Another Secret Santa…With a Twist

Posted December 23, 2013 by in Miscellaneous / 12 Comments

A few weeks ago (probably more like a month ago) I received an email from Rick of Another Book Blog. He contacted me, Rory, Laura, CJ, and Carolyn, and asked us if we’d like to participate in a bookish Secret Santa…with a twist.

Here’s the idea:

Each of us would be given the name of one of the others participating (randomly chosen). Next, we would choose a book that we’d like that person to read. We wouldn’t be buying the book for that person, just giving them the title. In the month of January, we each would be reading the book chosen for us. Then, when we were finished reading, we’d write a guest post about the book on the blog of the person who chose the book for us.

Of course we all thought this was a great idea. I think this is the coolest Secret Santa I’ve ever participated in (and not only because it’s the only Secret Santa I’ve ever participated in).

Last week (maybe two weeks ago–I’m so bad about remembering time frames), we each received the name of our Secret Santa-ee…

And I got Rory of Fourth Street Review!

I would have enjoyed choosing a book for any of these wonderful people participating in Rick’s Secret Santa event, but I was truly excited to get Rory’s name. We have so many reading tastes in common (among other things). This was going to be GREAT.

Then I realized–as Laura did when she received my name–that Rory has read ALL THE BOOKS. Oh, man…what the heck could I choose for her that she hadn’t already read? And what if she hated the book I chose for her?

I’ve been racking my brain ever since, and I’ve finally come up with a definitive decision. I’d like Rory to read:

Zazen, by Vanessa Veselka

Zazen by Vanessa Veselka.

Published by a small press, I don’t think Zazen has gotten the recognition it deserves. I read it last year and really, really liked it. A lot. This is the synopsis from the publisher:

Somewhere in Della’s consumptive, industrial wasteland of a city, a bomb goes off. It is not the first, and will not be the last. Reactions to the attacks are polarized. Police activity intensifies. Della’s revolutionary parents welcome the upheaval but are trapped within their own insular beliefs. Her activist restaurant coworkers, who would rather change their identities than the world around them, resume a shallow rebellion of hair-dye, sex parties, and self-absorption. In search of clarity, and unburdened by ideological posturing, Della calls in bomb threats to various locations throughout her city. She relishes the panic and confusion incited by her fabrications. But when real explosions suddenly strike her imagined targets, Della is lured into a catastrophic plot from which there may be no return.

The synopsis doesn’t really do it justice, nor does the review I wrote for it last year. I’m always a bit nervous when I recommend a book I really enjoyed (what if she hates it?), but I’m still looking forward to hearing what Rory thinks of it. I’m looking forward to her guest-posting about it on Between the Covers, too.


On the receiving end of things, Laura decided I should read Nada by Carmen Laforet (and you should really read her post about choosing this title because OH MY GOD SHE ALMOST MADE ME READ FIFTY SHADES OF GREY). I’m very excited about reading this (and the fact that she decided against Fifty Shades, heh), as well as posting about it on her blog. So much fun!

Happy Holidays, everyone!


  • This is such a cool idea, Heather. Enjoy the Holidays!

    • Heather

      Thank you, Celestine! You, too!

  • Amy

    I *love* this idea. And I love the book you chose – it’s such a wonderful book! I can’t wait to read all the posts discussing the choices! This is a Secret Santa I can totally get behind – who DOESN’T want book recommendations specifically picked out for them from their Secret Santa, I ask you?

    (I would kind of loved to read a post from you reviewing Fifty Shades. Because I’m evil. JUST SAYING!)

    • Heather

      It would have been an amazing funny and snarky post, that’s for sure! Haha!

  • I’m so excited you got me too, you have fabulous taste in reading. This sounds great, I even love the cover (admittedly I am a bit of a cover snob). I’m a little sad that Laura didn’t force you to read Fifty Shades, because that would’ve been funny. For the record, I’ve read it. It is absolutely as bad as everyone says – probably worse really…

  • Pingback: Just Another Secret Santa… | Fourth Street Review()

  • Saw this on Rory’s blog, too. What a fun idea.
    Merry Christmas!

  • Love this idea! And Zazen is a great choice! I’m looking forward to hearing Rory’s thoughts on it 🙂

  • I have never head of Zazen, but the story sounds thrilling so it will be interesting to see what Rory thinks about the book. By the way, I’m glad you didn’t have to read Fifty Shades of Grey.

    • Heather

      Me, too! PHEW! Hahaha!

  • She missed a great opportunity for 50 Shades of Gray 😀 But this idea is awesome! Hope he enjoys Zazen. I’ve got a request in at my local library for a copy!

    • Heather

      She really did, but a little piece of me might have died inside. Hahaha!