I picked up The Books They Gave Me: True Stories of Live, Love, and Lit pretty much sight unseen, very rare for me. I didn't even read the cover copy (I thought it was a memoir about Jen Adams's reading life) - so imagine my surprise when I realized that the book consisted of stories other people submitted to the tumblr blog The Books They Gave Me.
That is rather more interesting than just one person's book-receiving stories.
There's a lot of variety in the submissions. Some books were given by failed lovers, successful ones, future spouses, parnts and beloved grandparents.
Some submissions are almost heartbreaking in simplicity - those were the best ones. Others seemed "over-arty" or over-edited, as if the submitters were trying to make a straightforward story more mysterious, but what happened is that they lost the ability to make sense.