November 10, 2012

Review: The Books They Game Me: True Stories of Life and Love

The Books They Gave Me By Jen Adams
Available now from Free Press (Simon & Schuster)
Review copy

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  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.


  1. Sounds really good, loving the idea of a book that uses something so universal. In fact it sounds the sort of book that would make a fun alternative to the usual book present. Going to have a read of the site.

  2. Oh, I love this idea! Definitely great for a book lover that isn't your typical option. Gonna add this to my wish-list.



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