My father and I would give each other novels by Roth, Bellow, and Updike for Christmas. (This was the late 70s.) I might give him a Bellow novel and receive from him an Updike novel, or vice-versa. Then we would pass along the novel to be read by the giver of the gift as well. Once, we gave each other the same Updike novel at the same time, and so we had two copies of this novel in the house. I don't remember giving or receiving a novel by Malamud.
I can't say when this exchange of novels came to an end. We exchanged other gifts, later, but not in the same predictable pattern.
As so often, it's a little difficult to ascertain your attitude toward the elements of the story. I've often told the anecdote of a Valentine's Day fifteen years or so ago, when my wife and I independently bought each other chocolate at the same shop. But at least I stand by my taste for chocolate (and regret the passing of the Joseph Schmidt shop).
I was going for a deadpan Lydia Davis feel. Maybe it didn't come off very well.
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