12/21/2011 12:50 pm ET Updated Feb 20, 2012

People's Favorite Book Gifts

For those of us who live for the written word, the books we own mean everything. My bookshelves tell my life story. I can probably tell you the conditions under which every book I own was acquired, as well as where I was when I read them. So when a man I was dating gave me a particularly well-chosen volume, I realized how much the gift meant to me. Later, as I shelved the book, I scanned my shelves and tapped the spines of other books that had been gifts from boyfriends. Each one, I realized, said something meaningful about the relationship. So I decided to create a blog to memorialize the books those men had given me--and those I'd given. So I decided to create a blog,, to memorialize the books those men had given me--and those I'd given."

No, I'm not dating the guy anymore. We're still friends, though, probably because he did such a good job choosing the book I couldn't stand to lose him as a friend! I have a tendency to do that...

Several of the entries are my own, and I tried to keep a tight focus on the conditions under which the book was given, to write a tight little vignette about that moment in the relationship. I didn't want, in my own reflections, to become bitter or snarky about these gifts. And, happily, the contributions that are coming in are just as thoughtful.

My favorite submission? I have to say it's the Nick Flynn book. She was in love with the guy by the time she finished reading the book he gave her--I identify with that. That, or the Yeats. "We were married before the end of the year." Swoon.

Submissions are always welcome at