addition to what’s on my kindle. I call it my book stack. Ok fine, here’s a picture, so that you really believe me.

Reading List

And there it is on top, still neatly wrapped.

I love my little book stack. It’s important to me to also read real physical books in addition to the novels I binge on my kindle.

Anyway, so it was yesterday when, right after reading the final pages of The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna – an incredible book – I decided it was time to pick up the brown paper book off my stack and took it into the garden for photographing.

Back inside, I started to undo the string and impatiently tore through the paper to finally discover who my date is with…

Ta da! The Missing Wife, by Sheila O’Flanagan.

Can’t say I’ve heard of either before! Have you? But I’m excited to give it a go.

As with food, music, movies, and books, I’m always open to trying new things and making sure I don’t succumb to the repetition of my own decisions.

5 Blind Date Book Recommendations

Now I know what you’re thinking. You just can’t wait to gift someone a Blind Date with a Book and discover one for yourself.

It’s a fabulous idea, and I really hope you do! I’m sure you have your favourites too, so please share them in the comments below.

In the meantime, here are 5 books that I recommend, and some helpful bullets if you decide to choose one.

1Q84 Books 1-3 by Haruki Murakami

  • Magical realism
  • Female assassin
  • Religious cults
  • Star-crossed lovers

The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna by Juliet Grames

  • Italian immigration
  • Family saga
  • Strong female
  • Spellbinding

Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain

  • Misadventures
  • Gonzo journalism
  • Foodies
  • Survival

Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts

  • Bombay underworld
  • Prison break
  • Human experience
  • Forgiveness

Unrooted Childhoods: Memoirs of Growing Up Global by Nina Sichel

  • Coming-of-age
  • Exploring cultures
  • Identity and belonging
  • True stories

More Book Recommendations (that I haven’t read)

In addition to the titles in my book stack, you may like to know that I’ve got the following 3 lined up on my kindle:

  • Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro – Science Fiction, Dystopian
  • They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera – Young Adult, of TikTok fame
  • The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss – Trilogy, Fantasy

What books do you recommend?

Lara Olivia
Lara Olivia

Freelance writer and blogger obsessed with food, travel and good stories.

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