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Blind Date With a Book

Take a chance on literary love and let us set you up on a Blind Date with a Book!

Our staff picked out books we adore, wrapped them up to hide their identity, and gave short descriptions to entice you. You can’t unwrap a book until you’ve taken the plunge and purchased it, but you CAN rest assured that all of these books have been thoroughly vetted—and come with our heartfelt recommendations. 

AND -- this year check out a full line-up of Blind Date with a Book selections from our Young Adult department!

Want more blind date recommendations? Check out our 2019 Blind Dates2018 Blind Dates, and 2017 Blind Dates.

  • Gothic horror/romance at its finest
  • A classic novel that’s the basis for a classic film
  • Mystery, murder, and twisty relationships
  • Old-timey coded bisexuality
  • A mansion full of secrets -- and creepy servants!
  • The people, places, and relationships that haunt us years later
  • Jane Eyre, but fun

  • Riveting narrative nonfiction
  • Fascinating cast of historical figures
  • WWI glamour, disaster, and suspense
  • Hunter and Hunted, and those kept in the dark
  • The true details and meaning of a disaster you think you know


  • A crazy fun rollercoaster of a novel
  • Badass female punk rock chef/psychic protagonist you want to be your friend
  • Heists! California wildfires! Secret organizations! Action, action, action!
  • Murder mystery with 24 hours to clear your name
  • Full of imagination, wit, and random sh*t flying through the air

  • Two missing girls, ten years, two mysteries
  • Memento-style narrative/formatting with an unreliable narrator
  • Slightly murdery, much peeling of psychological layers
  • Fast-paced and frightening
  • Stay out of the forest
  • start reading at the beginning of a weekend ‘cause f*ck plans/going to work


  • Cinematic, almost dream-like atmosphere
  • Heatbreak, obsession, and panic
  • Emotionally devastating in the best way possible
  • Poems that will stay on your mind after a first read and have you texting lines to your friends
  • Good fit for those who enjoyed (or cried during) Call Me By Your Name

  • Neo-Medieval Knights in Space
  • Delicious, neon, 80’s-feeling art  
  • Space(!) Gays(!) beating the patriarchy at its own game
  • For anyone who has ever dreamed of exploring and changing their world

  • 80s teen movies inspiration in Regency England
  • Weird Science meets the Breakfast Club meets My Fair Lady.
  • Nerd hero(es)!
  • Fake relationship.
  • steamy sexy times
  • Start of a new series

  • A collection of vignettes; a modern Decameron
  • An ode to (awesome) women masquerading as a romance novel
  • Humorous, sensual, touching
  • One of Japan’s most beloved authors – for fans of Murakami and Yoko Ogawa
  • Pair with a glass of wine

  • “Personal is political”
  • Poignant, beautiful, revelatory prose
  • The city as a character, the city as a trap
  • Joan Didion to Twin Peaks, Britney Spears to Serial
  • Criticism, humor, memoir, essays, and true crime

  • Quentin Tarantino as a queer woman writing historical fiction
  • Opium smuggling, murder, blackmail, bribery
  • Gender-bending 19th century western thriller
  • Explicit, gritty, violent, raw
  • Tough, clever, bisexual, Latinx protagonist
  • Unforgettable characters and insatiable appetites

  • Epic fantasy world at war
  • A soldier, a scholar, a poet, and a socialite try to cure the world
  • Lush, mesmerizing text with a genre-bending edge
  • Four vibrant intertwined women's voices
  • A beautiful heartbreak of a book


  • He is saving the planet, don’t get in his way
  • From warm familial childhood stories to worldwide adventures
  • Botany as thriller, saving the world’s rarest plants
  • The science of plant propagation and thriving (and plant love)
  • Jane Goodall says “the perfect spokesperson for the plants of the world”
  • He will give you so much stubborn hope

  • In the vein of Kafka and Calvino!
  • A mind-bending collection, originally published in 1965
  • Italian surrealism and futurism!
  • A perfect dose of horror and humor
  • Twenty weird, wild, and wonderful stories 

  • Regency era England f/f bodice ripper
  • WOMEN IN STE(A)M!!!!
  • Two people from opposite worlds
  • Science meets Art!
  • Healthy relationships and steamy sexy times
  • For fans of Gentleman Jack

  • Sideshows with a heart of gold
  • A man with secrets to hide and larger-than-life personality
  • Doomed premature babies were displayed at sideshows – and so saved
  • The beginning of neonatal medicine
  • Painstakingly researched hidden history/biography, written with lyricism and irony

  • Royal intrigue in an interplanetary empire
  • Strong female relationships
  • Passes both the Bechdel and Mako Mori tests
  • Fast-paced story in an expansive sci fi world
  • Beginning of a series

  • Award-winning novel by an author nominated for multiple Man Bookers
  • Zippy, clever dialogue and word play
  • The Renaissance art scene and 1960s mod Britain
  • Mother-daughter realness
  • Two tales of love, loss, friendship, injustice, identity, gender, and so much more, twisted together
  • The lasting power of art

  • Fun and fascinating romp through natural history
  • Cheeky, smart, and side-bustingly funny
  • A modern bestiary explaining how animals have been misunderstood
  • Mary Roach meets Bill Bryson
  • Written by the founder of the Sloth Appreciation Society


  • 1990's Feminist Punk Rock
  • Family turmoil, music industry rejection, and unwavering determination
  • Laugh-out-loud funny
  • the moments that shape a person
  • Self-discovery through music

  • A Millennial fable in San Francisco’s tech industries and foodie world
  • The search for connection
  • Having a career vs. having a passion vs. having a life
  • Unique, sometimes zany characters you recognize and want to recognize
  • New technology clashes with the old world and mythic history
  • Delicious, quirky fun

  • Long and rich history of political radicalism
  • Mexican and Chicano working class
  • Migrants & the early 20th century labor movement
  • Active makers of history with unbounded revolutionary agency
  • History, politics, organization, and social struggle
  • Vital historical reading for our modern world