Mystery Date (with a Book)

I had just been telling someone about the old board game Mystery Date. The premise was that each player (girls, of course), had to assemble an outfit that matched the date (a guy, of course: the game was originally issued in 1965, after all). The date was chosen by twirling the plastic doorknob and opening the door. I found the commercial for it on YouTube: "When you open the door, will your mystery date be a Dream?…or a Dud?"

On our weekly library visit, I was surprised and amused to find this Mystery Date display. The blue poster says "Love thy library." Each book was wrapped for Valentine's Day, with a puffy heart sticker and the bar code of the book on the outside.

Ready for a mystery date?
Check something out from this display!
Red wrapping — Adult
Pink wrapping — Teen
Purple wrapping — Children's

I thought this was a hilarious game and a great idea. For someone else. But lately I have been telling myself: find the story. The only way to find the story is to take the next step. If someone is crafting something on the street, stop to ask questions. If a mystery book is on the shelf, check it out! I was wary. I'm reading many books. I don't have time to read a book I'm not interested in. Why did I think I would get a Dud? From its size and thickness and flexibility, I picked a trade paperback and checked it out. The checkout slip listed the title, but I did not recognize it. I still thought it was going to be something like Family Recipes for a Happy Life or Ways to Please Your Man or something equally silly.

I brought it home.

I opened it up.

Neat! Fiction. A book I probably never would have discovered on my own. I began to read. The prose knocked me out. The characters gripped me. Each chapter was its own stand-alone story that revolved around New York City (I'm only on page 86 out of 349 at the moment). I was glad I had decided to go ahead and take the risk. But if I had thought for one second about who had picked the books, I would have smacked my forehead: librarians. Librarians picked the books. Librarians love books and love reading. Of course they would choose books they felt were worthy, books that they loved. I should have been more trusting. The Mystery Dates would all be Dreams!


Lucia Sasaki said…
Hi Alisa!
Thanks for sharing your lovely experience (here in Brazil an equivalent of St. Valentine's day is in June 12th).
How good you liked your mystery date book!
I loved your comment about librarians, as one of them, I can tell that because I love books and reading I became a librarian and I love being a reading advisor.
Great reading and a great week!

StacySix said…
Oh, how fun! I'm going to pass this story on to a friend who owns a small, independent used/new bookstore. She will love it.
So glad you shared this find. Alisa!
Gave a link to you and your post on my blog today at
Happy Monday!
Penny A said…
LOVE the great idea for 'mystery books' at the Library -- and SO happy with the one you got! Colum McCann is one of my favorite contemporary authors, and this book is some of his BEST work :) A couple of years ago, our youngest got to attend a talk he gave at her college. Incredible experience for her -- vicariously wonderful for me, too. Enjoy your Mystery Date. It's one that is sure to remain with you.