Yahdon Israel ushered #LiterarySwag into Instagram vernacular when he founded a niche book club in Boerum Hill by the same name.
You’ve probably already heard of John Green, YouTube sensation; YA superstar; and the author of the novels The Fault in Our Stars and Paper Towns, whose movie adaptations crushed both the box office and our fragile little hearts. But maybe you haven’t heard about his latest project. Teaming up with Rosianna Halse Roja, literary critic, YouTube personality, feminist, and Green’s own personal assistant, Green has just announced his new book club, Life’s Library. Maybe you recognize the name from the Looking for Alaska passage that features the same phrase: “I’ve read maybe a third of [the books in her collection]. But I’m going to read them all. I call it my Life’s Library. Every summer since I was little, I’ve gone to garage sales and bought all the books that looked interesting. So I always have something to read.”
Image Via Playbuzz
In his YouTube announcement, Green describes his intentions in founding the book club: “reading is usually a solitary and private experience, but when you’re done with a book, it can be so fulfilling to talk about it with people.” As a group Discord is a crucial part of Green and Roja’s plans for the book club, it’s clear that a feeling of community and camaraderie is crucial to the project’s vision.
As a YouTube personality, Green is tech-savvy and used to creating content that reaches thousands and thousands of people. The video announcement itself already has over 89,000 views. But Green is interested in something more interactive, wanting to “create the experience of a slightly less open, more community oriented internet where we do and make stuff together.” Since it costs no money to access the Discord, it really is accessible to everyone.
So how does the book club work? Every six weeks, the club will pick a new book to read and discuss. There are no restrictions based on length, genre, or subject- the only rule is that the book has to be over a year old. The DFTBA webpage’s new page details the different paid book club packages (and don’t panic; there’s a way to do this for free!). For a recurring payment of $25, you get the “physical subscription,” meaning you get the digital content AND all of the stuff- think postcards, bookplates, pins, and a letter from John Green about his thoughts on the book. Stuff you probably want. The $10 subscription is also a pretty sweet deal, giving you access to the paid digital content- a reading guide with discussion questions and a podcast talking about the book. In the future, this subscription could also include digital artwork. All the proceeds go to Partners In Health, a charitable organization helping the needy access healthcare. But if you’re broke (like just about everyone) you can still have access to the Discord and the community. As for the books themselves? Well, that’s what your local library is for.
But now let’s get to the most important part. What’s the book!?
Image Via Penguin Random House
Jacqueline Woodson’s If You Come Softly, the 1998 story of an interracial relationship at a predominantly white (and rich!) prep school, is a timeless depiction of social issues prevalent in today’s world. A perfect choice for fans of breakout hit The Hate U Give, the novel follows a Jeremiah, a black student from Brooklyn, as he makes a difficult adjustment into a Manhattan private school. There he meets Ellie, a Jewish girl with demons at home that keep her from fitting in with the other privileged students. As their relationship grows stronger, so does the world’s reaction to it. The novel deftly tackles teen romance and social issues in the same breath, making it a strong first addition to Life’s Library.
John Green has one major piece of advice: if you don’t join, it won’t happen! Life’s Library will only thrive if it has members- so sign up for a paid subscription, follow the club’s new Instagram, or grab the book from your library for no cost at all.
Featured Image Via penguinrandomhouse.com
The literary world would not be the same without the wide assortment of reader archetypes: the chronological reader, the anti-reader, and most importantly the multi-tasker. The multi-tasker sounds exactly like what they are, they juggle books of different sizes and genres and commit to multiple books at once. And then there’s me — the monogamous reader. The monogamous reader is a rare, but important breed of reader that can only commit to one single book at a time, from beginning to end.
There are many struggles that come with being a reader, but none are as torturous as those of the monogamous readers. Everything from bookclubs to TBR piles to new book releases becomes a struggle when you’re in a committed relationship with one book till the very end.
Beginning with one of the most daunting problems the monogamous readers face, the never-ending TBR pile is one of the most infuriating aspects of being committed to one book. I am constantly scrolling through Goodreads or the New York Times bestsellers list and adding at least three books per browsing session. Ever since joining Goodreads back in 2012 to keep track of my ever-growing TBR list, I’ve only managed to get through 280 books out of my “shelved” 523 books.
Books that have become “overnight” bestsellers, a la Gone Girl and Girl on the Train, are always lost on monogamous readers, at least until we finish our latest book. By the time we’ve finished our current book, the hype surrounding the latest bestseller may have come and gone. No matter how many people tell me how fantastic so-and-so book is, I just can’t abandon the book I’m currently working on.
I missed out on George Saunder’s Lincoln in the Bardo and John Green’s Turtles All The Way Down because I was in the middle of Nathan Hill’s The Nix and Jeffrey Eugenides’s The Marriage Plot, respectively. Both received huge hype at the bookstore I was working at, but I liked that by the time I got to them, all the hype had died down and I was able to read and appreciate the books for what they were, without the heavy bias of the excitement surrounding them upon their release.
BOOK ? CLUBS ? ARE ? DEATH ?
I’ve been compulsively joining book clubs since I was sixteen. My favorites being those that follow the Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge list. At one point in my life, I was a part of three book clubs following the Gilmore’s reads, which equates to three (typically) gargantuan novels to read all within a thirty-day period. I can handle one book for sure, but voluntarily reading the entire works of Dorothy Parker, Moby Dick, and Othello is a bit much for my monogamous reading habits.
Living a short subway ride away from the famous Strand Books in Manhattan is dangerous. Not only am I a card swipe away from spending my life’s savings on books, I am also dangerously close to making my TBR everlasting. If I keep purchasing books at my current rate, I’ll never be able to get through all the books I own and keep obtaining.
The most heart-breaking thing of being a monogamous reader, or any reader really, is coming to terms with the fact that I’ll never be able to read all the books I want to within my lifetime. No matter how many books I’d love to read, there will always be books left unread.
Featured Image Via DML
1. Book of the Month
Before Oprah’s famous book club, there was the Book of the Month Club. Quite possibly one of the oldest book subscription services, Book of the Month Club has been around since 1926 and has been providing the nation with top picks.
What you get: Readers get to pick one Book of the Month hardcover book of your choice from a list of titles picked by BOTM judges. Along with the book, readers get access to a discussion forum, like an online book club.
Cost: Monthly – $14.99
Yearly – $149.99 (~$12.50 per book)
Promo codes?: Yes! YESPLZ for a free extra book!
2. Introverts Retreat
For those who just like to spend a night in alone instead of heading out on the town, the Introverts Retreat box is perfect. The box is exactly what it sounds like, a personal retreat for introverts or others who just want their “me time” and a good book along with it.
What you get: Readers get to choose from four different boxes:
- the regular box – includes a novel and three to four items
- the luxe box – includes a novel and up to nine pamper-perfect items
- the bath time box – includes a paperback novel, a bath bomb, bath salts, and a candle
- the girl power! box – includes a book and three to four handpicked items for teens
Cost: $24.66 – $49.99
Promo codes?: Yes! 15% off any subscription when you sign ip for their email list.
3. Cozy Reader Club
One of the easiest ways to relieve stress is to unwind with a good book and Cozy Reader Club helps readers do just that. They supply subscribers with a new book every month along with four to six items ranging from coffee and tea to gourmet treats from across the US.
Repost @crazydogmama143 ・・・ Cozy Reader Club reviews are up on the #blog! Finally. Link in bio. #cozyreaderclub #readingisthenewsexy #bookbox #bookstagram #thefemalepersuasion #megwolitzer #books #loveofbooks #subscriptionboxaddict #subscriptionbox #metime #mytime #handmade #etsy #booklove #bibliophile #bookworm #bookish #coffee #coffeetime #loveit
What you get: A monthly delivery of a book along with four to six handpicked items to help readers cozy up with their book from drinks like tea and hot chocolate to handmade items like a pair of socks.
Cost: $64.95 per month + shipping
Promo codes?: Nope 🙁
4. Once Upon A Book Club
Ever wanted to open up gifts while reading? Now you can! Once Upon A Book provides readers with a surprise book and three to five gifts to open when you reach the labeled corresponding page numbers, putting the story in reader’s hands.
What you get: Readers receive one novel along with three to five gifts, a 5×7 quote print featuring a quote from the selected book, discussion questions, and read-a-long dates for live discussion.
Price: $34.99 a month
Promo code?: Yes! 10% off with code BOOKNERD
5. Owl Crate
Owl Crate brings readers the absolute best in upcoming young adult literature every month. Each box is built with a creative and fun theme with items included in the box to match.
What you get: Readers get one upcoming young adult novel along with three to five bookish items that fit the theme of the box, with items in past boxes ranging from scented wax melts to weekly planners. Each book also comes with an exclusive letter from the author along with a signed bookplate.
Price: $29.99 + shipping
Promo code?: Nope 🙁
Featured Image Via My Subscription Addiction
I don’t want to sound all biased, but I have to say that bookworms are some of the best people on earth. Yes that is a big statement, but I think we can all agree that it’s a fact. We’re intellectual, funny, kind, emotional, and we can blow through 700 pages in about four days. What’s not to love?
You know you do this one. When we have the time to sit and read for a while, the mood in the air sort of changes depending on how the story is going. If it’s a sad part, everything around you seems more gray, when it’s happy the day feels hopeful. Even something more sensual can change your mood for the whole day (wink, wink, nudge, nudge). When you finally have to reenter the real world and put your book down the feelings of your character linger. You’re in deep my friend.
2. In a way, we all feel like we’re in our very own novel.
Our eyes don’t just look over the pages. We’re not amateurs. We absorb things, break them down, turn them around, change the angle, and analyze them for all they’re worth. This goes for books and all life scenarios. I for one can’t help myself; my need to break things down and find underlying meanings is actually annoying. But hey, it’s who we are right?
We get people because we have to! How could we read through a whole book if we were close-minded about other people’s feelings and points of view? A bookworm wants to be the one to simplify and give depth to a situation at the very same time. They understand how you’re feeling better than you do sometimes. Expect to be enlightened because of us.
Maybe not everyone agrees on these, but I’ll say this much: I never met a bookworm I didn’t like.
Featured Image Via Unsplash Ali Morshediou