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…
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.
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.
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.
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:)
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?
(Photos taken at Books Are Magic.)