So, after months of pining, planning, and some light internet stalking, you're finally ready to ask your crush out on a first date. They're cute. They're smart. They like to read. Thinking about them makes your palms all sweaty. How do you craft a casual, fun date that simultaneously communicates, "I am an interesting person who like books," and "I would like to put my mouth on your mouth"? Here are a few bookish first date ideas that go beyond grabbing coffee at the Barnes & Noble.
Now, sure, there are plenty of great literary date ideas out there... but you're probably not going to be building a reading nook together on date number one. Let's also save dressing up as fictional characters or writing each other poetry for a couple months down the road. You're looking for something low-pressure and literary, so you have time to get to know each other and geek out over your shared obsession. Something just a little more exciting than staring at each other over dinner, listing your siblings.
So, whether you're romancing an old friend or meeting a brand new person from a swipe-based app, here are a few ways to bond over books:
1Go to a reading or book signing
Look up the literary events at your local bookstore, and chances are you'll find something to spark your interest. You could even check out a poetry reading at that one hip coffee shop with the reclaimed wooden tables, if that's more up your alley. Plus, if you both buy the same book at a book signing, you're guaranteed to have something to talk about on date number two.
2Check out a used bookstore
For a slightly more casual, I-have-work-in-the-morning kind of first date, go to a used bookstore together. You can help each other search for hidden treasures, make fun of the vintage kids' books, and secretly harvest information on what kind of books this cute person likes to read. Plus, supporting local, independent booksellers is always sexy.
3See the latest book-based blockbuster
Movies can be a little dicey as a first date. I mean, you are essentially sitting in the dark next to a stranger for two hours. But, if there's a big movie out that's based on a book you've both read, make a date of seeing the film and then vigorously critiquing it over ice cream right after. Nothing says "romance" like bonding over how the book was so much better.
4Make literary cocktails
Looking for more of a "drinks at home" kind of first date? Add a slight twist by serving literary cocktails. Make your guest a pint of Butterbeer or a Tequila Mockingbird, or get creative and come up with your own bookish beverage (just try it out yourself before you inflict it on your date).
5Explore the library
I know, I know—going to the library doesn't exactly sound like a hot date night. But if you can't afford to spend a bundle on books, pick out some library books together for free. Or pick out books for each other, and then review your findings over drinks afterwards.
6Go hunting for literary locales
Go on a literary pub crawl, or a walking tour of literary spots in your city. Even if you don't live in a big city, look up the closest author museum, and make a day trip of it. No bookworm can resist seeing places from their favorite book in real life.
7Steal a date idea from your favorite book
Love The Great Gatsby? Take your date to a '20s-style speakeasy, or go out swing dancing. More of a Jane Austen fan? Try ballroom dancing lessons. Both huge dorks for science fiction? Take your first date to the planetarium, and then bond over how Larry Niven is criminally underrated.
8Head to a literary trivia night
If you enjoy showing off your English major knowledge in a public setting, make a date for a literary trivia night in your area. You'll both get to prove your brook cred without sneaking humble brags into the conversation.
9Donate books together
I know you love your books like your own children, but every book-lover needs to free up some shelf space once in a while. Collect the books that you know you're never going to read again, and make a date out of donating them to a good cause. Then you can always go book shopping together, to fill up all that new shelf space you have.
We all know that the best way to get to know someone is through their book recommendations. Plan a simple dinner or coffee date, but agree to each bring books to swap (and if you hate their favorite book, you still have time to reconsider this whole dating thing). You can discuss each other's books on the second date, or even keep up the book swapping as you get to know each other.