If books be the food of love, read on: Sharing books on Valentine’s Day

As the Book Bulletin online catalogue crowdfunding campaign for reading recommendations and gift suggestions comes to an end on International Book Giving Day (also known in some quarters as ‘Valentine’s Day’), Christopher Norris from the Jolabokaflod Book Campaign asked friends, fans and followers of the initiative how they would feel about exchanging books with significant others on 14th February. Here are some of their answers.

1) Which book would you choose to give to a loved one on 14 February?

Nick Quantrill, crime writer and Hull Noir 2017 team, international crime writing festival:

As a crime writer, it would have to be something from my genre. Despite all the murder and mayhem associated with it, at its best, it’s a genre of great heart and hope. I’d share a book by George Pelecanos, as he writes about families and relationships with great compassion and clarity.

Karen Sullivan, Founder and Publisher, Orenda Books:

I would give a loved one three books, because I am usually over the top. They are Amanda Jennings’ In Her Wake, Su Bristow’s Sealskin and Louise Beech’s The Mountain in My Shoe, because they are ultimately about the power of love and its ability to offer redemption.

Hildur Sif Thorarensen, author, Einfari:

I would either give my partner a romantic story, because it’s Valentine’s Day, or something about marketing since he’s extremely interested in that subject at this time.

Victoria Wicks, actress, granddaughter of H E Bates:

If I gave a book to someone on Valentine’s Day I’d probably want to give them a second-hand first edition of a book with a great dust-jacket. If they didn’t agree with me about the content I’d be hoping they loved the look of the book. Otherwise, I have always loved my grandfather’s book, Love for Lydia, so that would make a perfect gift.

2) How would receiving a book as a gift on Valentine’s Day make you feel?

Andrew Hayward, Managing Director, Ether Books:

I love fitting books to people, finding a subject they like and hopefully getting a new fan for the author. If I find people who have an interest in Germany, both during the war and post war I always give them a copy of a Philip Kerr, Bernie Gunther book. So far, everyone has enjoyed him and bought the rest of the series.

Lesley Pollinger, author and Literary Executor and Trustee for the Estate of Frieda Lawrence Ravagli:

Loving, and with thought for the recipient.

Yrsa Sigurðardóttir, award-winning author:

Absolutely marvelous. A book is a gift that requires thought and insight and is reserved for those close to your heart, be it lover, relative or friend. People don’t give books to someone they don’t like.

3) How would receiving a book as a gift on Valentine’s Day make you feel?

Catherine Clover, author, forthcoming multimedia Aldus Cervus series:

Having been given children’s books by my parents on Valentine’s Day when I was young, I know what a blessing it is to have such an intimate and lasting token of their love. To this day, when I read the Valentine inscriptions written lovingly in my now deceased mother’s hand, it makes me feel so connected to her. I feel that there is nothing greater to bring us together with our loved ones than sharing a bound copy of a book.

Jessica Norrie, author, The Infinity Pool:

Much better than receiving chocolate-cream-filled profiteroles with pink, sugar hearts or any of the other sickly things on sale at this time of year!

Hannah Bellamy, CEO, United Way Reading Oasis:


You can ready the full list of responses on the Jolabokaflod site

Christopher Norris is the Founder and Curator of the Jolabokaflod Book Campaign (twitter: @Jolabokaflod). There is still time to make a contribution to the Book Bulletin cause and receive promotion for you and your passions, projects and interests. Please give generously by the 14th February 2017.