My New Favorite Way to Find My New Favorite Books

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

I like reading. Maybe you've noticed? Growing up, I was one of those kids with my head under the covers & a flashlight in my hand as I devoured whatever book had my attention at the time, long after bedtime hours. When I was in middle school, my mom began pursuing her masters in library science; for most of my life, she's been a children's librarian, so I've spent lots & lots of time around lots & lot of books.

At the beginning of the year, I pledged to stop buying books. Why buy what I could so easily borrow for free from my local library? For the most part, I've stuck to that commitment, checking out hard copies from the Cleveland Public Library branch three blocks from my apartment & borrowing Kindle versions through Overdrive using the four library cards to my name.

But I started to miss having a small library of my own, too. Aside from my intentionally collected stack of Bret Easton Ellis novels, most of my own books weren't even ones I really liked. I cleaned out my meager bookshelf & donated more than two dozen books to my local Little Free Libraries (& a few more, recently, to this week's kickoff of Cleveland Book Week)... & wasn't left with much of my own.

Enter Book of the Month Club, a monthly subscription box... of books. OK, really just one book, unless you pay extra for more, but the gist is basically that at the start of each month, BoTM reveals five brand new, just released book choices, each reviewed & recommended by literary judges & celebrity guest judges (recently Andy Cohen & Allison Williams, for example). Based on your preferences, BoTM chooses which of the five it thinks you'll like best, but you can easily change your selection - &, if you'd like, add another (or any book from months past) for an extra $9.99.

Their books are thick, sturdy hardcovers with beautiful, colorful covers, each stamped with the BoTM logo to identify them as part of a collection. (Whenever I start reading one, I slip off the cover for safekeeping until I'm finished!) The BoTM site also includes forums on each book so you can chat with other readers. So far, books I've gotten from BoTM include Siracusa by Delia Ephron, Shrill by Lindy West, Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner, & most recently, The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer. And the company has a stellar Instagram presence.

Why am I telling you this right now? A) Because I like spreading the word about things I like, & B) If you sign up for Book of the Month Club using my referral link & the discount code FRIEND50, you can get 50% off a three-month subscription. That's a month & a half free, which frees up some cash in your wallet... to buy more books, probably, if you're anything like me.

Fine, there's a C), too: If you use my referral code, I get a free book, & basically nothing makes me happier than free books - except reading them. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to read one of my Book of the Month Club books (Modern Lovers by Emma Straub) for my upcoming book club.

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