Perhaps it came with a note as simple as “This made me think of you,” but it takes up residence in your heart and your home. The Books They Gave Me is a mixtape of stories behind books given and received. Some of the stories are poignant, some snarky, some romantic, some disastrous—but all are illuminating.
Jen Adams collected nearly two hundred of the most provocative stories submitted to the tumblr blog TheBooksTheyGaveMe.com to capture the many ways books can change our lives and loves, revealing volumes about the relationships that inspired the gifts. These stories are, by turns, romantic, cynical, funny, dark, and hopeful. There’s the poorly thought out gift of Lolita from a thirty-year-old man to a teenage girl. There’s the couple who tried to read Ulysses together over the course of their long-distance relationship and never finished it. There’s the girl whose school library wouldn’t allow her to check out Fahrenheit 451, but who received it at Christmas with the note, “Little Sister: Read everything you can. Subvert Authority! Love always, your big brother.” These are stories of people falling in love, regretting mistakes, and finding hope. Together they constitute a love letter to the book as physical object and inspiration.
Illustrated in full color with the jackets of beloved editions, The Books They Gave Me is, above all, an uplifting testament to the power of literature.
Read an excerpt HERE.
Read Jen's Huffington Post piece about the book HERE.
"This book is fascinating. You can sit down and just read one, flipping through randomly, or you can get absorbed for hours in both these people's memories and your own. If books are part of your life, you want this book. And you'll want to give one to every book lover on your list. Adam's came up with an amazing project that has now become an amazing book (with the possibility of more editions in a couple of years, according to her blog). This is a treasure about treasures, and a celebration of books, the giving, the getting, the reading and the cherishing of memories of them."