Literary Quote of the Month

"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies," said Jojen. "The man who never reads lives only one." - George R.R. Martin, A Dance With Dragons

Sunday, December 9, 2018

The Sunday Salon (or Should I say The Snow Day Salon) and Surprise Boxes...

Welcome to The Sunday Salon! Or should I call it the Snow Day Salon, because here in South Carolina we got snow! Yes, moving from Connecticut did not help me avoid all that white stuff, but now that I'm retired, that white stuff looks awful pretty!

What doesn't look awful is South Carolina! We are still settling in in our new home. The people I've met are so friendly and I'm loving where we live!  I don't think we'll ever get through all these moving boxes though, but we've got dining room chairs now, so we can sit down and eat, and we've got most of our furniture in place so that we can relax. Of course I did manage to get some bookcases up and filled, and have more books I need to find places for. In the meantime, as the weather has cooled off and I feel more like lounging around the house than gardening in the cold and snow, I turn to reading and surprises (like snow in the South)...

Over the past few months, I decided that it might be fun to give BOTM a try. Yes, Book of The Month Club is still thriving and after a zillion questions to their customer service representative, I signed up to see how it went. Some of the questions I had were... Are your books "the same" as the books I would buy in the bookstore? Meaning are these edited in any way or abridged. The answer I received was no. I had always thought that they were indeed BOTM "versions", but was happy to find out differently. (Maybe I was thinking of the Readers Digest condensed versions) I was also told that the dust jackets were BOTM covers, thus a pretty little graphic indicating this was a Book of the Month selection. Okay, that bothered me a little because it kind of defaces the cover in my opinion. (stickers on books with "autographed by..." also are one of my pet peeves as well as "movie edition" jackets). So for 14.99, I signed up for BOTM, which entitled me to select from their 5 "books of the month" and/or some other customer favorites from past months. I also got credit for an additional selection for free.

In my first order of BOTM club selections, I received...

Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty (which was nominated for this years best fiction category for the Goodreads Choice Awards) and Every Breath by Nicholas Sparks. Both books I wanted to read. And a short time later, my books arrived in the mail. It was a treat to open up the BOTM and fish out the books. But these weren't "surprises", I had picked them out, although it felt like it was a "surprise" box. It was fun getting these books in the mail. It was more fun than ordering from Amazon, but I really don't know why. And I decided that I would check out the next months selections. If I don't care for any of the choices, I can simply pass on that month and wait to see what next month will bring. Some of these choices will be before they are in the stores, which I thought would be fun too. I did make a selection for next month, which is One Day in December by Josie Silvers, which seemed a cute romance. But as much as I love getting surprises in the mail, and how fun it seemed to get this BOTM club selection box, I should have checked the Big "A" for it
first. This book was published in October in paperback and the current price is $10.60. A substantial savings from my hardcover BOTM club edition, which I would cancel had it not been shipped a few days ago. Oh well, live and learn. I would feel better if I had paid that at an Indie bookstore.

So NOW let's talk about REAL surprise boxes... There is a trend these days for "boxes". Boxes that people fill up for you and send you. Surprise boxes also known as "Subscription Boxes".And don't we all love a surprise!? Sometimes that is... There are subscription boxes for almost anything you can think of... beauty, food, socks, dog toys, cookware, clothes, crafts, sewing. You name it, there is more than likely some kind of subscription box.

I have tried The Quarterly Book Box, now defunct, by Book Riot, which was filled with a few books and swag. At the time I opened that first box, Here's my review from 2014, I liked the two books I received and the mug, and on a whole I liked all the little things that came in the box, but I didn't feel like it was worth $50, which was the cost. And that's the problem with some of these subscription boxes... would you have better spent the money picking out books yourself? BOTM club seems to be the most reasonable of the subscription boxes I found recently. You basically get a book delivered to your house for about what it would cost at the bookstore on sale. And you can add another book from their choices for $9.99. And finally, if you don't see anything from their selections of the month, you can pass.

If you're curious as to what "Book Subscription Boxes" are out there, here are two great resources...

My Subscription Addiction, founded by Liz Cadman, who was searching for subscription boxes and reviews herself. When she came up short, she decided she'd create a place for just that, and My Subscription Addiction was born. Here is a list of Best Book Subscriptions of 2018 from that site.

Cratejoy, is another great "Box Subscription Warehouse", where search for the type of subscription box you are looking for and actually subscribe through the website. When I checked out the Book Subscriptions, there were over 150 of them! Here's the link to those listings! And included in some of those listings were boxes with used books, bringing the price of those subscription boxes quite a bit lower. I have no idea where they get their used books or what kind of condition they would be in, but it's an interesting choice. Used Books Monthly is one of those used book boxes and for $9.99 a month you get two books in a genre that you choose. The reviews have been good and I don't see any complaints about the condition of the books.

Would you try a Book Subscription Box? 
And if you have already, what did you like/dislike?

Weekly Recap...
I added to my 7 Days of Favorite Books this week with Wild by Cheryl Strayed and Eternal on The Water by Joseph Monninger.   Days 1, 2 & 3 included Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen, Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett, Dracula in Love by Karen Essex. Next week we'll wrap it up with the last two "Favorite" books. But remember these are NOT my ONLY favorite books! (Ain't that the truth!)

Friday began with First Lines Friday! Follow the link to see what great first lines we shared and what book it was! All I can say it was purrfect!

And one final thought for today... First Book of the Year! 
Every year I start off by reading a book. Of course the first book we read for the year would be the first book of the year, BUT I try and choose a really great book to start the reading year right. My 2018 choice was Still Me by Jojo Moyes, and what a great read that was (here's my review)! It actually won the Goodreads Readers Choice Award for best fiction book of the year.

You have 23 days to figure out your book if you'd like to join in on the fun! I'll remind you when we get to that last week in December, but I've chosen my book and you'll have to stop by Dec. 31st to find out what it is!

Do You Pick a Special Book for Your First Book of the Year?

Until next week... Happy reading, Suzanne

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