Morning Coffee: Blind Date With A Book

poinsettia-6Here’s a fun game for exchanging books for Christmas, or any other time, for that matter. I first heard of this when I attended a workshop a couple months back. It was part of a game where we took turns standing up and sharing a humorous, confusing, or even mean review/critique. After you shared you could pick a book out of a basket. Thing was, you couldn’t see the book you were choosing. Each donated book was wrapped in plain brown paper and on the front was written four or five brief descriptions.

I don’t remember the descriptors written on mine, but if I were giving this book away as a blind date I would write: medieval, inspirational romance, lost honor, forced marriage, murder. The book turned out to be “Adoration” by Olivia Rae, a Wisconsin writer. This is a book I wouldn’t normally buy. Not because I don’t like medieval history or inspirational romance, I do, but there just aren’t enough days in my life to read all the books I would enjoy so I have to be choosy and there are other time periods I enjoy more. But I was happy to receive this book. I could hardly put it down.

This is also a game that doesn’t have to cost participants a single cent. You can all agree to bring a gently used book from your own home library. You can add a “white elephant” angle to your game, in case someone picks a book they have already read, or maybe because someone else picked a book they would prefer.

The right to pick a book can be earned by shaking dice or answering a trivia question correctly. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination and the people playing the game. If you can’t come up with an idea yourself, try Googling it. There are tons of ideas online, from Pinterest to…well…a million other sites. And it doesn’t have to be a party game. Libraries and bookstores are doing it, as well.

Admittedly, the concept goes against the way we normally choose our books. What’s the first thing that attracts you to a book, whether in the library or a store? The cover. Choice of cover art is the top priority when a writer decides to self-publish…other than good content, of course. Unless the book happens to be written by a favorite author, it’s the colors, graphics, even the title font that attracts us. Only after spying an interesting cover do we pick it up and read the back cover blurb before making that all important purchase decision. Blind Date With A Book takes away that visual attraction and truncates the blurb.

I felt an excitement greater than normal as I flipped through the remaining books in the basket. There was a sense of mystery, an intriguing unknown, to the process. I read the descriptors on each. I held them in my hand and felt the size and weight. I ran my hand over the top of each as if willing the contents to expose themselves to me psychically. And when I returned to my seat I didn’t hesitate before untying the string and removing the paper to see my prize, the treasure I had won. The cover was beautiful. I read the full blurb and knew immediately I had picked a winner. But I also knew every book in that basket was a winner. No one “lost” that went on a blind date with a book that night.

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