Relationships

A Date Idea for Book Lovers

A Date Idea for Book Lovers

Last year, a reader named Anne shared a great idea: “My fiancé and I have a Valentine’s Day tradition, where we pick out a book for each other.” How sweet is that? So, Alex and I recently decided to head to our neighborhood bookstore

bookstore date idea

Usually, I’m in my own world in a bookstore — running my hands over the spines, getting lost in the memoir section, seeing if there’s anything about the Titanic for the boys — so it felt surprisingly romantic to be concentrating so wholeheartedly on Alex.

bookstore date idea

I first thought of Enlightenment Now. I know Alex loves Steven Pinker, a Harvard professor, who writes provocative, insightful books about psychology and popular science.

bookstore date idea

But! Then I spotted I Am Brian Wilson. Luckily, Alex was psyched. “I’m a huge Beach Boys fan but I hadn’t heard of this,” he said. That’s another reason why bookstores are so great — that element of serendipity.

bookstore date idea

For me, he chose All You Can Ever Know, a memoir by Nicole Chung. (Have you read it?) Born premature, Chung was placed for adoption by her Korean parents and raised by a white family in a small Oregon town. But as she grew up — facing prejudice, finding her identity as an Asian American writer — she yearned to find the truth about her past. I’m always hungry for memoirs by women, and this one was named Best Book of the Year by The Washington Post, NPR, Time, Buzzfeed and many others. (Well done, Alex:)

bookstore date idea

Afterward, we went out for cheesy pasta and talked about all things bookish. It was a really fun, intimate night. As Alex said, “On a cold winter day, there’s nothing like walking into a warm bookstore with glowing lights and friendly faces.” Thank you so much for the idea, Anne! xoxo

What have you been reading lately? Any recommendations?

P.S. Hosting an articles club, and how to keep the sparks flying.

(Photos taken at Books Are Magic.)

  1. Sarah Carter says...

    My parents typically buy each other books for Christmas and their birthdays (which are just 5 days apart). Often enough… like at least 7 times… they have bought each other the same book! They joke that after 41 years of marriage they truly are one unit.

  2. I got my hands on an ARC of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s “Daisy Jones and The Six” and it was SO good. It releases on 3/6 and I think it’s going to blow so many people away!

  3. northernPhD says...

    As a psychologist and a feminist it is always disappointing to see folks fall into the Pinker trap. I would recommend staying far far away from his pop psychology and bad history. Pinker, like a certain strand of (white, male) pop psychologist, is an apologist for brash conservativism and barely one step removed from MRAs, white nationalists and the like. The misogyny (and trans phobia and racism and and and) is also rampant in his public discourse. But, of course, this is presented as “objective” “science” untainted by politics (unlike his biased opponents).

    Here is one of many take down’s of Enlightenment: https://www.the-tls.co.uk/articles/public/comfort-history-enlightenment-now/

    There is no shortage of better things to read.

    • Mia says...

      100% agree! My heart sinks every time I see his name pop up in forums like these.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, i had no idea! going to read more about this.

    • Linda Henderson says...

      Thanks for the heads up. Will avoid.

  4. Mari says...

    Right on our block, there’s this cult movie theatre with an amazing bookstore inside. We always arrive much early for our movies so we can spend some time in the bookstore. We love to read back covers to each other and discuss whatever is new. It’s way more expensive than Amazon, but we always make sure to purchase there whatever it is that we like… Simply because that place must continue to exist. We have such nice moments together there. Sometimes, my husband is standing there, reading a book and I’m always “He’s just so handsome *sigh*”. Makes me fall in love with him again every damn time.

  5. Jara says...

    In Catalonia (Spain), the equivalent of Valentine’s day is celebrated on the 23 of April, which we call Sant Jordi’s day, and the tradition is that the man gifts a rose to his partner and the woman gifts him a book. Nowadays, in most couples the man also gifts a book to the wife/girlfriend in addition to the rose. Also, within families it is usual that parents gift books to their children. That day, the squares and streets are filled with stalls selling books and roses and everyone waking around looking for books and roses. As a book lover it is one of my favourite days of the year :)

  6. Mimi says...

    I love this! One of my favorite dates long ago was going to the children’s section of a bookstore, finding a cozy nook to sit on the floor, and reading excerpts from Shel Silverstein books. The whole day was playfully magic from that point forward. Inner-child awoke..

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that’s so charming, mimi!

  7. Terry says...

    It was so fun to read all the comments! Reading is like nothing else, and it’s wonderful to hear what is moving for people. I work in a library, yet. I can’t pass by a bookstore without going in!

  8. Jenna says...

    Gosh this is the BEST idea!! Can’t wait to institute it!

  9. Aga says...

    Love this idea! And I would get Alex anything by any of the dozens of thinkers and academics who have debunked Pinker.

  10. More than once, Mr. Sandwich and I have used our respite time to visit an incredible used bookstore that is not too far away. We haven’t picked out books for each other, though–what a nice idea!

  11. Rachel Simmons says...

    What a grand idea.

  12. Hayley says...

    I love this idea- I work in a bookstore and love people’s thought processes when picking out books for their loved ones.

    All You Can Ever Know is fantastic- one of my favorites of the year!

  13. Michelle Jacques says...

    I’ve just finished Diary of a bookseller by Shaun Bythell – a funny inside look at what it’s like to run the 2nd largest bookstore in Scotland. Shaun also has a popular Facebook page where he captures the crazy comments he gets from customers https://m.facebook.com/thebookshopwigtown/

  14. CC says...

    Perfect choice. I just finished All You Can Ever Know and loved it. I really enjoy books that cause me to step back and reflect on my own assumptions (feelings/perspective/beliefs), and Nicole Chung’s memoir did exactly that. She is courageous and inspiring.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i’m so glad to hear that!

  15. Amanda says...

    “Chung was placed for adoption…”

    Thank you for being thoughtful about your wording and speaking about adoption in a positive light.

    XO

  16. Ruth Roberts says...

    There is nothing better than being in bed with a good book or someone who has read one.
    Rod McKuen

  17. Anastasia Kipreos says...

    Sounds like a great idea…thanks for sharing!

  18. Jen says...

    Woot we are going to do that tonight!!!! I love the idea. You two look so happy 🥰

    • Aww, what a lovely date night! Theres a gut I’m seeing and he wants to know where I like to go so maybe I will siggest something like this to him. Maybe for my 30th birthday which is a month and a half away.

  19. Katie Peshek says...

    If you enjoy powerful memoirs by female writers – I highly recommend Rabbit: The Autobiography of Ms. Pat by Patricia Williams. Wow, it was incredible.

    • wendy says...

      I agree! I could not put this book down!

  20. Claire says...

    The Current, by Tim Johnston. Good grief- the writing is excellent.

  21. G says...

    My partner and I have great habit of doing this!! Most recent gift from me was ‘Come Let Us Sing Anyway’ by Leone Ross after it instantly became one of the most important books I’d ever read when I read it last year. Some hilarious, some trippy, some erotic, one the completely devastating. Anyway, so far it’s going down vvv well.

    For valentine’s we don’t usually do much but If Beale Street Could Talk came out today here in the UK so we rather decadently cleared the day and went to the pictures in the middle of the afternoon. We had the showing to ourselves. I adore James Baldwin so was brimming with emotion for the whole thing.

    • nadine says...

      Oh!! I saw If Beale Street Could Talk last year during the Toronto Film Festival. It’s a beautiful film, I’ve rarely seen love depicted in such a real and sweet way.. Now I’m going to check your book rec. Thanks G!

  22. Emily crowder says...

    Joanna! My partner and I had a friend babysit last night and went to a local bookstore to do this! We ended up going to the liquor store nearby and picking out beers for each other too, and then went home to try them, and the whole night was so fun :)

    PS as a result, I’m about to read my first Agatha Christie, and he’s got Jeff Tweedy’s memoir

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      what a sweet addition with the beers!!!

    • Bonnie says...

      Oh, enjoy Agatha, Emily! I immediately started wondering which one he chose for you … Hmmm…Murder on the Orient Express? … And Then There Were None? … whichever one it is, I hope you enjoy it. What a great evening with the addition of picking up some different beers as well!

  23. Emily L says...

    My husband isn’t a big reader, so definitely going to do this at a record store!

  24. CHRISTINA says...

    That reminds me — when you had a stoop sale a million years ago (like, maybe ten years ago!) and I bought a bunch of Alex’s old books. He told me all about each one, too HAHAHA

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      omg hahaha that’s so funny! what a blast from the past.

  25. Sara says...

    Oh my goodness, I love this! My boyfriend and I are taking a little trip to a nearby town this weekend, mostly for their bookstore, which doubles as a movie theatre! Definitely going to add this to our afternoon :)

  26. steph says...

    As a book lover I love this! More so that it came from a reader.

    Have you ever done a reader survey then posted the results? I’d love to know the age range, the single vs married, kids vs no kids, what state/country we are in. I love details! :)

  27. b says...

    What a fabulous idea. I’d love to do this with my parents and see what they’d pick for me. I love going to a bookstore and just browsing, especially in sections I don’t normally go for, like history, politics, nature, although I’ve been going for history and politics a lot more often in the last year or so.

  28. Anne says...

    Does this mean I’m famous? Because I FEEL FAMOUS!!

    • Jen says...

      Definitely! So thrilled for you! <3

    • G says...

      YES YOU ARE

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      hahahaha! THANK YOU, ANNE!!!!!

    • Laura says...

      I would feel the same way! #internetfamous #autograph

    • SarahD. says...

      I just read the comments to see if Valentine’s Book Anne would be there and here you are! Thanks for sharing this super cute idea with the rest of us:) I hope he gets you a great read today.

    • Lindsay says...

      Absolutely!!! And this is such an amazing idea. Thanks for sharing!!

    • Judy says...

      ok, but what book did you get each other for Valentine’s Day?? Please remember me now that you’re famous!

  29. Dee says...

    I love this, you guys are so cute! You look like little book worms with your glasses. Such a great idea!

  30. Kate says...

    This sounds wonderful! Our tradition is a date at the bookstore a couple weeks before Christmas to drop hints about the books we’d like to receive. He’s getting another selection from his list tonight for Valentine’s!

  31. ss says...

    I love that you got this idea from a reader, love this community! Hat tip to Anne, great idea. Happy Valentines Day to all xoxo

  32. Jackie says...

    Where did you go for cheesy pasta? We love Gersi but are always looking for the next neighborhood fav!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      popina!

  33. Rachel says...

    Love this! In an effort to do something better at night than stare at screens we’ve been reading, and it’s strangely romantic to look across the couch and see my husband reading too. I just finished Elsey, Come Home (by a woman author!) and LOVED it.

  34. Colleen says...

    My husband and I do something kind of similar in that for every occasion (Anniversary, birthdays, Christmas) we give each other a record. Either something we already love (but don’t own on vinyl) or something we think would be fun to get into together. It’s great and a wonderful thing to do on date night in- make a fire, a nice dinner, split a bottle of wine and listen to a whole album end to end.

    • Mari says...

      Such a fun idea! And vinyl (swoon) What are your favorites?

  35. Cherie Jayabose says...

    OMG! my husband just gave me a book this morning.
    The new book from Marlon James, Black Leopard/Red Wolf, cannot wait to dig in with a lovely glass of wine :)
    Always a pleasure to be on this fabulous website.
    Happy Valentines Day to all!
    Cherie

    • b says...

      I am dying to read this, but it’s a beast and I fear I won’t finish a library copy in a timely fashion. I may need to treat myself for V-Day. I’m single, so why the heck not?

  36. AMB says...

    THANK YOU for linking to independent bookstores instead of Amazon! As a publishing nerd you don’t know how happy this makes me!

    • Rachel says...

      Agreed! I was so pleased to see that the books linked to Books Are Magic’s online shop, encouraging support of indies AND authors actually getting paid proper wages.

  37. Jill says...

    Just a thoughtful question…. would you ever do a recurring spotlight on your readers? Seriously, who are you all that I consider my friends?? Do you live near me? In such a contentious world, you all have been so very accepting and soothing for me.

  38. Justine says...

    I’m always looking for books to read on audio since I’m home all day with a baby. It is so hard to find good audio books, because the narrators are often so wooden, but I logged on to Audible and previewed the narration for Speak No Evil and it’s great! Sold. Thank you!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes, i totally agree about the narrators being so important! i loved the narration of Middlesex, and i think it’s also really fun to listen to books read by their authors — tina fey reading bossypants, ruth reichl reading her memoirs, etc. xoxoxo (congratulations on your baby!:)

    • shannon says...

      Michelle Obama narrates Becoming and it feels so intimate! Like you’re her best friend that she’s telling her deepest darkest secrets to!

    • Mylene says...

      I usually have a hard time staying engaged with audio books, but I’m in the middle of Circe now and loving it. The narrator’s voice perfectly suits the story.

    • Julie says...

      I agree, a bad narration can spoil a book. Heres a couple where I enjoyed the narrators:
      Elinor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
      The Alice Network by Kate Quinn (but then I tried to listen to another book with the same narrator and couldn’t finish it, but I think that was the books fault!)
      Most recently I listened to the newest Robert Galbraith (JK Rowling’s mystery pseudonym) and the narrator for that was pretty good, and I think he has done the previous three as well.

  39. Cuties! And Books Are Magic: Be still my heart!

  40. Mela says...

    Glad you didn’t get him Jill Abramson’s book :)

    • Stef says...

      I was thinking the same thing when I saw that first picture! I wish her book wasn’t even a part of this post.

    • b says...

      This. I’m fine with it being part of the post because sometimes sheer curiosity gets the better of us and we just have to take a peek.

  41. AnnaVera says...

    Slight side note here: Just a thought, have you read Kaspar by Michael Morpurgo with your boys. My eight- year – old loved it. Not directly about the Titanic, but a fictional story based on the cat who survived the sinking of the Titanic.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      this sounds great! i’ll check it out, thank you xx

  42. Julie says...

    That is just the BEST idea! (also, you look lovely in your glasses)

    I’m reading Packing for Mars by Mary Roach, and am about to start A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson-it’s the unofficial sequal to Life After Life, which I loved.

    • K says...

      A God in Ruins is my favorite book! I tell so many people about it but have few takers on the recommendation, so I’m so excited to see someone reading it. It’s beautiful and made me think so much about empathy and how we relate to others.

  43. Sarah says...

    When are we going to start a CoJ book club?!

    • Megan says...

      Hear hear! If anyone is in Orlando, FL and wants to join mine, just let me know!

    • Joslyn says...

      I would love to start one in LA! Anyone?

    • @Joslyn – yes to LA! I’m in!

    • Cassidy says...

      Megan, I’d love to join your Orlando area book club :)

    • Jennifer says...

      Megan and Cassidy, fellow Orlandoan here :) I’m in!

    • Megan Raitano says...

      Cassidy and Jennifer – can you email me at meganraitano@gmail.com? I’ll send you over the deets!

    • Sarah says...

      Well I’m in the DC area but hit me up if you’re interested in starting one here! Sarahandemile@gmail.com

    • Cait says...

      Sarah I’m in the DC area too and I’d love to start one with you!

    • Sarah says...

      I’m in Boston/Cambridge and would love to make this happen– is anyone interested?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      how sweet is that?? hope you guys have the best time :)

  44. So much fun! When I was a teenager I always thought I’d meet my future spouse in a bookstore. (I met him in our college cafeteria, it easily could have been the bookstore!) This year I’ve loved Becoming by Michelle Obama, The Banker’s Wife by Christina Alger, and I can’t wait to start the Alter Ego Effect by Todd Herman.

  45. What a great idea! We spend a good amount of time in bookstores, but haven’t focused specifically on finding something for the other person. I like it.
    My husband, son and I love to spend time in bookstores, especially used book stores. There’s one in Brooklyn, across from Catbird Jewelry, (from out of town and don’t remember the street) in which I found a great book on Matisse’s cutouts. I was so happy, because we had just seen the show at the MOMA.
    On a trip to CA this past fall, I had the pleasure of sharing Bart’s Books in Ojai with my husband and son. We had to stop at the post office to ship books home!
    Soon, date night at a book store!

  46. Sara says...

    I love the idea. My boyfriend and I decided to choose a book for each other for christmas, as the time before christmas was crazy and exhausting for different reasons… we ended up giving us the same book. ..a collection of Susan Sontag stories.
    I am not very good at accepting romantic moments, but I have to admit…ja, quite romantic :-)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      That is so romantic!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Wow, so interesting to see!

  47. DAMLA says...

    I love love love your book recommendations Joanna! I heavily rely on your blog posts when creating my reading list. One of my all time favourites is “My Name is Lucy Barton” which is a book I discovered thanks to you. Happy Valentine’s Day and many thanks to Alex for bringing this memoire into our radar :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      I’m so glad!!! Recently I have really enjoyed small fry and white fragility and come as you are — all very different and enlightening and good.

  48. Robin says...

    This is like the Catalan tradition of Sant Jordi/St. George’s day, where you give your beloved a book and a rose! My husband, who is Catalan, and I have chosen books for each other every year on April 23 throughout our life together. It’s also World Book Day and Shakespeare’s and Cervantes’ birthdays. Books make the best gifts, always!

    • nadine says...

      and is my birthday too!! hahah! as a book lover, who lived in Catalunya for a little bit, that’s my favorite celebration!

    • Lalit says...

      I was coming to say the same! It remind me of the Catalan tradition of Sant Jordi. April 23, Saint George, is lover’s day in Catalonia. The main streets get filled with bookshop’s and flower’s stands and people buy books and roses for the loved ones. Sisters, daughters, mothers, grandmothers, and even teachers, can receive roses to. One of the best days of the year!

  49. Jessica says...

    Joanna, it’s so lovely to see this post! It’s a wonderfully romantic idea, and thank you for highlighting your neighbourhood bookstore. Indie bookseller here, so I’m going to recommend two brilliant books that are coming later this spring: Normal People by Sally Rooney, and Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead. Normal People is an unconventional and quite profound love story; Nickel Boys is based on the true story of a reform school with dark past. Highly recommend!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      They both sound great! Thank you!

  50. Kay says...

    This is a fabulous idea. My only problem is that all of the book shops in my English city (actually all of the shops full stop except supermarkets) shut at 6pm at the latest.

  51. Emmi says...

    I love it when you do book posts! I always get so many good tips for future reads :). Sometimes on past literary threads there has been talk about a Cup of Jo group or list on goodreads.com. I’ve searched for them but haven’t had any luck. Anyone?

  52. Nigerian Girl says...

    This is a great idea. I’d like to try it with a fellow bibliophile/writer friend. Right now I’m reading A Sport and a Pastime by James Salter and I’m just transfixed by his breathtaking prose. I wholeheartedly recommend it along with:
    – Speak No Evil by Uzodinma Iweala
    – Small Fry by Lisa Brennan-Jobs
    – Adele by Leila Slimani

    • Cait says...

      YES to Speak No Evil. One of my favorite books from last year, it covers the total gamut of so many things facing our society right now AND it was super readable!

  53. Heather says...

    You guys are the cutest Joanna!

    My boyfriend and I gravitate to really different choices when it comes to books. I always seem to search out intense and heavy reads, while he prefers magic and fantasy. It would be a lot of fun to see try this out and see what we come up with for each other – and then find a cute spot for some cheesy pasta or sushi!

  54. Camille Zawojski says...

    When we we raising our 3 kids, my husband and I started “early weekend” on Thursday night’s. We would go to our local bookstore and hangout with a good cup of coffee. It was fun to look forward to and made it easier to get through another work week.

  55. Emily says...

    I had a second date like this a couple of months ago and (though the guy didn’t last for other reasons) it was EXCELLENT :) Highly recommend as a way to get to know someone new. We went to a used bookstore, which upped the serendipity factor.

  56. jeannie says...

    I am reading “The Great Believers.” It is so moving and beautifully and beautifully written. I also recently read “The Crucible” – amazing.

    • Cooper says...

      Loved the Great Believers! I read it after seeing it recommended in the comments of a previous post :) I just finished Heartland, a very interesting memoir about poverty.

    • Quinn says...

      I am reading The Great Believers right now too! It’s incredibly moving and suspenseful all at the same time.

  57. Lais says...

    This pictures just made me see it: Anton looks SO MUCH like Alex! :)

    • Miruska says...

      I just saw it too. It’s the eyes and that cool smile.

  58. Tovah says...

    My boyfriend-turned-husband and I used to do this all the time… first at Book Culture on 114th and Broadway, later at Word in Jersey City. There’s nothing like a cozy bookstore at night.

  59. Justine says...

    This is my dream date. I love memoirs by women too. This year, like everyone, I read Becoming and Educated – both so good. Currently reading Less – the writing is absolutely beautiful. I also loved I am Lucy Barton. I vividly recall reading it over the course of two summer evenings in my backyard after work, when my first son was still little and going to bed before 7:00. To your point about screen time, time to shut down and open my novel. Thanks for this post. This is a great place to come and read/talk about books.

    • Lisa says...

      I Am Lucy Barton is one of my favorite books I read last year. So good.

    • Kristen says...

      I absolutely loved every book you mentioned! We went away on a family trip last August and my daughter was embarrassed by how many times I recommended Educated to people I spoke with on our trip. My whole family knew the entire story.

  60. Ingrid says...

    Sigh. So romantic.

    • Nykole says...

      This is a You’ve Got Mail reference, right?!

    • DAMLA says...

      Haha I am so pleased that there are other You’ve Got Mail fans out there! I must have watched it too many times, I remember that specific moment in the movie :)

  61. Caroline Gaines says...

    I’ve just read Personal History, Katherine Graham’s memoir… it’s tragic and heroic and triumphant. Though the movie, The Post, is great, as so often is the case, book is better

  62. love this idea!! supporting local bookstores, perusing the shelves, being surprised by what your partner chooses…AND cozying up to read together! it’s brilliant!

    question: do you choose books you’ve already read or do you choose as you go? either way, what a beautiful bonding experience :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      we chose new-to-us books, but either way would be fun! xoxo

  63. Jen says...

    My husband is reading The Man in the Glass House: Philip Johnson, Architect of the Modern Century which I got from the library and I’m reading Joyful : the surprising power of ordinary things to create extraordinary happiness. It’s rare for us to enjoy reading the same book but when there is one, we definitely share! The last book we both read was There There, which was definitely one of my best book of 2018.

  64. Love this! My husband isn’t a big book reader, but he surprised me this past weekend by suggesting that we go to Powell’s, a huge bookstore in Portland, because he knows that I could spend all day there. His patience was rewarded with a few drinks after — if you’re in the area, we fell in love with Avid Cider just down the block!

    I am reading the Come As You Are book that you posted a few weeks back and it’s great – thank you for the suggestion!

    • Sasha L says...

      Powell’s is wonderland!

  65. Rebecca says...

    Joanna, you are beautiful!! You look like you’re getting younger (I mean that in the best way possible). :)

  66. Amanda says...

    I just got home from buying my husband a book for Valentine’s Day! I got Coyote Blue, by Christopher Moore – a quirky author he loves. We met in college and a lot of our getting-to-know-you time was spent studying, reading and writing papers, so there’s something about sitting on the couch reading together that hearkens back to those easy, flirty days (15 years ago! Ack). Love this idea of a simple way to connect and stir up conversation.

    • Sasha L says...

      I love Christopher Moore books too, my husband as well. They are good old fashioned diverting fun. A Dirty Job and sequel Second Hand Souls are two of my most favorite books ever. So freaking funny.

  67. Sarah says...

    I love this as a tradition! I just picked up a a George RR Martin graffic novel for my husband at the library, a smooshy card and a dark chocolate bar. He’s gonna love it!!!!! Xoxo Happy Valentine’s Day!

    • D says...

      Gah, love that you got him a book from the library. Thought behind the present is still there, but it won’t take up room afterward!

  68. Nykayla says...

    I just tried to double tap (like ❤️) the last photo of you and Alex. This is so wonderful. It sort of speaks to the happiness and contentment that evolves in your marriage over the years… this may not be a fun date night for some people still finding their feet in their relationship, but boy oh boy… ten years in this makes me swoooooon ❤️

  69. Lex says...

    When my husband and I first started dating he surprised me with the best date: he took me on a tour of some of San Francisco’s libraries. After researching which had the best architecture, which had the best views, and which were walking distance to others, he mapped the route for us to follow on a sunny Saturday. It was one of the most romantic dates as we browsed the stacks, got to know each other more, and I picked out books at each library we visited. Since he isn’t a big reader, it was extra sweet that he recognized how important reading was to me.

    • JUDY says...

      He’s clearly a keeper! HOW WONDERFUL!

  70. Joanna says...

    As a lover of books (and conversations about books), I cannot conceive of a more romantic idea! I find the act of both giving and receiving a book that such a great deal of thought went into is so intimate, whether between friends, partners, family members, etc. A few wonderful books I recently read and recommend are My Year of Rest and Relaxation (truly laugh out loud funny at times, particularly the scenes with the psychiatrist), and Friday Black, a dystopian series of short stories with thought-provoking commentaries on current race relations in the U.S. (If dystopian fiction is your jam, Red Clocks was also a fantastic read.)

  71. elise says...

    Lovely couple. Lovely idea. Love the lip gloss too! And I see “Inheritance” in the background. Oh, my. How I loved it.

  72. teegan says...

    We do this at Christmas. There’s that Icelandic tradition people talk about of exchanging books and chocolate on Christmas Eve? It’s nice choosing books for our boys, but it’s even nicer choosing books for each other.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      awww, love that.

    • Susan says...

      We do this too! Our family of 4 (two teenagers), my husband, and I all plan a December morning to go to our local bookstore to pick out books for each other. Going out together to look for books is as special as actually reading the books later on.

    • Dana says...

      We do that at Christmas too! Often, there are more books under the Christmas tree than presents. We started this when our son was born (now 10!) and continued it with my two daughters (2 and 1). I especially love picking books for my non-reader husband that he would actually sit and read.

    • This is our Christmas Eve tradition as well. We leave the over-the-top gifting to the rest of the family – it lets us focus on one thing the other will really enjoy.

  73. Andrea says...

    When you mentioned about All You Can Ever Know it made me want to tell you about this podcast that I’m really into called The Stacks. https://thestackspodcast.com/ This week’s episode is about All You Can Ever Know. For those of you who are bookish and looking for a podcast, The Stacks airs weekly. The host Traci, and her guest (who is either an author or a fellow booklover), discuss the guest’s reading habits, favorite reads, most embarrassing reads, etc. one week, and then the following week they discuss a book that they’ve both read. It’s so interesting to listen to! Thank you for this post that made me excited to share. :)

    • Thank you for listening to The Stacks and spreading the word. You’re too kind and so appreciated.

  74. amy says...

    might be weird to say… but Alex is looking fine in those photos!

  75. Kristina says...

    I love this idea! My husband and I are both avid readers so this would be a great date, and I like how it would break us out of our normal date routine. Plus, I can finally convince him to read some of my favorites : ) I’m reading Educated by Tara Westover right now and it reads like fiction! It’s crazy but so interesting to learn about an upbringing that is so wildly different from my own. I’ve been staying up way too late reading it because it’s so fascinating!

    • Adrienne says...

      I just finished Educated. It was so fascinating!! I couldn’t put it down.

  76. Joslyn says...

    Grabs popcorn and a sheet of paper to start refreshing the page and writing down cupofjo book recommendations…

  77. AJ says...

    Love this! 100% gonna start a trend. Also, on a side note, your hair, looking so glossy and gorgeous!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you!!

  78. L.K. says...

    Just finished reading Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson and it made me feel as though I was wasting my life if I didn’t become a lawyer and work for Equal Justice Initiative or the Innocence Project–what an intense and moving tome!

  79. Lesley says...

    The inmortalists!

  80. eli says...

    But you two must have seen the movie of Brian Wilson’s story, Love and Mercy? Guessing the movie was based on the book. It’s a pretty horrifying story but an incredibly well-done movie.
    And love this idea – but since I am on my own I think I’ll treat myself!

  81. Chelsey says...

    Love this sweet considerate date idea! Thinking of ideas for my husband already.

    Also, your lip colour? It looks like spring!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thanks for asking :) it’s laura mercier lip glacé in poppy: http://bit.ly/2Swb0cx

  82. Amy says...

    I have finished two books this week (thank you screen time limiting app!), both I can recommend. The Great Believers & Elizabeth is Missing. Can’t wait to read the comments on this post. I looking to get something new for my trip to NYC tomorrow 🎉

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      These sound so great! I also recently read and loved Small Fry.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh, also, i just started doing the screen time limiting app and it’s a GAME CHANGER.

    • Lacey says...

      Which app??

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      lacey, i just went to the settings on my phone and pressed “screen time” and then limited social media etc to one hour a day (for both work and pleasure). it’s great — i hadn’t realized how quickly it adds up!

    • Kate says...

      Which screen time limiting app are you using? I need help!

    • Rebecca says...

      I recently put the parental controls on the internet on my phone — I can still use my music, maps, email, camera, and apps (but I deleted the FB app) but I can’t just mindlessly browse. Lately I can’t sleep past 5 or 5:15 (I know, crazy) and where I used to surf the web for 45 minutes, now I am reading books. It’s been really great. I still waste plenty of time on the web on my computer, but it’s nice to have it off my phone (and in a real “emergency,” I could enable it), and I love having more book time.

  83. Lauren E. says...

    This is the sweetest!

    Slightly unrelated, but my mom has been subtly suggesting The Giver to my husband for years and he finally read it and listening to them gush about it over the phone to each other warmed my heart like I can’t explain.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      That is so so sweet!

    • Sarah says...

      The Giver is one of my all time favorites! I picked it up in fifth grade at a RIF event at my school (Reading Is Fundemental: a program to get rural schools kid’s hands on books) I’ve done a lot of moving and a lot of serious slash and burn downsizing, and The Giver always makes the cut. It blew my eleven year old mind then, and I still really enjoy re-reading it from time to time…