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.

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Leave A Comment
  1. 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!

  2. 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!

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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 🙂

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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 🙂

  10. 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!

  11. 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.

  12. 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!

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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. 🙂

  16. 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!!

  17. 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! ?

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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….

  21. 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!

  22. 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!

    • 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!

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. 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!

  26. 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!!!

  27. 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!

  28. 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!

  29. 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!

  30. 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.

  31. 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!

  32. 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!

  33. 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!

  34. 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!

  35. 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.

  36. 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.

  37. 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!!

  38. 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!

  39. 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.

  40. 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. :))

  41. 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.

  42. 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!!

  43. 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.

  44. 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 😉

  45. 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!!

  46. 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).

  47. Janet says:

    Door (book) #3 sounds most intriguing for me. I love reading books in different settings and Pakistan was the clue that drew me in

  48. Karla Osorno says:

    Number 3 please
    Our local bookstore does this and I love it. Recently I created some of my own (when our bookstore had only 2 of the 6 I was looking for) for our book club. It was so much fun!

  49. Haley Velasco says:

    Love this idea! I am leaning towards No. 3. I am on a romance kick and with it being February, the more love (and comedy), the better.

  50. Hope W. says:

    #3 for me! My book club did this for our January meeting. We decided December was busy enough without having to read a book on a deadline. We had a lot of fun! I ended up with “Winter Solstice” by Maeve Binchy, one of my favorite authors.

  51. Kelly Bly says:

    #3 – Your cryptic code makes me think of an author I love, but someone else has used the storyline in Pakistan. I’m intrigued!

  52. Allyson Wieland says:

    I want to guess the titles of all three. Think I know them.
    Perhaps book #2 is what my house and bookshelves need most.

  53. Tammy A. says:

    Hmmmmm. #3 sounds interesting! Reimagined classic caught my attention but Pakistan is not a setting I would normally gravitate towards!

  54. Donna-Jean says:

    #1 intrigues me! Have never heard of the “blind date” idea before …love it and thanks for all the great recommendations!!

  55. Amber says:

    I’m pretty sure I’ve read #2, and I think maybe #3 too, so I’m gonna say #1. It looks like it would be great for my “What Should I Read Next” 2019 reading challenge: a book out of my genre comfort zone!

  56. Cassie says:

    Book #3 looks like a lot of fun. I enjoy learning about different cultures and a a reimagined classic, romantic comedy, set in Pakistan sound like what I’d like.

  57. Naomi A Jones says:

    It’s so fun to try to guess what they are! I think I know what number one is and it’s a book I read and LOVED. I have no idea what number two is. And I think I know what 3 is and that’s the one I’d choose. Not exactly blind date if I think I know it though. 😉

  58. Michele Decker says:

    Book #1!
    I believe I just finished reading book #3 and I loved it! And I’m wondering if book #2 is a show that I may be watching to get inspired to organize my home.

  59. Carol says:

    It looks like the odds are best for #2. I hope you post a reveal when the winners are chosen. I have a guess for each, but if you were being cryptic I may be way off.

  60. JennieLynn says:

    After some hemming and hawing between book #1 & #3 I’d choose 3. I love the classics and a reimagined felling in Pakistan intrigued me.

  61. Stefanie Nordstrom says:

    Oh Book #3 – I love classics and authors experimenting to put them in different settings. The Pakistan note made me even more intrigued to know more about this book!!

  62. Ashley says:

    I do this with my high school students each February. They love it, and ask every year if I’m doing it again! I tried to attach a photo but it won’t let me. It’s super cute!

  63. Elizabeth Spencer says:

    What a fun contest! I’m intrigued by book #3: a reimagined classic, social commentary, romantic comedy, Pakistan

  64. Sarah Wolford says:

    Number 1 sounds so interesting! My book club did Blind Date with a book last year, and we were all really surprised with how much we enjoyed books that we otherwise wouldn’t have picked out for ourselves!

  65. Elizabeth Davis says:

    Number 3. I think I know what it is – and you and I *may* have discussed this book together when we met (as I’m sure you’re used to hearing).

  66. Joyce Larsen says:

    I think Book 3, though Book 2 is a close second. It will be fun to see their titles, when you reveal them (and add them all to my TBR list!).

  67. B says:

    I think I know what #1 is and is my to read shelf. And I am pretty sure what #3 is and I am on a wait list at the library. I need all the motivation I can get for minimizing so I would love #2.

  68. Betsy Sneath says:

    #1 sounds right up my reading alley. I love books with different POV’s, and I love stories that alternate between the past and present, especially if they take place in an English manor/ancestral estate. Most recently I’ve enjoyed “The Darkling Bride”, “The Wilding Sisters” and “The Au Pair”. Most recent different POVs: “The Silent Patient”, “Sick Girl”, “The Last Mrs. Parrish” and “All We Ever Wanted”

  69. Kelly Snelling says:

    #3 I love beginning to read a book and knowing absolutely nothing about it. But this process of blind dating a book is new to me. And fun! Book three sounds like one in my wheelhouse. Thanks for the extra fun to begin the week!

  70. Jennifer says:

    Omg can soneone please tell me how to delete my comment above ? I accidentally clicked on “notify me via email responses” to this post and now my email is flooded!!! ???


    • Judy R says:

      I did the same thing and it’s HORRIBLE! Please post what the solution is if you find out. I’m desperate since I have to leave town for my mother’s 95th birthday and I won’t be able to be in contact with family, my phone can’t handle thousands of emails.