THE BOOKS THEY GAVE ME collects stories of books given and books received by loved ones. The gift of a book can be surprisingly intimate, revealing much about a relationship. An ill-chosen book can serve as a harbinger of doom, while a perfect selection can fill one with hope for the future. Together, these stories form a revealing look at love, loss, and our literary tastes. Originally focusing on romantic gifts, THE BOOKS THEY GAVE ME quickly expanded to gifts from parents and grandparents, siblings and friends. There's the couple who tried to read Ulysses together over the course of their long distance relationship, and ultimately never finished it. There's the guy who bristled when he received Joy of Cooking from his boyfriend, until he realized that the gift didn't represent a demand for better meals, but a dream for a beautiful life together, throwing cocktail parties for a warm group of friends. These are stories of people falling in love, regretting mistakes, and finding hope through books.