Friday Reads: How to Read Three Books at Once


Image: Detail shot of a pencil bag with the words “So many books, so little time.”

A wild RECURRING POST appears! (Hint: Use FOLLOW, it’s super effective)

Bailey Poland, author of Haters: Harassment, Abuse, and Violence Online, does a weekly #fridayreads on Twitter, and I love following it. She RTs dozens of really interesting-sounding books every week, which is good for my reading horizons but bad for my TBR list, bookshelves, and wallet. (Full disclosure: I have not yet read Poland’s book.)

So, in the spirit of creating More Content, I’d like to start a weekly Friday Reads post of my own. Now that I’ve moved Tuesday Reviews Day to every-other-week, it’s much easier to stay ahead of schedule on reviews, but it makes it a bit harder to share what I’m reading with you in real time. I do have the Goodreads widget in the left rail, but this will give me a chance to expand on that a little more, without making you wait weeks for a full review.

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Tuesday Reviews Day: Book Riot’s Quarterly Boxes

Earlier this year, I discovered the wonder that is Book Riot‘s Quarterly box. Quarterly, if you haven’t heard of it, is a subscription service that curates boxes for all sorts of interests. If you’re into cooking, fashion, music, books, or something else, there’s probably a box for you. They’re all reasonably priced, though the exact amount you can expect to spend depends on which box you sign up for.

I signed up in time for Box #06, which shipped in March of this year. I liked it, but then Book Riot announced a new Young Adult-themed box. I wanted it as well, but sadly, I missed the cutoff for its first box. It’s posted on their site in case you’d like to see the wonder that I missed out on.

I decided to get one more Book Riot box and the Young Adult box #02, compare the two, and ultimately choose one.

So here is Book Riot #07. The contents included two novels: Smarter Than You Think and The Word Exchange; a literary genre map printed on high quality paper and packaged safely in a poster tube; a bag organizer (it’s basically a board with a basketweave pattern of elastic bands, capable of holding pens, makeup, and other small but useful items that might tumble to the bottom of your handbag or backpack.). It also comes with a letter from the curators, and this box even contained a letter that accompanies The Word Exchange. I didn’t read the curator letter first, so I read the novel accompaniment before I knew what it was. If it contains spoilers, I don’t know it yet.


Book Riot 07

I’ll be completely honest and tell you, because I haven’t been in a reading mood lately, I haven’t made it down my TBR list to the selections in this box. But they look really interesting; The Word Exchange even looks very 1984-esque, which is right up my alley. I’m not normally a non-fiction fan, but the non-fiction selection here also looks interesting.

The subscription costs $50 and ships out four times a year (hence the name). I’ve gotten two of these now, and based on both boxes it appears that for the cost, you get two novels and two or three bookish novelty items, plus the curator letter. I think it’s worth it, especially if you’re more likely to read non-fiction selections. I do read non-fiction occasionally, but in general it isn’t my bag. I’ll be reading the two I got from my two boxes, but they probably won’t take priority over the fiction choices on my TBR list. The price does seem to even out, though I think the real draw here is that the books aren’t ones I’d heard of or would have sought out, so it’s nice in that it’s already broadening my horizons.

Of course, my tastes in books tend toward young-adult genres, so once I found out about the Young Adult subscription box, I wanted to try it too, and compare the two.

Book Riot Young Adult #02

Book Riot Young Adult #02

Book Riot: Young Adult Box #02 contained three novels: Everything Leads to You, Chasing Shadows, and A Sense of the Infinite. It also featured an adorable book light, A Sense of the Infinite-themed postcards and signed bookplate, and a pack of notecards that look like old school library checkout cards in a variety of colors. And of course, the curator letter.

I’m so excited about this box, you guys. I was devastated to see the amazing contents I missed out on from the first Young Adult box, and this one so far appears to be an excellent follow-up. Again, I haven’t read any of these books yet because I only just got the box a few days ago, and my TBR list is woefully long. It helps that all three of these books fit into my reading challenge, plus Chasing Shadows actually incorporates graphic novel elements. I’ve really only ever read one or the other, so I’m looking forward to checking out the combination here.

I think the biggest thing this box has going for it is the diversity. Not only are these authors all women, one is non-white and another is homosexual. The reading challenge I’m taking has made me more attentive to this, and my reading experience is so much better for it. As I noted in my quick post yesterday, I never fully understood how narrowly I was reading until suddenly I wasn’t. I can already tell this box is going to encourage me to read broadly even after the year-long challenge comes to an end.

Again, this box comes in at $50 a package, so you’re looking at a total of $200 per year no matter which box you choose. It sounds like a lot, but I would almost guarantee I spend that amount on books each year regardless.

All in all, both the regular Book Riot box and the Book Riot Young Adult box are good values. They’ve got excellent book selections from a wide variety of genres and authors, but they also both feature cute yet practical novelty items. They’re not things I might have bought for myself, but to me, that’s really the point of these boxes. If you’re more open to nonfiction choices, the classic Book Riot box is probably for you. But if you tend toward YA genres, you’ll more likely get more out of the Young Adult box. At $50 per box, I really feel that the Young Adult, at least this time around, was a better value, given that it contained three novels, but that may not always be the case. I personally was so happy with the YA box that I actually canceled my subscription to the classic version. I just think it’s a better fit for my personal interests. But ultimately, either one is a good choice, especially for avid readers looking to expand their horizons.

Are you signed up for any bookish or nerdy subscription boxes? Tell me about it below!