A last-minute change of heart

A last-minute change of heart

Avid readers of our blog will know that we spent most of January compiling a very long list of over 850 non-fiction books that seem, on reading the blurbs anyway, worth a closer look, although we all know blurbs can lead us astray.

Once we'd got that massive task out of the way, we turned our attention to reading with purpose for our next quarterly book box, which goes out in mid-March.

We always have a notion about what subject area we're working within and this quarter we'd pencilled in the theme 'love'. On our long list we had memoirs about heartbreak, lives lived without love, the science and psychology of love and attraction, therapists writing about desire, tales of friendships and family love, stories about dating. A really mixed bag. 

First we sifted out any that actually weren't that great, despite the enticing blurbs, usually after reading a sample online. It's actually surprising how much of a book you can read for free that way. Then we ordered a load into the library and got reading.

We rapidly agreed on one book. It's written by a journalist whose feature writing we've always enjoyed. She's incisive, brings real depth to her subjects and just has a way with words that is thoroughly enjoyable to read.

So far, so good.

And then. We couldn't find a second book we loved as much. The books by therapists about relationships were definitely interesting but we found ourselves a little aggravated by the clients they described. The science of attraction books were either too dry or too woo-woo. Some of the memoirs were excellent but we already had a memoir, so that felt a bit samey. The dating books were sometimes a bit self-indulgent and often too lightweight.

We worked through our stack from the library and ordered in a few more. But still no.

Argh. This is the stage of the process where stress levels start to rise. What. If. We. Can't. Find. A. Second. Book?

So, back to the long longlist to see what jumped out, regardless of the topic. And lo, we found our second must-include book for this quarter. 

It's a powerful and thought-provoking book by a woman who works in a field that is mostly invisible to the general public. It was fascinating, sometimes a bit upsetting, made us furious in places (on the author's behalf) and left us feeling genuinely enlightened.

Plus it made a nice punchy pair with the first book. Only problem was, it had nothing to do with love.

What it did explore, however, was loss, and so, in large part, did our first book.

Now we had to decide, was loss too downbeat? Would people be put off by the thought of a whole box on the subject?

But in reality, loss isn't just about grief or bereavement and nor is just about sorrow or regret. It's also about love, new beginnings, new perspectives and growth. There is a lot to learn from great writers looking at loss.

So we decided to go for it. We had a flash of inspiration regarding what gifts we could send - all will be revealed once our subscribers get their boxes next month - and suddenly it had all come together. 

Loss over love. Powerful writing and a chance to examine the difficult reality of the human condition at one step removed.

We're currently putting together the magazine that will go out with our book selection and we're thrilled that it includes an interview with the author of that second book. (We're still hoping we might squeeze in one with the author of the first book too).  

If you like the sound of a box that explores the theme of loss in a thought-provoking rather than gloomy way, then start a Quarterly Subscription now and we'll send you a delightfully tactile parcel of reading in March. You can always skip a subsequent box or cancel whenever you like.
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