Have you ever been on a blind date?
No, well I have, just recently in fact, and I have to say I was quite impressed with the pairing I received.
Now, before you judge this is not a blind date in the typical sense but something a bit different.
Yes, I still have to make a few selections – I had to tell them what I would like from my blind date, what my most memorable dates have been so far and whether there was anything else they should know about me.
If fact, I would go as far as saying that the whole process was rather straight-forward and very stress-free.
But how did my blind date website differ from the numerous other online dating forums out there, determined to find you your perfect match?
My blind date was not actually one of the romantic kind, but one of bookish nature.
Confused? Unsure whether or not I have now completely lost the plot?
Well, let me explain.
Why Did I Go On a Book Blind Date?
Pebblewise, located in North Wales, is a second-hand bookshop with a twist. It is not a physical bookshop but a virtual one that arranges a book blind date for its customers.
Sounds strange I know but how many times have you wandered into a bookshop or searched online for something different to read-only to come away with something similar to the hundreds of other books you already have sitting at home in your To Be Read Pile?
As bookworms, we are unfortunately creatures of habit. We say we are going to read everything we own before buying anything else only to walk down the high street and fall headfirst into the nearest book-filled shop we can find. We then convince ourselves we are only going to look before walking away with a bag crammed full of new reads, some of which we will probably never read but of course, had to have because either someone had mentioned how good it was, it was causing some sort of controversy in book club groups or heaven-forbid we fell for it because it had an inviting cover.
Yes, I know. It is an infliction and we are weak.
Pebblewise, however, is different. Think back to the ways of LOVEFILM before technology intervened. We use to put an order in, wait for it to arrive and then spend the next couple of weeks binge-watching the TV series or film before sending it back free of charge to the company.
Pebblewise, whilst it has some differences, works on a slightly similar idea.
Pebblewise is a book box subscription site with the flexibility to also choose a one-off purchase. After all, how many of us subscribe to something only to end up hating it and feeling like it is a waste of money – go on, hands up who has a 12-month gym membership and has only been maybe twice in the last quarter, thought so!!
Therefore, whether you just want a one-off delivery or would prefer to commit yourself to a monthly influx of reading material, the choice is completely yours.
After that you then need to narrow down what you do and don’t like, giving examples of some of your all-time favourite reads and then leave it up to the wonderful team over at Pebblewise to find the perfect date for you.
Was Pebblewise a Success?
After I had got over the initial panic of control being taken away from me – yes, I know sometimes it is good for others to make a decision – I started to get a bit excited, wondering what on earth they might send through to me.
My normal go-to genre is crime fiction and therefore if I was to wander into a bookshop and see a new bestseller on the stands by someone like Val McDermid, Mel Sherratt, Chris Brookmyre or Barbara Nadel I would never second guess my purchase. I have even been known to see a book by one of my favourite authors and not even read the back blurb before sauntering over to the check out to purchase it.
So, to say that I was a little bit nervous about what might arrive was a slight understatement but, nevertheless I was intrigued to see whether they really could match a book to my tastes with just a few simple questions being answered.
I really didn’t have to wait long to find out.
Within days my blind date landed on the doormat, nicely wrapped up in blue tissue paper so I was unable to see the contents straight away. Before actually opening it, I did chat with Paul about what kind of book Pebblewise would be sending me through but neither of us predicted that it would be a historical crime novel – something that I have very rarely read before.
Unsure whether or not I was going to enjoy it, I placed the book to one side and decided to spend a bit of time researching the author before delving in-between the pages.
Tessa Harris is an author that I am ashamed to say I had never heard of before receiving a copy of her very first novel, The Anatomist’s Apprentice. Graduating from Oxford and with a background in journalism, she is someone that, by all accounts has spent her entire career writing and yet, she was someone that I had never stumbled upon before.
Well, all I can say is that thanks to Pebblewise I now have a new author added to my list of favourites.
Was it a book I fell in love with from the start, however? Definitely not, it was clearly well written but it was also hard going and sometimes after a long day at work all I want to do is relax with an easy-going light-read (and before anyone says can crime be light-hearted, of course, it can – cozy crime novels allow for just that kind of mood). However, after the first few chapters, I was hooked and had finished the book within a matter of days – always a good sign in my opinion. What I would say is that this was a book I had to nurture the relationship with and let it grow rather than trying to decide straight away whether it was or wasn’t a suitable match for me.
Would I Go On a Book Blind Date Again?
Without any doubt, this is possibly the best way to discover new authors and genres to read. I had often seen bookshops advertising a blind date book, where they are wrapped up in brown paper to hide their covers, but had always chickened out at the last minute in favour of a title that I could see.
Pebblewise, doesn’t allow for that choice. Being online, there is no other option available to you and therefore you have to go with what they pick for you and whilst this may seem a bit difficult for some out there, trust me, it really has opened my eyes to a new way of picking novels moving forward.
If you are struggling to find a new author to enjoy or hate the idea of walking into a bookshop and not having full autonomy to pick a title for yourself, I wholeheartedly recommend Pebblewise. Not having thousands of books in front of me to choose from meant that the decision of which book to pick was taken away from me and honestly, now I have experienced it once, I would happily do it again.
Have you been on a Book Blind Date before? I would love to hear about your experiences – good or bad.
I did get a complimentary book from Pebblewise in order to review the service for all of my readers. As always, all views and opinions are based solely on the experience I have had.