The Seattle Public Library is doing a cute Valentine’s Day event this year: a “blind date with a book.” Read the titillating descriptions, check out your brown-bagged mystery date, and take it home. (Or just go somewhere for coffee and get to know each other! I don’t want to rush you.)Blind date book shelf

I’m pretty promiscuous when it comes to books — at least three or four at a time — so I decided to cheat on my to-read stack and give the blind-date thing a try. As with any first date, I was prepared to be open-minded and not to judge by appearances, but I decided my ironclad 50-page rule would still have to apply, Valentine’s Day or no.

At first glance, things looked promising: the prospective blind dates were lined up and waiting, handsomely wrapped in red paper with tantalizing but anonymous summaries. Would I like “smart, funny essays from an NPR darling”? Or should I go with the “subversive, hilarious, and emotionally piercing” bad boy? Difficult decisions!

Blind date book sign

In the end, I went for the “quirky but true” candidate who promised to introduce me to “subjects you never thought could be so fun.” Wanting to preserve the surprise, I averted my eyes when checking it out, so it wasn’t until I got home that I unwrapped my mystery date to reveal… Gulp, by Mary Roach. Which, as it happens, is a book I read as soon as it came out, because Roach’s funny-gross explorations of the wonders of the human body are some of my favorite popular-science books. So, a little bit disappointing in that I didn’t have a new book to read (and did have another book to lug back to the library), but in terms of compatibility, a pretty excellent match!

Blind date book

There are a few more days to go until Valentine’s Day, and I seem to find myself at the local library a couple of times a week, so I may just go back and try my luck again with another blind date book. But this time, I’ll unwrap it before I leave… just in case.

Stephanie Perry
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