Seven books and a guessing game


Eons ago–August 2014 to be exact–Simon Savidge visited Washington, DC after attending Booktopia in Asheville, North Carolina. We had plans to record lots of episodes of The Readers while he was in town so that we could have some back-up episodes for when we didn’t have time to record. Well you know what they say about the best laid plans:
“Simon ignores them and runs around Washington instead.” It’s an oddly specific bit of folk wisdom that seems to be entirely true.

One of the episodes we were going to record then was to choose seven books that each of us wanted the other one to read. Not necessarily our favorite books, but books we thought the other one would enjoy but probably not pick up on his own. (I think the initial thought was five books, but then I wanted to do 10 so we had to split the difference.)

Well, we finally got around to recording the episode about 18 months later and it went live recently. Before it was recorded I wanted to do something nice for two women who had done something very nice for me and who are listeners of The Readers, so I sent them each a copy of my seven books. I wrapped up each book and affixed book-specific labels that gave clues to the contents of each package.

High on my list of things I love to do is wrap gifts. Especially firm, rectangular gifts. Such a joy.

See if you can match the books with the labels.IMG_5173 IMG_5180 IMG_5178 IMG_5176IMG_5168 - Copy IMG_5163 - CopyIMG_5158 - Copy

IMG_5152 IMG_5151IMG_5139

22 thoughts on “Seven books and a guessing game

  1. Geoff W January 8, 2016 / 12:49 pm

    You should just start your business now. Put these on Etsy as is without the titles and I’m sure people would buy them.


    • Thomas January 9, 2016 / 7:56 am

      It would be kind of fun to do that. My only problem is I hate shipping/mailing things. It is just inconvenient enough that I avoid it whenever possible.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Heather January 8, 2016 / 1:04 pm

    I love this idea! How wonderful!


  3. Jessica @ Like Bears to Honey January 8, 2016 / 1:19 pm

    This is so great! What a lovely and thoughtful gift! I am a bit embarrassed to say that I’ve never heard of any of these books before, so I’ll definitely have to do some investigating and listen to your most recent episode! I’ll have to convince some of my friends to do this with me!


    • Thomas January 9, 2016 / 7:59 am

      I like introducing people to old books they haven’t heard of. Even more so when they actually read one and enjoy it. Good news is most should be available at the library, at least in the US. Although I can imagine As We are Now being hardish to track down.


  4. BookerTalk January 8, 2016 / 3:57 pm

    What a thoughtful idea. I bet those two lucky people were thrilled to get such a surprise. As t o your quiz. Can name just one I’m afraid. The first title is On the Black Hill by Bruce Chatwin.. I tripped on the treadmill hearing you mention it on the podcast because it’s so rarely talked about. Not only is this a super book but it’s set in an area just 50 miles from my home so I know those hills and Hay very well.


    • Thomas January 9, 2016 / 8:01 am

      Be careful on the treadmill, but I am glad I surprised you. I had never heard of OTBH when a friend gave me a very nice hardcover about 5 years ago. I’m a little shocked it isn’t talked about more. I read a two other novels by Chatwin, but they didn’t grip me as much as this one.


      • BookerTalk January 9, 2016 / 11:59 am

        I read a few of his other works but had the same reaction


  5. Ruthiella January 8, 2016 / 8:22 pm

    What a great idea! I am sure the recipients will be delighted!

    I guessed Maurice and Ship of Fools before I saw that you actually show all the books in the two bottom photos. However my guesses for the rest of the books were totally wrong. I had The Vanishing of Esme Lennox (rest home) and The Haunting of Hill House (horror). I wouldn’t have thought to describe Deliverance as a horror novel. But damn, it is a good book and a total page turner.


    • Thomas January 9, 2016 / 8:03 am

      Oh, I love Esme Lennox and just about everything O’Farrell has written. I understand why you don’t think of Deliverance as horror, but for me things that could actually happen are much more horrifying than things that can’t.


  6. Karen K. January 8, 2016 / 8:44 pm

    I only got Ship of Fools, which I have checked out from the library at least three times based on your review and still haven’t read. 2016 will DEFINITELY be the year I read it, I swear!


    • Thomas January 9, 2016 / 8:05 am

      Karen, do we know each other on Twitter? I thanked my top 5 commenters for 2015 (of which you are one) on Twitter, but I didn’t know if you were on Twitter. At any rate thanks for all your comments.


  7. Muscato January 8, 2016 / 9:19 pm

    I’m so pleased even to have gotten three – Maurice, Ship of Fools, and An American Tragedy. Oddly, I saw the film version of each before reading the book, and then didn’t get the one that you clued from the film.

    I feel as if Ship of Fools is terribly unfashionable now, but it’s a novel I love dearly – pitiless in some ways, but so wise.


    • Thomas January 9, 2016 / 8:06 am

      I like reading stuff that is so unfashionable that it becomes fashionable.


  8. Michelle Ann January 9, 2016 / 4:26 am

    Could you please list the books Thomas? I think they sound intriguing, but cannot see all the titles in the photos. Thanks.


    • Thomas January 9, 2016 / 8:07 am

      If you follow the “it went live” link to The Readers episode, you can see the list.


  9. quinn January 9, 2016 / 7:28 am

    geez..i must love your blog..i got 4 1/2 (i doubledback on ‘Deliverence’)…and i have all 4 of those bks based on your recommendations which have always been on the mark for me.
    Most fabulous gifts..thanks for sharing w/ us…yes etsy would work and most fun game.
    happy new year.


    • Thomas January 9, 2016 / 8:08 am

      Now the question is whether you have read any of them yet.


  10. Frances Evangelista (@nonsuchbook) January 9, 2016 / 1:25 pm

    I’ve read them all except for On the Black Hill so obviously that was matched up last. This is a lovely and typically considerate idea of yours. To me, the presentation of gifts is often as important as the gift itself but is sometimes the last thing we think of when rushing about. Well done. I’m sure your thoughtfulness was appreciated.


  11. nerdybookgirl January 9, 2016 / 8:51 pm

    I love this! I haven’t read most of these books. Adding them to my TBR pile!


  12. Susan in TX January 10, 2016 / 5:14 pm

    Such a cool idea. Makes me want to wrap my kids’ future book gifts like that with just a little teaser on the outside. I have Martin Eden on my stack to read this month. I bought it three years ago after you had blogged about it, but THIS is the month I’m finally going to read it. (Sorry for the all caps – I don’t know how/if it’s possible to italicize or underline in these comment boxes.)


  13. Louise January 14, 2016 / 10:10 am

    What a great idea! I really like Jack London, so i’ve added Martin Eden to my to read list :-)


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