Before finally going to my family home in August (after six months of not seeing my mum) I succumbed and ordered subscriptions for three book boxes. One of the was with How Novel. It was the first to arrive, as I signed up just before their cut off date for book selection.
The premise is simple, but actually interesting: each month you can pick form a list of four books. But you don’t know what they are, what you do have is four words and four hand drawn icons describing the book. You can see them below, as the book arrives wrapped in its ‘description’ with a handwritten note from your new Pen Pal. They also include a card for you to write them back. I like the very personal feeling it gives and as a long life fan of writing letters I appreciate the chance to send someone a handwritten note and receive one. Here’s how it looks like.
I admit my heart sunk a bit when I unwrapped the book. It looks like a romance…and there’s little I like less than romance. I mean a book described by The Sun as ‘warm and tender’ sends shivers down my spine. But hey! That’s the fun with mystery boxes. So dutifully I started reading.
Lizzie James is kind of happy in her life, she has a steady office job, is still friends with her high school friend, regularly sees her family. But she’s also ridden with anxiety, and generally avoids crowds and going out. Her perfect weekend is spent locked at home. But then her regular and organized life is broken by the arrival of a letter from a man she last saw when they were teenagers. Now this was where I lost hope. What else can it be but a romance?!
I’ll stop diving into the plot now, not to spoil it for you. But I was pleasantly surprised. It’s not, by any means, the best book I read this year, It suffers a bit from touchy-feelyness. But it also tackles issues that should be discussed more broadly. It is at times funny, at times a bit too slow moving. It’s certainly a mix, but I was pleasantly surprised. It definitely went against my expectations. Now I’m looking forward to my next box to see how this will catch me off guard.
Have you tried any book subscription boxes? Did you like them?