The Coffee County Lannom Memorial Public Library invites local readers to participate in Romance Awareness Month at the library.

“I was looking at the calendar, and noticed August is Romance Awareness Month,” said Katy Currence, library technician and assistant children’s librarian. “So I thought we could do a blind date with a book.

“I didn’t want it to be too much like Valentine’s Day, so I thought it would be perfect to do a date with a book - and it’s a blind date.”

Here’s how it works: At random, readers select a bag that includes one book and a bookmark on which they will rate the book when they are finished. 

“You take a bag without looking in it,” Currence said. “There is a little bookmark in the bag, and you write your name, your date’s title and the name of the author.”

Participants are asked to rate their “date” by circling one of three options on the bookmark.

“There is a heart with a line, which means you didn’t have a good date,” she said. “The smaller heart means you liked it, and the big heart means you loved it. Then, tell us why you liked it and if you would recommend this book to your friends.”

“When [readers] bring the book back, they drop the bookmarks in a box,” Currence said. “I took an old romance novel and I used its pages to cover the box.”

Though the Blind Date with a Book event is a celebration of Romance Awareness Month, the books up for grabs aren’t limited to romance novels. 

“It’s a mixture,” Currence said. “I asked my co-workers about some of their favorite books, and I’ve included those books. There are romance, non-fiction, sci-fi and fantasy books.”

 

Classic romance

Still, Currence encouraged participants to read the romance stories, noting that they aren’t necessarily “gushy and mushy.”

According to the Romance Writers of America, a romance novel includes two basic elements: a central love story and an emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending.

“In these novels, the protagonists come to an understanding and you see the complexity of their characters and how they come to a happy ending,” she said. “A romance means there is a happy ending.”

One of Currence’s favorite romance books is Jane Austin’s “Pride and Prejudice,” published in 1813. Not only does the novel tell a love story, she said, but it also reveals the mannerisms of the early 19th century.

Currence said she enjoyed that the main characters – Elizabeth Bennet and William Darcy – “have this back-and-forth battle and eventually come to terms with each other.”

It’s a classic story that is still relevant today, she said.

 

Spurring future events

After the library has collected bookmarks from the Blind Date with a Book event, Currence said, they staff will have good idea of which books were well-liked.

Then, she said, they will plan another event based on reader recommendations. 

“We’ll read all bookmarks and do an event for favorites – for books that are highly recommended by patrons,” she said.

To arrange a blind date with a book, visit the library at 312 N. Collins St. and check out a bag.  The event runs through the end of the month.

For more information, call 455-2460.

Elena Cawley can be reached by email at ecawley@tullahomanews.com.

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