Here’s how it’s played: Everyone draws a number from a hat – which establishes the order for picking from the wrapped books we’ve all brought.
The person who drew number one goes first, picking a wrapped book. Number two can either steal the first player’s book or choose a wrapped one. It goes on from there until the ninth person has a book.
Then it gets more interesting.
Player one, who didn’t have the option to steal the first time, can steal any book on the table. Then comes a flurry of book thievery and laughter.
This year’s most purloined prize? The Love Songs of W.E. Dubois, by Honorée Fanonne Jeffers, with a surprising local contender as this year’s runner up, Lost Department Stores of San Francisco, by Anne Evers Hitz.
There are no hard feelings because we share books with each other throughout the year. I was lucky enough to get the Lost Department Stores book, which several of us who grew up in the Bay Area coveted.
Will I share it? Maybe!