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Tricking a Dorky Bookworm: A Christmas Tale

Tricking a Dorky Bookworm: A Christmas Tale post image

Sometimes, I am the queen of being totally oblivious. Here’s my most recent story.

On Wednesday, two of my male coworkers both asked me for book recommendations, and let me tell you, I was thrilled! I love giving book recommendations.

The first said his mom was into nonfiction on education and sociology, so I went with my old standard, The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman, along with a couple more recent books: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot and Waiting for “Superman,” edited by Karl Weber.

Shortly after, my second coworker told me his mom was in a book club and in charge of picking the next book. He said she wanted something that recently came out, and that she was into history and nonfiction. I gave him a few books I’d read and enjoyed, including:

  • A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan, just because my book club recently read it and I think it’ll be good book club fodder.
  • Again, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot.

He also asked for some books that I was excited about reading or hadn’t got to yet, so I also suggested:

I was so excited about being asked that I also e-mailed him NPR’s recent list of best book club books of 2010 for some ideas.

Needless to say, I was feeling pretty darn proud of myself. I mean, people know me as a reader and want my advice on good books – what more can a book nerd want?

Yesterday, Friday, was our work Christmas party, so everyone was in a sort of festive mood most of the day. Early in the afternoon my editor sent me an e-mail with the subject line, “Can you stop by for a second.”

I got a huge pit in my stomach – doesn’t that sound like an e-mail you get when you’re in trouble? When I got over to his cube, he turned around and handed me a present, saying “Merry Christmas!” I opened it right there and guess what I got?

A copy of Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin.

“Wow!” I thought, “I just recommended this to someone! What an interesting coincidence!”

When I said that to my editor, he laughed and said, yeah, he’d had my coworkers do some spying for him to try and pick out a book – turns out neither of them really wanted my recommendations, just needed some gift ideas for me.

So while I lost the smug joy of getting to recommend books to people, but I got a beautiful hardcover of Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter as a gift and had it confirmed that I have amazingly thoughtful coworkers. That’s pretty cool, even if I felt like the world’s biggest dork most of the rest of the afternoon!

Anyone else get tricked by people trying to be sneaky and come up with Christmas presents, or am I the only one?

Photo Credit: carbonated via flickr

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Melissa December 11, 2010, 2:00 pm

    Oh, I would have definitely fallen for that. Absolutely. (And I would have also had a pit in my stomach with an email like that ….)

    Sounds like your coworkers know you very well!

    • Kim December 13, 2010, 7:10 pm

      Melissa: Yeah, they did a good job. My love for books is pretty darn obvious. I’m glad I’m not the only one who would have been tricked!

  • Jeane December 11, 2010, 2:31 pm

    That’s funny. Once my husband bought me books for my birthday- but he wasn’t very subtle about it. He said “what’s on that list of books you want?” and I dug it out for him. I wasn’t very surprised, but I sure was thrilled all the same!

    • Kim December 13, 2010, 7:11 pm

      Jeane: There’s some surprise with a list – you never know what will come off the list. Plus, then you know you’ll get what you want.

  • Trisha December 11, 2010, 8:13 pm

    Love it! I would have fallen for it too.

    • Kim December 13, 2010, 7:12 pm

      Trisha: Good, I’m glad I’m not just totally oblivious!

  • Jenny December 11, 2010, 8:35 pm

    I frequently trick people into telling me what they want for Christmas, but only because I am wicked tricky and a Christmas-gift-getting genius. However, if someone were trying to trick me into telling them what I wanted for Christmas, this would be a perfect way of doing it. I LOVE telling people what to read. :p

    • Kim December 13, 2010, 7:13 pm

      Jenny: That’s exactly it – they played my weakness for telling everyone books to read because I LOVE that. I’m not tricky about presents at all, so I’m jealous of your wicked trickiness 🙂

  • Amy December 11, 2010, 8:44 pm

    That’s pretty sneaky of them! But how smart!

    • Kim December 13, 2010, 7:14 pm

      Amy: I know, super smart. That’s what you get when you work with reporters – they know how to get people to tell them what they want to know.

  • Lisa December 11, 2010, 11:29 pm

    I guess I’d be totally fine with being made to feel like a dork if it meant getting a great book as the payoff!

    • Kim December 13, 2010, 7:15 pm

      Lisa: Yes, very good point. I do love having another book to read 🙂

  • Jen - Devourer of Books December 12, 2010, 7:38 am

    Love it! Good spying, coworkers.

    • Kim December 13, 2010, 7:15 pm

      Jen: Yes, very good spying. I admire their trickiness.

  • Ash December 12, 2010, 11:11 am

    I definitely would have fallen for that. I haven’t gotten tricked (yet), although I did receive a beautiful book about handmade books yesterday. I was pretty excited about that!

    • Kim December 13, 2010, 7:16 pm

      Ash: I went to your blog and saw that book — looks beautiful!

  • Lynne December 12, 2010, 1:23 pm

    Aww, I love that story. I wish someone would trick me like that and get me a book I want. I think that is so sweet!

    I haven’t been blogging for a month, but I still get yours emailed to me, so I’m keeping up with what’s going on in your reading world at least 🙂

    And I’m very jealous you got Crooked Letter Crooked Letter.

    • Kim December 13, 2010, 7:17 pm

      Lynne: It was really sweet — I really enjoy my coworkers (and not just because I get presents!). I just started Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter tonight and I think it’s going to be good. And it’s a book I wouldn’t have bought for myself yet, since it’s still in hardcover. That makes it extra special.

  • Christy (A Good Stopping Point) December 12, 2010, 1:41 pm

    I would have fallen for that too. That is so nice though!

    • Kim December 13, 2010, 7:17 pm

      Christy: Really nice!

  • Aths December 12, 2010, 1:53 pm

    Aww… I know I’m going to be disappointed that they didn’t come to me for book advice, but on the plus side, they knew what you really wanted! I would have totally fallen for that sneaky trick, lol! How sweet of them!

    • Kim December 13, 2010, 7:18 pm

      Aths: I hope they’ll still take the book advice, but who knows 🙂 But yes, it was so sneaky because they both know how much I love giving people book advice; it’s one of my favorite things.

  • Jenny (sister) December 12, 2010, 2:21 pm

    Nikki did that to me with architecture once she asked me what was good architecture because someone was telling her that the empire state building was the best piece of architecture out there and then she gave me those hand painted glasses with my favorite buildings on them 🙂

    • Kim December 13, 2010, 7:19 pm

      Jenny: That’s so sneaky too! And those are pretty awesome glasses. I am just not that good at coming up with presents.

  • Nicole December 12, 2010, 4:15 pm

    Nice job getting yourself a Christmas present and staying out of trouble! Hope you enjoy the book. I loved the introduction to Tm Franklin.

    • Kim December 13, 2010, 7:19 pm

      Nicole: Yes, I’m glad I wasn’t in trouble!

  • Esme December 12, 2010, 5:21 pm

    How sweet of them. I would have fallen for this also.

    • Kim December 13, 2010, 7:19 pm

      Esme: I’m glad it’s not just me 🙂 I was feeling pretty silly.

  • Michelle December 12, 2010, 8:05 pm

    That’s a great story! I would have been completely oblivious as well. Most of my friends just give me gift cards rather than take the time to find out what I have versus what books I would really like. That is truly special.

    • Kim December 13, 2010, 7:23 pm

      Michelle: I get a lot of gift cards too, which I love using, but it’s also so nice when someone tries to get a book you actually want too 🙂

  • Vasilly December 12, 2010, 9:06 pm

    What a great way to find out what book to buy someone! I see we both have The Warmth of Other Suns on our TBR list. Have you read Henrietta Lacks or Waiting for Superman? I own both but haven’t read them yet. Have a great week.

    • Kim December 13, 2010, 7:24 pm

      Vasilly: I have read Henrietta Lacks and thought it as good, but I haven’t read any of the others. I’m looking forward to all of them thought.

  • Amanda December 12, 2010, 9:40 pm

    That’s a really awesome story! I love it. 😀

    • Kim December 13, 2010, 7:25 pm

      Amanda: I loved it too — it’s a funny story to tell people.

  • Jeanne December 13, 2010, 2:19 pm

    Line me up with those who would have been just as oblivious as you were, and just as enthusiastic about making recommendations!

    • Kim December 13, 2010, 7:27 pm

      Jeanne: I get so excited when people ask me for book advice — it’s like a switch gets turned on and I just word vomit as many titles as I can think of.

  • Erin December 13, 2010, 4:16 pm

    It’s like good karma…give good book recommendations, get good books! I like it! My family has gone beyond sneaky; we’ve all started making Christmas lists. But I would be so easy to trick! As an example:

    My old job threw me a surprise wedding shower last year. Who knows how long they’d been collecting details? They put up a sign announcing a mandatory staff meeting, which we never had, but it was coming up on the holiday season and I thought maybe it was about darn time anyway. I got to work for the meeting and my friend was there, closing up. She told me just a few people had arrived and that the meeting had moved to a little cafe nearby. I walked in to find all my coworkers and my husband (who had just dropped me off for the meeting) there and I STILL didn’t get it! And then I saw the balloons, and I got it. I felt pretty silly, but it was fun 🙂

    • Kim December 13, 2010, 7:27 pm

      Erin: That is such a funny story, thanks for sharing! I would have fallen for that one too, I think 🙂

  • David Abrams December 14, 2010, 3:58 pm

    Well, trick or no trick, “Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter” is one of the best book gifts to get this year (as I’m sure you’ve already found out, Kim). It is definitely going on my best-reading-of-the-year list. Whenever I get around to compiling it (probably mid-January at this point).

    As for me: I never get duped with Christmas gifts. Perhaps that’s because my wife always turns to me and says, “So, what do you want for Christmas this year?” I ponder for a moment, tell her, then she says, “Okay, let’s go out and buy it right now.” I’ve gotten lots of “Christmas” presents in October this way.

    • Kim December 14, 2010, 7:17 pm

      David: Yes, the book was excellent – I just finished it a few hours ago and liked it a lot.

      Your story sounds exactly like how we end up shopping for my dad. He buys a lot of his own Christmas presents, then we just wrap them for a “surprise.” I think he liked it better that way, actually 🙂

  • Care December 20, 2010, 7:35 am

    This was a wonderful story! Merry Christmas!!

    • Kim December 21, 2010, 10:21 pm

      Care: It was a fun thing to happen – Merry Christmas!