The What Happens In Storytime… site recently suggested an interesting idea which was meant for fellow librarians, but which would also be a fun group book-swap idea. (And the librarians who read this blog–of which there seem to be a surprising number–can obviously use it in its unaltered form as well.)
It’s a super-simple idea, and is essentially a book exchange with a Secret Santa element: The books are all wrapped in plain paper, so you don’t know what you’ve gotten until you take it home and unwrap it.
To do this with a group of friends, ask everyone to bring a book they’ve enjoyed reading wrapped in plain brown paper (or gift wrap if they’re feeling fancy). Ask them to put their name and contact information on a label inside the book if they want it returned after reading (although this would probably work most smoothly if the participants didn’t expect to get their books back). Have everyone choose a book from the pile, then you can have a mass-unwrapping and see what new thing you all have to read.
Limiting the books to a particular theme–such as horror–would reduce the chances of someone getting a book they have no interest in at all. The other option would be to ask everyone to write their book’s genre on the outside of the wrapper to help the selection process.
This would be a great (and easy and cheap) excuse for an informal get-together with a bunch of friends. And as a bonus, everybody gets a new book to read.