For my most recent birthday, I was gifted something most bookworms dream about: the gift of free books arriving on my doorstep! This gift takes the form of a Literary YA book box. It was given via Quarterly for one year. I will receive a box of books (and other bookish things) every three months for twelve months. Eeee! The first one arrived (finally!) two weeks ago.
Finally, I had the time to go through it. Believe you me, it took a lot of restraint to wait this long!
This particular Quarterly book box was curated/hand-selected by YA author, Beth Revis.
Take a look inside with me!
A World Without You
by Beth Revis
I opened the package unaware that these book boxes would be packed by actual authors. At first, I was slightly miffed that the author would include her own book (self-promote-y much?) but then I stowed my cynicism. What’s wrong with that? Of course we want authors to self-promote! Isn’t that what sites like mine are all about? And what am I complaining about anyway? It’s free!
Second, when I first opened the package and took this book out, I didn’t even notice the author’s annotated notes within the pages. I’ll be interested to see whether I read this as I go through the book or not. I generally hate to have any outside influences on me when I read a book for the first time, especially the author’s own notes, but I may just give them a chance. We shall see.
Third, A World Without You is intriguing, though I’m not sure it’s the type of book I would have picked out myself, at least not at this point in my life. Certainly, had it come out when I was 16 and slightly obsessed with this sort of subject matter, I would have jumped at it. A World Without You is about a boy dealing with mental illness, his particular “brand” being that he believes himself to have superpowers. To be honest, the front flap reads a bit like a movie trailer: it gives a little too much away for my taste. Hopefully there’s plenty left to discover through reading the book.
I’m looking forward to reading this one as it’s been a while since I read more contemporary-leaning YA; lately the YA I have read has been straight science fiction or fantasy.
by Meg Wolitzer
When I read the author’s name I knew it was familiar but couldn’t pinpoint it. Then I realized this is the author who wrote The Interestings. I never actually read that book, but I always meant to. So that’s something. The synopsis of Belzhar doesn’t grab me quite like The Interestings did, but a praise quote on the back makes me want to give it a chance. The quote, offered by the New York Times Book Review, reads that Blezhar “celebrates the…transcendent power of reading and writing.” I’m willing to give any book a chance that’s touted as able to do such a thing.
The End or Something Like That
by Ann Dee Ellis
The End or Something Like That is about a pair of friends, one with a chronic heart condition,who plan to stay in touch even after death. This to me sounds like it could make for a great sitcom. The back cover quotes make it sound like this is a witty and charming read so I’m hoping a get a little bit of that sitcom humor, especially since the theme of this book box has been mottled with grief and death. This is probably the most likely of the three books that I would have bought myself at this point in my life. When I was younger, I was all about the heartbreak and sorrow YA, but now I appreciate a little humor with my sadness.
You can’t go wrong with photo displays. This one is a long cable with magnets to attach the pictures with. I’ve actually been looking for a vertical photo display to replace one that broke, so this came at the perfect time. The problem with this item was that it didn’t have a clear bookish reason for inclusion in the box. After scanning the interview with Revis, I learned that she included it because it has some relation to her book A World Without You. We’ll see if I pick up on it when I read the book.
My only worry about this gift is my cat mistaking it for a new toy!
Emily Dickinson Quotable Notable
I am certainly one to collect and use blank cards. This is an unusual one for me because it’s actually shaped like, and bears the likeness of, Emily Dickinson. Not my usual choice. I do like that it’s blank and that the pack includes Emily Dickinson quotes to use should I so choose. Now to decide who to write to (always the problem!).
Although the theme of this book box was surprising — and a bit sadder than expected — I’m pleased with the first round. I look forward to my new reads (and to my next book box!).