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BookHounds Review THE BOOKS THEY GAVE ME by JEN ADAMS @AtriaBooks

Book Description

November 6, 2012

THE GIFT OF A BOOK BECOMES PART OF THE STORY OF YOUR LIFE. 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 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 Ulyssestogether 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.

About the Author
After a decade and a half spent in Chicago, where she worked as a freelance writer and served as a founding contributing editor of Digital Scrapbooking Magazine, Jennifer Adams moved to New York to be closer to The Strand. She is at work on a variety of projects, including a zombie novel for middle-grades readers. She blogs sporadically at She lives in Astoria, New York, and is the mother of two boys.



BOOK PORN.  Plain and simple, this is as good as it gets for us book lovers.   If you enjoy reading Post Secret and really want to know why someone gifted a certain book or why that person enjoyed it or hated it, this is your peek into that their thinking.  I love reading stuff like this.  There is a wide range of emotions, everything from "why did I get this" to "this means so much".  Much like The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories, this is one you can pick up and read whenever you like.  Probably my favorite from the whole collection is one where lovers gifted each other books and they both wrote essentially that the romance was over with this exchange.  

This is one of those vicarious experiences that let you peek into the minds of like minded people.  I know I had a lot of these books on my shelves or had read them in the past and it was really interesting to find what these same books had meant to them.   I will revisit many times since it lends itself to rereading.  I think that this would make the perfect gift for that book lover that has read everything. 


  1. Hi, I saw your message on Book Blogs and I am now following your blog. My blog is Thanks and Happy New Year.

  2. I wounder, if you have lots of books in your shelves, have you read it all already?

    Ervin Alcordo,
    Amazebooks | Ebooks and Novel Download

  3. A book that someone describes as book porn has got to be good. I'm definitely adding this one to my list. Thanks for sharing.

  4. You have tempted me - thanks for sharing your review!

    Shelleyrae @ Book'd Out


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