Book Matchmaking For Your Imaginary Dates

We’re a week out from Valentine’s Day and romance is in the air…or at least hearts are being printed on candy bags filling the grocery store aisles.  Being the book lover that I am, I wanted to come up with a fun way to do a little book matchmaking. The idea settled upon? I asked past guest bloggers to share with me their dream imaginary dates and, from there, using my top secret book matchmaking algorithm, I’m providing them with their date’s book match. I hope you enjoy seeing their answers as much as I did, plus you’ll have to weigh in with your matchmaking skills.

First up, though, my imaginary date:

We’re in Paris.  The date begins at Shakespeare & Company, one of my very favorite bookstores, which, since we’re talking imaginary, has been cleared out just for us.  We take photos (normally prohibé), putter around, and each pick out a book for each other. From there, we walk along the Seine and then down the steps to the river at the Île de la Cité.  We have a basket containing a blanket, our new books, bread from Poilâne, pastries from La Pâtisserie des Rêves, chocolate macarons from Pierre Herme, and moelleux au chocolat from Arnaud Larher (yes, that’s too specific and, yes, our dinner is all carbs and sweets). We sit with our feet dangling over the water and eat and talk and read and watch the sun set and it’s heavenly.  Since this is imaginary, there is no one smoking (stop that, French people!).  Once the sun has set, we walk back along the Seine and to the Notre Dame.  There we’re allowed to climb up to the bell towers alone and we linger at the top looking out at the city sparkling below. J.K. Rowling walks out and asks us if we would do her the honor of listening to all her books read by Jim Dale with her so that we can ask questions whenever they pop into our heads…(okay, kidding on this last one, although that would be awesome).  Back to us standing on the overlook of the Notre Dame enjoying the view over Paris and fade out scene.

Yentas, what’s my book?

Now let’s get to the imaginary dates and their book matches! Thank you so much to these wonderful women for letting me analyze their dream dates : ).

Mollie of the No Thanks We’re Booked podcast and @molliereads

I’m thinkinggg… a cozy getaway in the mountains, in a small cabin with a huge fireplace. It’s close enough to town where Aaron and I could go shopping at all the cute little vintage stores, grab lunch at local places… maybe do some hiking… and then evenings spent reading by the fire. [I add that it can be absolutely anything she wants.] LOL oh well, mine is boring now. A KILLER cabin in like, Vermont. With an outdoor hot tub and a wrap around porch overlooking some INCREDIBLE views.”

The book match: Claire Legrand’s Some Kind of Happiness

The matchmaking algorithm: I feel like fantasy makes for a good fireside read, but Mollie’s date also has a grounded feel to it with details like the vintage shops and  local lunch spots.  This book has the best of both worlds: the realities of life mixed with the fantasy world of Everwood created in the imagination of our amazing heroine, Finley. It’s heartfelt and heart-tugging, sweet and melancholic, which I think Mollie’s enneagram four soul will adore.

Emily of @emilyreadsbooks and Book Snugs

“My ideal date would be a date day. We would go for a run somewhere naturey, get showered, then go to a coffee shop for drinks and a pastry. Our main event would be exploring some place neither of us has been. My current pick would be Longwood Gardens. After rambling around for a few hours we’d meet up with my brother and sister-in-law (this is hypothetical because we live in different states, but I miss them and like double dating with family) at a local brewery for dinner and games. (This would probably be at a granny-ish hour because I don’t do late nights well). My husband and I would head home for reading in front of a fire.”

The book match: Johanna Spyri’s Heidi

The matchmaking algorithm: Emily’s date has a simple, cozy, heartwarming feel to it. There’s something about Heidi that has that same satisfying goodness.  Emily’s inclusion of family stood out to me and made me want to pick a book that had a strong family tie and, I think those of us who have read Heidi can agree, that the relationship between Heidi and her grandfather is a special one.

Teresa of @teereads

“My current perfect date idea is: a cozy cabin with walk-on access to the ski slopes where we ski together all day, pausing for intervals of hot chocolate. In the evening a gourmet dinner in front of the crackling (obviously) fireplace, then star gazing and more hot chocolate.”

The book match: Ruth Emmie Lang’s Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstances

The matchmaking algorithm: The elements I notice the most in Teresa’s date are food and adventure and an overall sense of wholesome satisfaction. Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstances has all of that and is one of those books that leaves you with the feeling of a warm hug, perfect to follow a day on the slopes. The snow scenes will hopefully be a fitting cozy bonus.

Ashley of @sunnystateofbooks

“I’d choose to have a day date with my husband (I’m a grandma and don’t like being out late…I’d prefer to have spent a fun day with him, and be in bed with my book and tea in the evening)! I’d want to start our date day off by going to brunch. It would probably involve a yummy omelet and a pastry (cinnamon rolls or muffins are my favorite) and a cup of coffee! Then I’d want to head to our favorite beach, stake out a chair and umbrella, and lounge there for hours just reading and talking with my Mr. occasionally getting up to soak in the water and walk around (we’d have brought a picnic lunch for the beach because I always have to have food around :)). Then I’d want to go back to the house to rinse off and change before heading to a quaint coffee shop for a late afternoon pick me up while browsing some shops (which would include a bookstore I could wander in aimlessly for however long my heart desired). Our day would end at a favorite restaurant of ours that’s on the second floor where the view of the ocean is just stunning as the sun is setting. We’d most likely share a cheese board and fish, while sipping on a refreshing glass of wine or a margarita.”

The book match: Sarah Dessen’s The Truth About Forever

The matchmaking algorithm: Ashley’s date has a casual breeziness to me that made my mind go to young adult books.  I like the idea of a book that would be absorbing, but also easy enough to look up from to chat with her husband or take a quick swim. This book, about a teenager  who needs to learn to step out of her need for perfection, deal with her grief, and embrace the messy beauty of life is one that I absolutely loved as a teenager and that I’m hoping will be the right mix of captivating and heartfelt. The inclusion of a lot of waffle eating felt fitting, too.

Katharine of @readwithkat

“Dream date: a national bookstore tour, where we fly around the country visiting well known bookstores and attending author signings! Followed by a stay at a luxury hotel.”

The book match: Veronica Henry’s How To Find Love in a Bookshop

The matchmaking algorithm: I mean, with this many bookstores I kind of had to go with something extra bookish, right?  I first thought of Jenny Colgan’s The Bookshop on the Corner  because of Katharine’s recent trip to Scotland, but wondered if Katharine had read it and found that she had with some Instagram stalking : ). I like the choice of Henry’s, though, because, while cliche in the best Hallmark kinds of ways, there are layers of heart to this story that might keep Katharine turning the pages in her extra comfy hotel bed.

Katie of the No Thanks We’re Booked podcast and @lifebetweenwords

*Start the day watching the sunrise over the Eiffel Tower. *Take a morning stroll along the canal Saint Martin and stop for a pain au chocolate and a warm drink. *Make your way to Bois de Vincennes and rent a row boat. Find a spot along the lake to stop and eat a picnic of fresh baguette, cheese, and fruit. *Decide between spending the afternoon at the Louvre, or heading to a fairytale castle, particularly the Chateau de Chantilly. Convince my love that Chantilly is the way to go. There’s almost as much art there as at the Louvre. *Head back into the city to find a bookstore. No romantic date would be complete without a trip to a bookstore. Definitely Shakespeare & Company. Keep an eye out for any lingering ghosts of the American ex-pats from the 1920s. *Finally, head to Montmartre, take your time strolling along the gentle hills and cobbled streets. Don’t stop until you’re tempted by a sweet little hole in the wall restaurant from which delicious smells are wafting.  *End the night at the rooftop bar Le Perchoir so you can look out at the Parisian sunset and take in the spectacular view of the Sacre Coeur.”

The book match: Charles Belfoure’s The Paris Architect

The matchmaking algorithm: The first thing that stood out to me about Katie’s date was the strong sense of place. With that and the reference to the 1920s, my head immediately went to Amor Towle’s The Rules of Civility, but I did my creeping and saw that Katie had already read it.  I then started scrolling for similar titles and this one caught my eye because, I mean, yes, it has Paris in the title, but it also sounds so wonderfully immersive.  Bonus Katie points, it sounds like a story of redemption, too ; ). This is the only one I haven’t read, so I’m really hoping it’s as good as it sounds.

Hannah of @hannahqueen and author of Honey and Jam: Seasonal Baking from My Kitchen in the Mountains and the Honey and Jam blog

“A stroll through the English countryside and then a pint in a cozy pub! If the man in question had an adorable dog to keep us company I wouldn’t be mad at all.

The book match: James Herriot’s All Creatures Great and Small

The matchmaking algorithm: Crossing my fingers Hannah hasn’t read this one yet.  The quintessential British charm of Herriot’s writing, his evocative descriptions of the Yorkshire countryside, and, of course, all the animals, dogs included, made this one feel like the perfect companion for Hannah’s date, aside from the British dreamboat by her side. He has a tweed hat on that he actually looks good in, right?

What books do you think they should be putting into their bags for these imaginary dates? Give us your best matchmaking!

If you would like to join in on the fun, please go to the submissions page!

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