"The Books They Gave Me: True Stories of Life,Love and Lit" by Jen Adams
This book is based off of a popular website called The Books They Gave Me. On the website (and the contents of the book) people send in short explanations of the books that they have been gifted by others and what they meant to the recipients. As I read the first couple of short essays (almost none of them are longer than a standard one sided book page) I was surprised by how much people read into books that they recover as gifts. There were several stories that had variety of the same themes: boy has an absolute favorite book that speaks to his dearest soul, gives a copy to his girlfriend,she reads it and feels no connection at all, realizes that maybe they aren't really supposed to be together.
Maybe I think it's putting a lot of stock into a present because I've never gotten a book as a present from a significant other. My husband now (a non-reader extraordinaire) knows better than to try to gift me a book but knows that a gift certificate to Half Price Books are always welcome. For me personally I think that the books you own are very indicative of who and what you are. When you read a persons book spines you get a little bit in their soul. But I'm just a book romantic.
I liked this book, the short little essays make for an easy and no pressure read. I feel like a fair amount of them were sad but there were some happy uplifting ones too. I give it 3 out of 5 stars.
Oddly enough I think this book would be a great present for the book lover in your life.
"The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap: A Memoir of Friendship, Community, and the Uncommon Pleasures of a Good Book" by Wendy Welch
A middle aged couple hit a midlife crisis and decide to get out of the corporate rat race. They both have had a "some day" dream of opening a used book store but neither have any retail experience. (They are kind of vague on what they actually do. The Scottish born husband seems to be a singer/Scotland tour guide and interior decorator while she has a doctorate in some kind of language study thing? They pretty much are crunchy granola, cat people for sure...)
They stumble upon a rambling shabby Victorian house in a small town suffering from bled dry coal mines. They decide, well hell lets do this bookstore thing. And they do. They have no plan, almost no money and nearly no inventory. They eventually get the shop up and running and the book is filled with their struggles to run the store, stories about their customers and life in their small town.
I know this sounds bitter and petty and bitchy (bitetchy? there needs to be a word for that) but I'm a little bit irritated that they actually succeed. They had no plan AT ALL, and are like we'll let's just have a go at it. I guess that just annoys my sense of fair play. Also theres talk of their sex lives and random dalliances they have in the bookshop. TMI.I gave it a 2.5 out of 5 stars.The writing style wasn't my favorite, a little overly self righteous but I liked some of the stories about their interactions with others.