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The Books They Gave Me: True Stories of Life, Love, and Lit

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This beautiful full-color treasury of stories about gift book-giving celebrates the enduring power of literature: stories of significant books people have received and what those books mean to them. 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 This beautiful full-color treasury of stories about gift book-giving celebrates the enduring power of literature: stories of significant books people have received and what those books mean to them. 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 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.


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This beautiful full-color treasury of stories about gift book-giving celebrates the enduring power of literature: stories of significant books people have received and what those books mean to them. 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 This beautiful full-color treasury of stories about gift book-giving celebrates the enduring power of literature: stories of significant books people have received and what those books mean to them. 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 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.

30 review for The Books They Gave Me: True Stories of Life, Love, and Lit

  1. 5 out of 5

    Kelly Hager

    This is the perfect book for readers. People emailed Adams and told her which book gift was the most significant and why. Some of the stories are sweet and some are sad and some are just almost baffling. This book appealed to me on two levels. The first, obviously, is that few things give me greater joy than talking about books or reading about books. :) I loved reading about which books were most valuable to people and why. The second is the part of me that loves things like PostSecret and The Ti This is the perfect book for readers. People emailed Adams and told her which book gift was the most significant and why. Some of the stories are sweet and some are sad and some are just almost baffling. This book appealed to me on two levels. The first, obviously, is that few things give me greater joy than talking about books or reading about books. :) I loved reading about which books were most valuable to people and why. The second is the part of me that loves things like PostSecret and The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories. I love getting little glimpses into people's personalities and this book will definitely give you that. This was an incredibly fun book to read and I hope that there will be a second volume at some point. Meanwhile, I hope to catch up on the Tumblr (linked above). It also made me think about the books that have meant the most to me. Generally when I get books as presents, they're books that I've asked for. People don't usually give me unrequested books as presents because it's hard to know what I have or what I've already read. My friend Bekki, though, gave me Blue Like Jazz and it's not an exaggeration to say it changed my life. When we were first starting to get to know each other, my birthmom sent me a copy of Harlan Coben's Tell No One. Obviously it isn't a life changer in the way that Blue Like Jazz was but it introduced me to this author that I absolutely was and it was a book that was just perfect---it was like every possible thing that I could've loved in one volume. But getting back to THIS book, I recommend it very, very much.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Stacey

    A very good friend gave me this book for a recent birthday. We have recommended / loaned / gifted / discussed many books throughout the years and this was yet another that I really enjoyed. (I still remember when she handed me a little book with a yellow cover - Raise High the Roofbeam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction by J.D. Salinger - in a faraway land telling me, "I think you'll like it." It immediately became and has stayed my favorite for the past fifteen years.) This book contains A very good friend gave me this book for a recent birthday. We have recommended / loaned / gifted / discussed many books throughout the years and this was yet another that I really enjoyed. (I still remember when she handed me a little book with a yellow cover - Raise High the Roofbeam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction by J.D. Salinger - in a faraway land telling me, "I think you'll like it." It immediately became and has stayed my favorite for the past fifteen years.) This book contains page after page of stories of books gifted or left behind or loaned. I loved reading it - I wrote down books I would like to read and will certainly remember some of the stories (some happy, some sad) for a long time. Like so many of the contributors, books provide a certain backdrop for my life; I really believe books can be read at the exact right time and that you can learn a lot about a person through the books they love (or, in this case, gift). I can't believe that I had never heard of the Tumblr The books They Gave me (http://thebookstheygaveme.tumblr.com/), but you can be certain that it is now bookmarked on my computer. (Of course, many thanks to my friend for gifting this to me. I already look forward to the many other books I'm sure you will share with me.)

  3. 5 out of 5

    Carol

    Quirky spit of a book that I picked up on the title alone at a great indie bookstore, Bartleby's Books in Vermont. This is one of those books that began as a blog and somehow found it's way to bookshelves. Jen Adams collected hundreds of stories of the origin of the gift of a book. Some are funny, some heartbreaking and frankly, some I didn't get at all. Taken alone as snapshot essays, with author, title, you might find some new books to read here. I don't think that is the author's intent however Quirky spit of a book that I picked up on the title alone at a great indie bookstore, Bartleby's Books in Vermont. This is one of those books that began as a blog and somehow found it's way to bookshelves. Jen Adams collected hundreds of stories of the origin of the gift of a book. Some are funny, some heartbreaking and frankly, some I didn't get at all. Taken alone as snapshot essays, with author, title, you might find some new books to read here. I don't think that is the author's intent however. As she gathered and bound the answers she received I really can't fault her for the content. I'm just not certain the results are important enough to warrant a print edition.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jackie

    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 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.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    This is such a wonderful gift for bibliophiles, a chronicle of books people have been given: some are funny, some are poignant, and some are sad, but all will resonate with the reader. Plus each account has a picture of the book described, a nice touch. I loved it!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Corey

    Some of these were nice. Most were ridiculous. I think I rolled my eyes about 200 times.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Peter Geyer

    In my adult life, only one person has ever given me a book; it was different when young, as books are routinely given by parents and occasional others for birthdays etc. and then there are the compulsory texts for schooling. I've speculated about this, because I love reading, but my love is non-fiction – history, politics, ideas, psychology etc., possibly due to a negative school experience with the titles set there, but also a desire to find out. As a writer, I tread the same path and was astoun In my adult life, only one person has ever given me a book; it was different when young, as books are routinely given by parents and occasional others for birthdays etc. and then there are the compulsory texts for schooling. I've speculated about this, because I love reading, but my love is non-fiction – history, politics, ideas, psychology etc., possibly due to a negative school experience with the titles set there, but also a desire to find out. As a writer, I tread the same path and was astounded a few years ago when a colleague in my area told me that she only read novels, which made me think twice, again, about the knowledge and theory that were underpinning her work. Anyway, the book I was given wasn't one I would have chosen off the shelf, but the giver thought I would find it interesting, and she was right; I enjoyed it very much. This could be one of the stories in the compilation of book gift giving (and associated minefields) put together by Jen Adams and I only bought it because of the combination of price and musing about my singular experience. I thought it would be interesting to read these stories and see similarities and differences. The stories were also brief and suited my tendency to read different things in different places and different times. The overwhelming theme here is relationship: the desire for someone else to like what you like (an attitude I used to take regarding music, and possibly still hold, in a more nuanced way – hopefully, anyway); those who give you a book but don't read themselves; the poor choices and those spot-on; the ones never read, for reasons ranging from lack of interest, to a memory of some kind. There are some pretty sharp judgements, from both contributors and the other party. I hadn't heard of many of the books – most, probably – and there were a small number I'd read. It was interesting what contributors liked to read, with some interesting fantasies attached. The sample was drawn from online submissions and there's the usual biases from that, as well as North American presumptions about culture and society. I enjoyed it, anyway, and it fitted the bill for what I wanted from it; I'm now going to hand it on to someone who currently plays a role in distributing books I've read (or not completed) that might be of interest to other people, none of whom I think I know. I hope it is enjoyable for someone, anyway, and I prefer to give without any implications of a quid-pro-quo, a desire articulated by more than a few contributors

  8. 5 out of 5

    Liviania

    Every year lists are published informing people which books they should buy for the readers in their lives. Inevitably, these lists are clueless. "If your daughter likes to read, give her THE HUNGER GAMES!" they say, as if anyone who reads young adult novels hasn't already read THE HUNGER GAMES or made a conscious decision not to. And no, the reader in your life does not want a journal. Everybody and their dog has given them a journal as a gift. Just stop. What you should buy for the reader in y Every year lists are published informing people which books they should buy for the readers in their lives. Inevitably, these lists are clueless. "If your daughter likes to read, give her THE HUNGER GAMES!" they say, as if anyone who reads young adult novels hasn't already read THE HUNGER GAMES or made a conscious decision not to. And no, the reader in your life does not want a journal. Everybody and their dog has given them a journal as a gift. Just stop. What you should buy for the reader in your life is THE BOOKS THEY GAVE ME. THE BOOKS THEY GAVE ME: True Stories of Life and Love collects 200 stories originally posted at TheBooksTheyGaveMe.com. It's exactly what it sounds like. People share the stories of books they were given as gifts by lovers, relatives, and friends. Sometimes the book brings about an epiphany. Sometimes it is loved; other times hated; sometimes left unread. Each vignette is an intimate peek into a relationship. I meant to only read a few stories at a time, but once I started it was hard to stop. THE BOOKS THEY GAVE ME showcases the many ways a book can affect someone's life. And you never know which stories will end happily, sadly, or somewhere in between. Sometimes you might take sides between the receiver and the giver. But the stories never start to sound the same. THE BOOKS THEY GAVE ME is a great gift for someone else. But if you love books, it might be a good gift to buy yourself. At the very least peruse Jen Adams' tumblr (linked above) to get a taste of the wonderful stories she's collected.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    MY THOUGHTS ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT 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 MY THOUGHTS ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT 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.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Book Him Danno

    This is a book about books. Books that people have been given and how their lives were changed or touched by these books. I enjoyed reading about the different books, especially the ones I had read and how they affected their lives. I was given the book, Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein, when I was younger by my Aunt Pat. I loved that book and read it every night until I had every poem there memorized. This book really opened my eyes to the funny things that people say, do and other pe This is a book about books. Books that people have been given and how their lives were changed or touched by these books. I enjoyed reading about the different books, especially the ones I had read and how they affected their lives. I was given the book, Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein, when I was younger by my Aunt Pat. I loved that book and read it every night until I had every poem there memorized. This book really opened my eyes to the funny things that people say, do and other peoples imagination. I read and I laughed and I loved that book and the others that followed it. What a wonderful gift that I have now given to my children to enjoy. I love books because they are gifts that keep giving…year after year after year. This book reminds me of the Post Secret Series of books, which I love. This is a book about books that anyone who reads and enjoys the written word will also love. I may not have agreed with everyone’s ideas of why the books were important, but I respect their opinions and enjoyed the insight it gave me into those books, even the ones I have read.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    Ahhh, books about books...Just picked this little book up at the Library and devoured it in an hour. I found the glimpses into the lives of these people and the books they love, or hate, fascinating. All the books were given as gifts, mostly from significant others or family and came to define a moment in time for the recipient. Some were funny, others touching, almost all were interesting for one reason or another. Other than the voyeuristic quality of the book, I enjoyed that I got a few more Ahhh, books about books...Just picked this little book up at the Library and devoured it in an hour. I found the glimpses into the lives of these people and the books they love, or hate, fascinating. All the books were given as gifts, mostly from significant others or family and came to define a moment in time for the recipient. Some were funny, others touching, almost all were interesting for one reason or another. Other than the voyeuristic quality of the book, I enjoyed that I got a few more titles to add to my "to read" section, which is always entertainingly and infuriatingly longer than my "read" section (as it should be I suppose). And if you are like me and have never found a mate who adores reading as much as you, you may find yourself growing jealous of some of these stories. The only person who ever picks out the perfect books for me (or any books at all for that matter) is my dad. Maybe when it finally happens I'll know I'm on to something...oh but enough about my love life already! This book makes for a fun and quick read and would make a great gift for bookworms.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    I picked this book off the " new reads" section at the library. It is a fast read because it is a compilation of some blog where readers wrote about books they had been given. It was a good end of year book, because it gave me some ideas for books to try in 2013 as well as made me think back on past books I have enjoyed. I especially liked one response to the book "The Silmarillion" by Tolkien when the reader said, "It occupied me for a month or so. It gave me things to think about, as it had my I picked this book off the " new reads" section at the library. It is a fast read because it is a compilation of some blog where readers wrote about books they had been given. It was a good end of year book, because it gave me some ideas for books to try in 2013 as well as made me think back on past books I have enjoyed. I especially liked one response to the book "The Silmarillion" by Tolkien when the reader said, "It occupied me for a month or so. It gave me things to think about, as it had my father. That is the gift all books give." While I won't be trying "Silmarillion" anytime soon, maybe 2013 will be the year I break into 30 books. That way I will have more chances to experience the gift of ideas from reading.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Robyn

    I struggled with how to rate this book. It's probably more of a 3.5, but it's not a 4--hence my rating (since Goodreads doesn't allow half ratings). Reading other people's stories of how they received books from others, I was intrigued about not just the meanings behind the gifts, but how the recipients viewed their gifts. I was hoping that, being the reader I am, that I might get a new book idea or two. Sadly, of all the books listed, only 1 perked my interest. (For the record, I've only read 26 I struggled with how to rate this book. It's probably more of a 3.5, but it's not a 4--hence my rating (since Goodreads doesn't allow half ratings). Reading other people's stories of how they received books from others, I was intrigued about not just the meanings behind the gifts, but how the recipients viewed their gifts. I was hoping that, being the reader I am, that I might get a new book idea or two. Sadly, of all the books listed, only 1 perked my interest. (For the record, I've only read 26 of the books mentioned). There were a few mentioned I've tried to read (and couldn't finish). Some of the stories were interesting, some funny--but after a while I got a little bored.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Videoclimber(AKA)MTsLilSis

    A collection of short quips about stories that were given to the authors. The reasons they liked or didn't like the stories given to them are at times hilarious, and at times heartbreaking. I thought that Jen Adams introduction was wonderful and I would like to read more by her. She certainly has a grip on what it means to be a fan of books. I could never have stated my love of books as well as she did. She said everything I would want to say if I could use my words as well as Ms. Adams obviousl A collection of short quips about stories that were given to the authors. The reasons they liked or didn't like the stories given to them are at times hilarious, and at times heartbreaking. I thought that Jen Adams introduction was wonderful and I would like to read more by her. She certainly has a grip on what it means to be a fan of books. I could never have stated my love of books as well as she did. She said everything I would want to say if I could use my words as well as Ms. Adams obviously can. I also found several books included that I would like to read and some that I had never heard of.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Pat

    Delightful book given to me by my "bestest" reading buddy, made it a delightful "read" for me. Again, a completely different format for me, it was written in blog form, short descriptions of books given to different readers at different times in their lives and why the books are still on their shelves. I was amazed at how many of the books were given by readers who had received the books from past loves; lots of broken relationships with books that keep the memories alive. I will have this on my Delightful book given to me by my "bestest" reading buddy, made it a delightful "read" for me. Again, a completely different format for me, it was written in blog form, short descriptions of books given to different readers at different times in their lives and why the books are still on their shelves. I was amazed at how many of the books were given by readers who had received the books from past loves; lots of broken relationships with books that keep the memories alive. I will have this on my shelves from now on to remind me of the beautiful reading relationship that Judy and I have!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Alice

    I really wanted to love this book. What could be better than stories about books? Alas, I was disappointed. The selection of essays was repetitive. Too many, IMHO, were from lovers no longer loved; too many involved romances that went sour. It seemed to be one broken heart or man "who done her wrong" after another. The few essays describing books from parent to child, dear friend to dear friend, or beloved teacher to pupil were too few. I love the concept, and perhaps the next edition will have I really wanted to love this book. What could be better than stories about books? Alas, I was disappointed. The selection of essays was repetitive. Too many, IMHO, were from lovers no longer loved; too many involved romances that went sour. It seemed to be one broken heart or man "who done her wrong" after another. The few essays describing books from parent to child, dear friend to dear friend, or beloved teacher to pupil were too few. I love the concept, and perhaps the next edition will have more variety.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    The worst part about this book is how great the premise is. I liked maybe about a quarter of the stories, hence the additional star. But the rest of the vignettes were so packed with obnoxious cliches and literary smugness, I was just glad to be done with it.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Karl

    A random person gave me a book because we were in love, but then we weren't and I should have realized it because the book they chose sucked. Sorry, I found this book to be rather useless drivel. A random person gave me a book because we were in love, but then we weren't and I should have realized it because the book they chose sucked. Sorry, I found this book to be rather useless drivel.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Aminah Hanan

    A book about the books that impacted readers lives, a book like this can do wrong. Great read.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    I loved the idea for this book, but the essays were strangely uninteresting.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Amanda Lasen

    Really boring. It did not inspire me to read any of the books it featured and I found the stories to be really uninteresting.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Lori

    Can we please stop turning cute blog ideas into books?

  23. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    I really enjoyed this book! It was one of those that had me making notes in the margins and underlining passages. It was easy to put down and come back to. It made me laugh and think and re-read sections. I am a bibliophile with a whole wall of old books and a hundred more on my kindle and this book made me really think about the books that I have kept and why I have kept them. And the books that I have given and why I have given them. I even quizzed my husband to see if he could answer question I really enjoyed this book! It was one of those that had me making notes in the margins and underlining passages. It was easy to put down and come back to. It made me laugh and think and re-read sections. I am a bibliophile with a whole wall of old books and a hundred more on my kindle and this book made me really think about the books that I have kept and why I have kept them. And the books that I have given and why I have given them. I even quizzed my husband to see if he could answer questions about my books beyond the fact that I always put bookstores on our travel itinerary. For the record, he has never bought me a book but he never grumbles about my bringing a dozen home or spending hours of his life following me around old bookstores. So in the end I loved this book and would have added it to my shelf, except I felt like it needed to be out in the world for other people to enjoy, so I sold it to a used bookstore and immediately regretted it and went back for it, but it was gone. So I bought another copy and gave it to one of my fellow bibliophiles. Seemed fitting.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Elliot Chalom

    For two years this book has been sitting on my desk, and I'd pick it up and read a few entries, only to put it down after remembering why I don't enjoy it at all. The promise of this book - a mixtape of stories behind books given and received - is so high that maybe my expectations are off. It's why I kept trying over and over again. I expected stories that inspire and amuse, and book recommendations that would have me going back and adding to my goodreads list over and over again. Instead we ge For two years this book has been sitting on my desk, and I'd pick it up and read a few entries, only to put it down after remembering why I don't enjoy it at all. The promise of this book - a mixtape of stories behind books given and received - is so high that maybe my expectations are off. It's why I kept trying over and over again. I expected stories that inspire and amuse, and book recommendations that would have me going back and adding to my goodreads list over and over again. Instead we get page after page of entries that read something like this: "He gave me this book on our third date. I don't know why he did. We broke up one week later as both he and this book were pretty boring and not my type. I don't know where he is today and the book is somewhere in a box in my parents' basement." So, ummm ... yeah. To be fair, there were a few stories that left me wanting to know a lot more about the book, the giver, the receiver ... everything. Very few. If only these could have been 10 times longer and the filler eliminated. Oh well.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Sandy

    I found this book at a library and bought it for $1. I wish I could have my dollar back. The premise of this book is great. Many of the stories were just not for me. I appreciated seeing many new books that I may want to read but on further research there is not a one that I would read. Too many of the stories had to do with break-ups. Just didn't seem real to me. I found this book at a library and bought it for $1. I wish I could have my dollar back. The premise of this book is great. Many of the stories were just not for me. I appreciated seeing many new books that I may want to read but on further research there is not a one that I would read. Too many of the stories had to do with break-ups. Just didn't seem real to me.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Donna

    Short clips of books people received that made an impression This was a nice book to read in spurts. Many of the stories involved a romantic relationship - some fell apart, some stayed together, some never really got started. It's reassuring in a strange way to realize that other people can be so strongly affected by a single small event such as receiving a book. Short clips of books people received that made an impression This was a nice book to read in spurts. Many of the stories involved a romantic relationship - some fell apart, some stayed together, some never really got started. It's reassuring in a strange way to realize that other people can be so strongly affected by a single small event such as receiving a book.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    Wonderful! This is a similar set up to "Post Secret" or "Humans of New York" in that it tells snippets of people's life stories in a meaningful and engaging way. it's great as a read through or coffee table book. Wonderful! This is a similar set up to "Post Secret" or "Humans of New York" in that it tells snippets of people's life stories in a meaningful and engaging way. it's great as a read through or coffee table book.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    People who appreciate books are my kind of people. That's probably one of the major reasons I enjoyed it so much. The Books They Gave Me is also very insightful and contains so much truth-you can tell a lot about a person based on what they read. People who appreciate books are my kind of people. That's probably one of the major reasons I enjoyed it so much. The Books They Gave Me is also very insightful and contains so much truth-you can tell a lot about a person based on what they read.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Hawley

    A lovely collection of memories tied to specific book titles. I love the classic edition cover art included with each memory. Collecting books, collecting memories, are they not similar?

  30. 4 out of 5

    Miriam Downey

    Read my full review here: http://mimi-cyberlibrarian.blogspot.c... Last month I had a significant birthday. Several people gave me books as presents. My long time friend gave me Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight for me to review. A book-selling sister-in-law gave me The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce, and a soul friend gave me The Healing Power of the Sacred Woman by Christine Page for my spiritual journey. My sister gave me I'm Too Young to Be Seventy by Judith Viors Read my full review here: http://mimi-cyberlibrarian.blogspot.c... Last month I had a significant birthday. Several people gave me books as presents. My long time friend gave me Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight for me to review. A book-selling sister-in-law gave me The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce, and a soul friend gave me The Healing Power of the Sacred Woman by Christine Page for my spiritual journey. My sister gave me I'm Too Young to Be Seventy by Judith Viorst. These are people who know me well. The sweet little The Books They Gave Me is a compendium of very short essays gleaned from Jen Adams' blog of the same name. Each essay tells the story of a book--a gift book--given thoughtfully or carelessly. Given with great love or no love. Given to educate or given to heal. There are essays about every type of book imaginable, and not surprisingly, I had read many of them. Some of the essays are inspirational, and some are comforting. Many are about lost loves but there are also essays about love discovered because of the sharing of a book. As I read the blog entries, I thought about the books that I have given and the books that I have received. I remember giving The Complete Works of Edgar Allen Poe to my first real boyfriend. I remembered a book of meditations called Creative Brooding by Robert Raines that I gave to my husband Lee to share before we were married. Then I remembered a book that I was reading shortly after I married Thell. It was a series of essays about reading, and it was very funny. (Can't remember the name now.) Thell asked me why I was laughing, and I said, "Want to hear it?" That moment began one of our most treasured gifts to each other. We take turns reading aloud every day. It generally takes us a couple of months to get through a book, and we have read dozens of books--everything from novels to biographies to science. Right now we are reading The Infinite Resource by Ramez Naam, which is a book about innovation. We just finished Healing the Heart of Democracy by Parker Palmer, which I will blog about tomorrow. In Adam's little book, we see the power of the gift of a book. The Books They Gave Me would be a delightful gift book for a graduate or a bibliophile. Here is an interview with Jen Adams about her book: http://bookriot.com/2012/12/13/5-ques... Here is her blog: http://thebookstheygaveme.tumblr.com

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