WIN: 24 classic novels from Foyles in our 'blind date' literary competition


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The Independent Culture

You'll never be lonely with a good novel – so how generous of the literary matchmakers at Foyles bookshop to come up with a books blind-dating service for the summer holidays. Two staff at the flagship bookshop on London's Charing Cross Road have created "book personal ads" for 24 classic works of literature, picking out the particular personality traits of favourite characters in order to seduce the reader. Mrs Dalloway comes over as particularly alluring. The Great Gatsby less so …

The booksellers, Gary Perry and Rachel Darling, say that recommending a book to a customer is a big responsibility, a bit like setting them up on a blind date, which is what gave them the idea. "We took it upon ourselves to reduce some of the best-known and well-loved novels in our arsenal to personal ads, written by the book's central character – an appeal to the reader for love and attention. A full selection of titles, wrapped in brown paper with only the attached personal ad to guide the reader, is available at our Charing Cross branch. This proved rather more fun than we'd originally anticipated!"

Readers can visit the store over the summer to choose their perfect partner, and the best thing is, unlike real dating, you can casually discard a volume if you don't like it and pick another off the shelf.

Foyles has offered a full set of the 24 mystery books to one lucky Independent on Sunday reader. All you have to do is recognise five of the 24 novels from their personal ads (in gallery, above) and email their titles to by midnight on Wednesday 31 July, along with a new personal ad for your own favourite novel. The response that best combines literary nous and romance will win the lot.

Terms and conditions

Closing date for competition entries is 23.59pm on Wednesday 31 July 2013. Winners will be chosen by the Editor and the Literary Editor of The Independent on Sunday and notified by 5.30pm on Friday 2 August 2013. There is one prize. The prize is non-transferable and there is no cash alternative. When you respond, The Independent on Sunday may use your information to contact you with offers/services of interest by SMS or email. The judges' decision is final. Only one entry per household. For a full set of terms and conditions, visit