Words With Friends

Book blogger extraordinaire Kristilyn (@readinginwinter) wrote a fantastic piece about making bookish friends. She inspired me to write about last month’s yegbookswap.

Credit for yegbookswap goes to Andy (@agrabia) and Vanessa Grabia  (@vgrabia). From the event website:

Time for an old-fashioned book swap. Here’s the lowdown:

1) Everyone brings three books. One they loved as a child. One they loved as a teenager. One they loved as an adult.

2) Used or new paperback books are encouraged, to keep down costs. Just make sure the used copies are in decent, readable shape.

3) All the books go on a table, we socialize and talk books for a while, and then everyone goes home with three new books.

And that’s that.

I was super excited to have a few hour’s worth of adult conversation. Meeting fellow book lovers was just a huge bonus. I had my four-month old in tow, but he’s pretty docile. I wisely left the two-year old at home. Apart from picking up some great new books for free, I met up with friends old and new, online and “real life”, and met people who I had no connection to at all. A huge thanks to Andy and Vanessa for putting this event together.

The books I brought to swap

Kind of like TLC’s CrazySexyCool except FunnyCrazyDepressing

  • Child pick: Bart Simpson’s Guide to Life
  • Teen pick: Wuthering Heights
  • Adult pick: Mercy Among the Children

The funny thing about my child/teen/adult choices is that I read them all in my teens. I remember buying Bart Simpson’s Guide to Life when I was 13, I read Wuthering Heights for English in grade 11, and I read Mercy Among the Children when I was 19. I was a late bloomer and pretty much a child at 13, and though certainly not mature at 19, I remember thinking that this was such an “adult” book. Meaning I didn’t really understand it. I’ve reread it a few times since then.

The books I took home

Books I took home: Where the Wild Things Are, The Long Dark Tea Time of the Soul, and Vineland

A mixed bag!

  • Child pick: Where the Wild Things Are
  • Teen pick: The Long Dark Tea Time of the Soul
  • Adult pick: Vineland

I had never read Where the Wild Things Are. I looked through it before reading it to Benjamin, and thought, huh, what’s the big deal? But Benjamin was taken with it right away. He calls it “The Jungle Book,” and I suppose one day he’ll learn about the other Jungle Book, but for how, he loves reciting the lines and talking about the “monsters.”

I’m nearly finished Douglas Adam’s The Long Dark Tea Time of the Soul, and it’s a perfect, light, funny book with a wild plot that I can’t imagine being resolved in the 50 or so remaining pages!

I know nothing about Thomas Pynchon or Vineland, except that it is actually one of the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die! Bonus!!

So? Do you have a good group of bookish friends? How do you make more?

And, If you were at yegbookswap, I would love to read your review of the event!



  1. Miranda

    Wuthering Heights was the classic novel I chose when all my friends were reading Jane Austen in my teen years! I wanted something darker and more edgy! I too aread Mercy Among the Children ( I think when I was 20) and instantly loved it. The swap is a great idea though!

    • lauratfrey

      Those two books are in my top five for sure. David Adam Richards is a modern day gothic writer to me. I hope whoever took that book is in the mood for something dark!

  2. Kristilyn (@ReadingInWinter)

    This is a great idea! Though, I really can’t remember what I liked as a kid — or in high school. I really wasn’t a reader back then. I went through the Goosebumps and Babysitter’s Club series books, but it was never a priority for me. Not until way AFTER university. I was an English minor in University so I did read a lot of classics, then a lot of chick lit, but it wasn’t until 2008 that I really started READING — a lot. I sure wish I had done that more in my previous years!

    I’ve only read one Douglas Adams title and it was awesome! I did listen to a YouTube reading of Where the Wild Things Are — it wasn’t bad. I like the illustrations. I own a copy of Mercy Among the Children — I bought it based on a recommendation from a Canadian singer-songwriter. Still haven’t read it though!

    • lauratfrey

      So what prompted you to become such a prolific reader? I have always been a reader. I think the books I read in high school and university play a big role because it’s such an impressionable time. I read Wuthering Heights around the time of my first major break up,.and I’m sure the stuff going on in my life made the story that much more meaningful at the time!

      I would encourage you to give Mercy a try, but wait till you’re in the mood for something dark. I think it’s a book that you either love or hate.

  3. briefraser

    I’m so bummed I wasn’t able to attend the book swap! I really hope they decide to do it again one day. I have to admit though – as much as I wanted to go, I was super nervous about going too. I’m pretty shy when it comes to meeting people I’ve never met in real life, but I figured all the books in the room would provide conversation 😉

    I tried reading Wuthering Heights a few years ago, but I really struggled with it 😦 I wanted to love it, but I dont know…I just couldn’t get into it. I do plan on trying it again.

    • lauratfrey

      I’m shy too! It helped that I knew two people “in real life.” Plus, I’ve been meeting people off the internet since forever. I meet my husband that way 🙂

      Wuthering Heights is a book I like to read for the imagery and symbolism as much as for the story and characters. The actual plot is a little out there for sure!
      I think it’s worth it, obviously 🙂

      • Brie @ Eat Books

        Well, I will definitely give it another try and I’ll be sure to bombard you on twitter each time I’m not getting something…. 😉

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