Editor Trish Vega likes giving people books for Christmas.
“I enjoy recommending books to other people based on their reading preferences or personal interests,” she said. “I am also a compulsive book hoarder and have multiple copies of favorite books and hundreds of unread books that need a new home. I used to work in a minimally staffed nonprofit, so it was pretty easy to select books for three or four coworkers.”
But there are a lot more people in the government office she moved to and choosing books for all of them proved to be a challenge.
On her first year in the government office, she matched books. On the second year, she brought unwrapped books and asked her officemates to choose their presents. “I thought I could guess which people would pick particular books but I was pretty surprised by some of the choices,” she said.
This year, she decided to do something different. Taking the cue from the “blind date with books” concept that has spread on the Internet, an idea so successful that public libraries in the United States have adopted it, Trish decided to let her coworkers choose their gifts without letting them know the title and author of the books they were looking at.
“I decided to do this for Christmas, just to make things more interesting. As book readers, we sometimes tend to stay within our comfort zone and gravitate to familiar authors or favorite genres; we miss out on a lot of good books that way,” she said.
She prepared a varied selection of books, staying away from current bestsellers. “I’m quite certain that my officemates have heard of these books, formed their opinions about it and made plans to secure their own copy or ignore its existence altogether,” she noted.
“Plus, current bestsellers are failsafe book gifts and I wouldn’t want to duplicate someone else’s gift.”
She included her favorite reads and added books based on her coworkers’ interests.
“The books are wrapped, numbered and identified by genre. Each book also comes with a card printed with one-sentence descriptions of the books,” said Trish. “I’m excited to see how they will respond to blind-date books and if they will actually get to pick something they really enjoy.”