Want to go on a blind date with a book?

Want to go on a blind date with a book?

We tried this out last year, and it was so much fun we’re bringing it back for 2019.

I went on my first blind date with a book a few years ago. I’d seen pictures of blind date books on the internet—books wrapped in brown paper, bearing intriguing clues of what contents lay inside, but not giving too much away—and when my local bookstore got in on the action, I couldn’t resist.

(Interestingly, the description on the book I chose isn’t appropriate now. Click the link to read that post and you’ll see what I mean.)

Since then this literary trend has spread far and wide—you all have sent me photos of impressive displays at your local libraries, and I’ve visited bookstores who have entire walls devoted to brown paper-wrapped books.

Readers, if you don’t have a bookstore or library near you wrapping books in brown paper, this post is for you. I chose three books from my collection (let’s be honest—duplicate books), wrapped them up, and took a stab at writing intriguing clues that don’t give too much away. (It’s not easy! I tried to err on the side of being cryptic, but maybe I’m wrong and you’ll know immediately which titles I’m talking about.)

I’m giving them all away to three separate readers, one book per reader.

Based on these slim descriptions, how do these books sound to you?

book #1: love and loss, best friends, betrayal, multiple point of view, medical drama

book #2: makeover, decluttering, priorities, home, step-by-step

book #3: a reimagined classic, social commentary, romantic comedy, Pakistan

To enter: leave a comment that says which book you’re most interested in, identifying the book with the number 1, 2, or 3. We’ll choose the winners randomly, and reveal the books in Friday’s links I love post. (Winners will be notified by email.)

Giveaway ends Wednesday, February 6 at 11:59 pm EST.

UPDATE: Click here to see the reveal!

Good luck! I hope YOU win.

Have you gone on a blind date with a book? Have you let someone set you up with a book you were skeptical about? Would you try it? I’d love to hear about your experiences in comments.

2,555 comments | Comment


  1. Cassondra Wiebe says:

    #2! I have books that came to mind for each as I read the clues so I’m excited to see if I was right!

  2. M Kate Burton says:

    I think that #3 sounds pretty fun. I love classics and have really enjoyed the makeovers that I’ve read so far.

  3. Christyn E says:

    Pretty sure I literally JUST finished #3 (last night!) — and the description is spot-on. It was delightful. Given that, I’m tempted to try #1. Thanks!

  4. Michelle Silbernagel says:

    #1 But I think I know/have read the book by the keywords. I hope not, because it sounds wonderful!

  5. Jamie Grace-Duff says:

    I am most interested in number3! What a fun game. I think I will try to arrange something similar with my writing/reading group!

  6. Shaira Villanueva says:

    #1 had me at “medical drama”, sounds right up my alley! I’m torn because I’m also interested in #2 lol

  7. Beth says:

    So fun! I’ve been wanting to host a blind date book party but just haven’t figured out the logistics. I would love number 3!

  8. Jennifer Kepesh says:

    Of these, I’d choose #1, I think because “love and loss” and “best friends” next to each other suggests something deeper.

  9. Jamie K says:

    Number 1, for sure. Sounds like my type right off the bat, and one I know I have a potential future with – it’s has elements that I’ve liked from previous (reading) relationships, as well as some new characteristics which might make this book a better fit for me than previous books.

  10. Becca says:

    I would say I’m most interested in #1 but I think I know what book it might be and, if so, I’ve read it! But I would love to read #3 🙂

  11. Miriam says:

    Oh book number 3 sounds very intriguing – so it’s 3 for me! Fantastic idea and I love your blog – thanks for sharing your thoughts

  12. Michelle Gaddis says:

    #3!! I’ve never tried this, but I love to read so why not?! I do tend to read mostly the same type of book so this could introduce me to something new.

  13. Missy Hatfield says:

    Number 1 sounds the best to me! I have never been on a blind date with a book. I did meet my now husband on a blind date over twenty years ago 🙂

  14. Anna Gieryna says:

    How fun! I’d love to read #3, I have a guess about #1 and if it’s right I read it last year! It was a great book!

  15. Selena says:

    #1 sounds most intriguing to me. My local library is doing this also with the wrapped books. It was fun to stand and try to pick a book based on their descriptions. I just started the book I got, “Sourdough” by Robin Sloan.

  16. Megan says:

    So fun! Taking into account books that have gotten love on the blog, podcast, and instagram feeds recently (is the last year “recently”?) I’ve got pretty good guesses for what #1 and #3 are. Both are on my TBR, but today I’m more in the mood for #3!

  17. Kathrin Bentley says:

    Number 3 for me! 1 sounds like Jodi Picoult?
    Thanks for this – very exciting and although I hear you when you say this has been a thing since last year, it definitely hasn’t where I live! Only London, that is! ?
    Kathrin x

  18. Kristi Anderson says:

    Definitely #3. I think I’ve already read #1 and #2 can’t wait to learn which titles you’ve wrapped up regardless. I want this to come to a bookstore near me.

  19. Stephanie says:

    Number 3! As a resident of Pakistan, I am always intrigued by books that mention or utilize this underestimated country in any way. 🙂

  20. Kaitlin says:

    Number one sounds perfect for me! Love a good medical drama since I’m in the medical field, and real life is never as intriguing as books and movies portray it!!

  21. Sarah says:

    I am interested in Number 1! (I think I know which one #3 is, and it is on my hold list at my library. 🙂 )

  22. Michelle Wilson says:

    I just finished #3. I thought this one was probably your jam. I can’t figure out #1. So that’s my choice. Of course, I am probably wrong about the others also! ?

  23. Stephanie Gregorin says:

    I am so excited about this idea, and sharing it with friends! I am most interested in #1! Thank you!!

  24. Erin Perez says:

    Number 3!
    I’ve read number 1, plan on listening to number 2 and have been looking forward to number 3.

  25. Peggy says:

    I hope you reveal the titles in a follow up, so we know what they are! Book #1 sounds like a fun read 🙂

  26. Jeni says:

    I’m pretty sure I know what #3 is, and I already know I want to read it, so I am going to change it up and choose #2!

  27. Moyo says:

    I have been set on a blind date with a book before. However, I have been persuaded to read a book I was skeptical about, and found I enjoyed it.

  28. Hannah M Hurley says:

    #1 sounds fun. I definately have guesses for all of them. Thanks Anne. I love blind dates with a book.

  29. Peggy Kressin says:

    I think #3 sounds interesting. I had a pen pal when I was in high school from Pakistan. We are still friends through Facebook. I also love reading books with other countries as the setting. I particularly enjoy Khalid Hosseini.

  30. Susan says:

    Fun! I would go with #3.
    When my daughter was little, I used to let her “shop” for books for me to read at our library. My husband & I discovered one of our favorite authors that way. This was NOT a book I would normally have chosen!
    I wish I could say that I learned not to judge books by their covers, but….

  31. Ashleigh says:

    I know I should say #2, because I could use that kind of advice, but one I want to read is #3, since it sounds perfect for alleviating the February doldrums!

  32. Dawn Mottlow says:

    I would say #1 but I think I can guess the title of that one and if I’m right I already read that one!! So then I would say #3!! Thanks for the chance to win a blind date with a book!

  33. I think I know which books #2 & #3 are. If I’m right, I’ve already read #2 and I’m most interested in #3. (As for #1, I usually don’t feel up to betrayal…)

    • Scratch that—I’ve changed my mind on what #2 is and I HAVEN’T read it, but don’t think I’m too inclined to anyway. And I have an idea of what #1 is now (after looking at a previous MMD post.) Can’t wait to see if I’m right!

  34. Stacey says:

    #1. I also wanted to say that I listened to the intro to book school over the weekend and something Anne said finally made it click about why to stop reading books i’m not enjoying. At 60 pages an hour, a 300 page book is 5 hours. I’ve been hung up on putting aside books.i paid for, but even if I paid $30, that’s a crazy return.

  35. Karen says:

    Love this blind date idea.
    (If there was a not outside the US disclaimer, I missed it, but it would disqualify me)

  36. Melyssa says:

    Book #3 sounds most intriguing to me. I love a re-telling! These book blind dates always seem fun. I wish bookstores or libraries local to me would do them.

  37. Mandie Dillard says:

    #3! I have reimagined fairytale/classic on my to-be-read list this year! That would be perfect!

  38. Moyo says:

    I have been set on a blind date with a book before. However, I have been persuaded to read a book I was skeptical about, and found I enjoyed it.

    Oh! And I pick number 3!

  39. Brittany Bailey says:

    OHHHHH I am betting #3 is “Unmarriageable” and that’s been on my list of want to reads for a while!!! I love a good P&P retelling!!!

  40. Kaethe Pittman says:

    Number 1, because I have no clue what book it might be. The other two I think I recognize. I’ve never done this before and am intrigued!

  41. Nancy Adise says:

    This is fabulous Anne, thanks for doing this.
    My choice is book #1. First of all, I love medical drama anything – books in particular, followed by tv shows. Next, I enjoy stories that are told from multiple points of view. It just makes them more interesting.
    This has totally peaked my interest as to what these books are!

  42. Maggie Yoder says:

    I am most interested in book #1. I too have always loved the idea of a blind date with a book but never participated. What a fun concept!

  43. Tiffany Beverly says:

    #1. I went on a blind date that I picked up at Main Street Books in Davidson while I was attending the event with Jane Mount and you. Such a fun concept.

  44. Jen says:

    #3! Sounds like a P&P retelling?? While #2 sounds good, I’m trying to read more books for fun this year, and #3 sounds fun!

  45. Jess says:

    My book club did this at our Christmas party book exchange game. So fun! I think #1 sounds like one I have on my TBR. Fingers crossed!

  46. Nicole D. says:

    I would have to say #3. Love reimagined classics and the Middle Eastern setting sounds super intriguing!

  47. Halie says:

    This is so fun! I came across a display like this a few years ago, while visiting a cute, small bookshop on vacation in Franklin, NC. I chose based off the description along the lines of “WWII, historical fiction, female main characters,” and ended up with an ARC of “Lilac Girls” !! What a great deal! It was an amazing book, and so much fun to go on a “blind date with a book!”

    I think book #1 sounds the best for me!

  48. Charissa says:

    Number 1 sounds the most interesting to me. I’ve never been on a blind date with a book before. It sounds fun. 🙂 Thanks for the giveaway and the chance to win!

  49. Mary Haden says:

    I am interested in #3. I love romantic comedies and my book club never picks them. I’m intrigued by the idea of it being set in Pakistan!

  50. Kayla S says:

    I think I know Book #3, and I really want to read it. The author gave a talk on a podcast (I think NPR) months before the release, and I’ve been eager to read it ever since.

  51. Judy R says:

    PLEASE HELP stop the comments from coming to my email!
    Does anyone know how to turn off comment notifications? I’m getting hundreds and hundreds of emails from when I left my vote. At this rate I won’t have any data left on my phone. Need help finding a way to turn notifications off. Thank you if anyone has advice.

  52. Cammie Symons says:

    #1 sounds like my kind of book! I cannot wait to see what each of these is. In fact, #1 will be added to my TBR!

  53. Deborah Ball says:

    Oh wow being a retired registered nurse with a career of 40 plus years I have to beg for number one!!! I never pass on any medical stories and I am a new MMD addicted fan!!

  54. Meghan says:

    This is so fun! I wish my local bookstore did this! Number 3 sounds like I’d enjoy it! Thanks for doing this!

  55. Mary Haden says:

    I’m interested in Book #3. I enjoy romantic comedies but my book club never picks them. I am also intrigued by the fact it is set in Pakistan!

  56. Diana says:

    Book #2 is the book that would be best for me right now. We are working on doing major cleaning and decluttering.

  57. Tobey Brock says:

    I have never heard of this wrapping the books up in brown paper. What a unique idea! I choose number 2 the one about decluttering and priorities and makeover. All three of those words caught my attention. Thanks for the chance.

  58. Amy says:

    How much fun is this?!?! What a great idea, Anne.

    Book #3 sounds the most interesting to me…now off to work at my school library where I might try this “date with a book” idea out on them. :))

  59. Melanie Beisert says:

    #2 sounds like exactly what I need.

    I have gone on a couple of blind dates with books. However, neither were wrapped in brown paper. The first one, The Hot Zone, was a grab and go to make a train. My friends and I stayed at a bed & breakfast in Rome. There was a shelf of books for the taking, and I grabbed the thickest one for the long ride ahead. I devoured it on the train ride from Rome to Brindisi. This is not at all my typical read, but I will never forget it and have recommended it often. The other was recommended by the Oprah Book Club, The Poisonwood Bible, and it is now one of my top 5 favorites! Again, not a typical book I would choose, but the more and more I think about that, I wonder if I really have a type. I just love good literature.

  60. Chelle says:

    I haven’t done formal book ‘blind dates’ but my sister in law and I exchange books via mail that we’ve loved without any preamble…we just send them. It’s always a fun surprise and having someone else pick out a book cuts through the decision anxiety. Reading cold, just someone putting it in your hands and saying ‘here, read, enjoy’ is the best! Thanks so much Anne for always cutting through the decision anxiety, helping to curate amazing reading lists. Book #1 sounds awesome!!

  61. June says:

    Number 1 sounds like my jam. I think I know what book 3 is though and the book it is based on. But i’m all for number one, friends, loss, betrayal and medical drama.

  62. Cait says:

    2 and 3 sound great, but I think I’d have to go with 3! I have a few guesses as to what it might be, but it would be equally exciting to be proven right or wrong in this case 😉

  63. Jacqueline P says:

    Number 1! When I’m in a reading rut, that’s the type of guilty pleasure I turn to. And I’m in a reading rut!

  64. KWolff says:

    What a fun idea! I love the thought of something randomly new.
    I think my pick would be #1. Thanks for the cool giveaway!

  65. Tracy Martorana says:

    Number 3 sounds intriguing, so that would be my pick! But I’m also a sucker for everything you wrote about #2!!!

  66. Dee Dee Morreo says:

    I think #3. Sounds like it would be a good read. Glad your telling us the titles Friday, #1 sounds interesting too so I may need to get that one also.
    Thanks, this is a great idea!!

  67. Sarah says:

    Oh, I think I know what all of these are! I’d be interested in 1 (I have already read 3 and I did love it! Pretty sure I’ve read 2 as well).