We have reached the second half of 2017! July 1st has brought with it clouds and mugginess here in Maine, and for readers across the United States, it has brought a new selection of books to choose from for the Book of the Month Club (BOTM). Since I’ve now been a member for six months, I’m going to show it a little love by talking about my picks, extra swag, and general thoughts about this great subscription service (this is not a sponsored post).
I honestly can’t remember how I came across the Book of the Month Club. It may have been from Book Riot or #bookstagram, but no matter how I found it, I’m glad I did. I signed up for three months at the end of November 2016, and have never looked back [except now, as I reflect on my experience].
I am not going to reiterate everything that’s on their FAQ page, because it’s pretty thorough, but I will tell you about a few of my favorite features of being a member:
- Like most subscriptions, it makes more financial sense to sign up for multiple months, rather than trying it for just one. This is great, because you receive a hardcover book for [usually] less than it would retail, and you get a little note from the judge who selected the book for BOTM.
- Every now and then you can select extra goodies to be shipped with your book, like a canvas bag (in your first box), a wine koozie, socks, and other items – the selection changes every other month or so.
- You can skip a month if the selections aren’t making a huge impression on you, and that month just gets tacked on to the months you have left so you don’t miss out.
- BOTM’s past selections are available as long as they have the inventory, so you can select books from past months to put in your box (for $9.99). Extra books, people!
- Shipping is now free for everyone! When I was first a member, you could pay $1 to have your box shipped immediately, but now it will always ship the next business day for free!
With so much to love about the Book of the Month Club, I will admit that I had one tiny gripe about it for the first couple of months. Each book is stamped, or marked, with the BOTM symbol. Now, being a reader who cherishes original covers (and damns movie-related book covers), I was a little unhappy about this. HOWEVER, I have completely moved past my silly complaint, because now I have special editions of these books, and they look so uniform on a bookshelf that my heart soars when I look at them. A little melodramatic I’ll admit, but only a little.
Now for the specifics. Below are all the books I’ve picked. In true-to-me form, I have started all of them, and finished a couple. I have also included my pick for July, which I’m really excited about. Here we go:
Whatever Happened to Interracial Love? Kathleen Collins
Short stories are my favorite things to read, and this book is filled with beautiful ones. Beautiful is such a general, non-specific word, but each story is beautiful in its own specific, exceptional way. Kathleen Collins should certainly be on your bookshelf, and in your mind.
Also received: Blue BOTM tote bag
Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk Kathleen Rooney
This is a sweet story, and if you are at all interested in reading about New York City, specifically in the 1930s, you need to pick it up. This is one of my picks that is so far unfinished.
Also received: The Grownup by Gillian Flynn (a surprise gift from BOTM)
Pachinko Min Jin Lee
A generational story of a Korean family, this is sadly one of the books I have not finished. I’m reading it slowly so I can really soak up its profound and moving story. In addition to reading her book (and short stories), I would recommend following Min Jin Lee on Instagram (she gave a “heart” to one of my #bookstagram photos – *swoon*).
Exit West Mohsin Hamid
If you have only one hour available this week, month, or year to pick up a book, this is the one. I could not put it down, and while its content is heavy, the writing is relaxed – a good balance.
I skipped April, because I wasn’t quite in love with the selections. You can see what they were here.
Since We Fell Dennis Lehane
I only kind of like this book so far; I’m finding it a little difficult to get invested in the story. That could be because I’m reading multiple other books at the same time, and those are hindering me to focus fully on this book. I will get through it…I will get through it…
Also received: BOTM wine koozie ($1)
Chemistry Weike Wang
This is now one of my favorite books. You know when you read something at the perfect moment in your life and it just shatters and builds you up all at the same time? Chemistry is one of those books for me. Also, I always admire scientists (or non-Liberal Arts individuals) who are pulled towards literature and non-scientific writing. They are a unique type of romantic, I think.
Also received: The Secret History Donna Tartt – I added this extra book to my box because I loved The Goldfinch and am longing for more writing from Donna Tartt. I have not read it yet.
Goodbye, Vitamin Rachel Khong
This is Rachel Khong’s debut novel (one of two debut novels available for selection), and both the summary and cover captivated me. I can’t wait for it to arrive!
Also selected: Reading-friendly coloring book
If you haven’t already, give Book of the Month a try. Take part in the occasional contests, connect with BOTM on Instagram, and just indulge in monthly book mail. And if you are also a member, share your favorite picks below. Happy reading!