In May I began a list of books I really wanted to read this summer, because I tend to be quite disorganised in my choice of reading material. I therefore have a lot of unread books piled up on my shelves, that I hardly ever get to read before something else comes along. So this year I wanted to try and make plans for the summer. Then, what happens is: my library introduces the ’Holiday Bag’ and I just had to give it a try!
Now you are probably asking: What is a Holiday Bag? And I can understand why you would ask that, since it is a brand new concept at my local library. I’m not saying that nobody else in the wold has done this before – I am just saying, it is understandable, if it has not been done where you are from.
However, it is really quite simple: A holiday bag is a bag filled with books, that you can borrow from the library and bring with you on holiday. The fun part is that you don’t get to choose the books yourself.
How does it work
It was so easy to get my hands on a holiday bag. All I had to do, was fill out a questionnaire and e-mail it to my library. I answered questions like: How many readers are in your family (Yes, it was originally thought to be a family-thing, but I belive that you can be a one-man-family in these situations)? How old are the members of your family? What genres do you prefer to read?
A week or so later I received an e-mail telling me I could come pick up my holiday bag. I was so excited! I rarely let other people pick my reads, but I just couldn’t let this opportunity slide.
The bag was supposed to contain two or three books per person, but I think that whoever picked the books for my bag was overthrown with excitement, because I came home with ten books. TEN. I did mention, that my family consists of just two people, which would give us six books in the holiday bag. Well, maybe my librarian figured there should be somehing to pick and choose from. I am not complaining, I was merely surprised!
What was in my holiday bag
And so we close in on the content. I will list the books below with their title and a short summary of their story. The ones that are Danish, will have a translated title too.
- The Crocodile by Maurizio de Giovanni
- De utilpassede (The Maladjusted) by John Kenn Mortensen
- Det bliver pinligt uanset hvad (It will be awkward no matter what) by Tyra Teodora Tronstad
- Flyspotteren (The Planespotter) by Ole Clifford
- The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey
- Hunters in the Night by Oliver Bottini
- The Prince of Soul and The Lighthouse by Fredrik Brounéus
- Regnfaldet (The Rainfall) by Gudrun Østergaard
- Silence by Mechtild Borrmann
- Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt
To be fair, a lot of these books had me wrinkle my nose. The fact that I only knew (about) three of the writers made me rather uncertain, but when I decided to do this, I knew that there was the possibility of receiving a whole bag of books not to my liking. Yet, I had to give it a chance, so I picked a handful of the books and put them on my summer TBR (read more about that here). None of the crime fiction books made it on the list. The only reason for that was really, that I didn’t feel like reading crime fiction, when I put together my list.
why try out the concept of a holiday bag
The concept of the holiday bag is a great way to read books, you would not have come across otherwise. It is a great way for you to meet new authors and it gives the library a chance to suggest some of the great books in their assortment, that may not be checked out that often. Most of the books in my bag are somewhat new (ranging from 2004-2016) and they have fairly good reviews on goodreads, so it’s not like I ended up with a bag of garbage (I never thought I would!). This is also a chance to show the users of the library, that the librarians are quite skilled at recommending books based on your likings.
What’s the Verdict
Oh, what a question! Well, I am only halfway through my TBR of those books, so it’s a little hard to tell. The books I have read so far have been surprisingly good. I am biased, by not having picked them myself, and that does have an effect on my experience. I wish it didn’t, though.
As I mentioned earlier, this is the first year my library are doing this, but I hope it will be a recurring concept in the years to come. If possible, I will order a holiday bag again next year. I thought it was mighty fun to expect the unexpected: To hope for something and receive a whole lot something else. Next year, though, I will make sure to write a few of the books I have liked in the e-mail, when I make my reservation. I believe it must be hard to pick out books for random people, when all you have to go on is the person’s age and prefered genre(s). So far, they’ve done a pretty decent job down at my local library. I still think it would be something that could make their job a bit easier, and ensure that the readers receive books to their liking.