When I was in middle school, my mother subscribed to a Harlequin Romance book club. Every month, four new mass market titles would arrive in a plain cardboard box. And, even though the books were for my mom, she graciously allowed me to open that box every month. I got to be the first person to touch the books. The covers always had a handsome man and a beautiful woman. The corners were perfect and unbent.
I would read the backs and choose which ones I would read after my mother was done with them. She was gracious enough to let me open the box, but that didn’t extend to letting me steal the books outright. The books were for her after all. (My mom didn’t care if I read smut, just so long as I was reading.)
Somewhere along the line, she discontinued the book club membership.
Recently, mostly due to COVID shutting everything down, I have rediscovered book clubs. And let me tell you, it has made my reading life so, so, so happy. Every month, it’s like receiving a little present.
I’m currently signed up for two clubs. The first is Dramatist’s Play Club — you get 7 plays every three months. Since I love theatre and since sorting through plays can be a daunting task, it’s fun to have some curated selections just thrown at me. I don’t know who or what I’m going to get. And the plays come wrapped in gold-starred tissue paper. JUST LIKE A PRESENT.
The second club is the classic Book of the Month Club. You pick out an upcoming title you’d like to read, plus any add-ons (I always add add-ons, because of course I do) and then they come to you in a bright blue box. JUST LIKE A PRESENT.
(My love language is clearly gifts.)
I’ve rediscovered the joy of books in boxes. I open those boxes and I don’t even read the books for a while. I just revel in the books themselves. Their crisp corners. Their unsullied pages (I always dog-ear and underline and otherwise malign my books — it’s a form of love). I don’t go so far as sniffing, but I do read the jackets, and the author bios, and just get to know the books.
Books in boxes = joy in boxes. Joy delivered right to my front door.
Jenny writes dark fiction that her mother hates. Her stories and essays have appeared in Across the Margin, Pantheon, Shimmer, Black Denim Lit, Skive, and others. When she’s not writing her own stuff, she’s reading mysteries for Criminal Element. When she’s not writing fiction or reviews, she’s writing/directing/performing/designing plays at Springs Ensemble Theatre.