The Beautiful Book Company subscription – review

The Beautiful Book Company subscription – review

by Suswati Basu

What to expect when you’re getting great new reads as part of The Beautiful Book Company subscription and a very special offer from us

There’s something deeply satisfying about holding a solid book in your hand. Whether it’s because it reminds you of something special in your life or how it makes you feel, book subscriptions have become increasingly popular despite an ongoing cost of living situation.

More and more people looked towards collective hobbies during the pandemic and what better than joining a reading community without ever leaving your home?

Hence I was fortunate enough to receive a six month subscription for The Beautiful Book Company, who believe that “there is nothing better than the look, feel and smell of a physical book, whether you’re opening it for the first time, or pulling it off the bookshelf to devour for the twentieth time”.

Over the past year, six books were individually picked based on my specific interests by a ‘literary expert’, which included nonfiction, self-help, memoirs, my guilty pleasure of top literary fiction as well as my personal favourites – political and social affairs.

With it came a card detailling The Beautiful Book Company subscription and who it is from, a gift card with a handwritten gift message included), a bookmark, and a book plate, all presented in a white box. And whilst I never had to test this particular theory, they say if you receive a book you’ve already read, you can swap it or alternatively they will provide a monthly spoiler service.

The price of a three month subscription is £39.99, a six month subscription is £74.99, and a year-long subscription is usually £129.99.

So why would you even get a book subscription?

Well for one, we’re all leading unbelievably busy lives these days, and even though you may be a bookworm, you just don’t know where to start with the millions of books on offer. Besides getting any kind of subscription is almost like a self-care gift. Every month you treat yourself to something tailored just to you.

And of course you do wonder why on earth would you break the bank for any monthly subscription these days? Well you get to save time for one, finding the best novels and nonfiction without doing the legwork. Because reading will always help you keep expanding your mind, travelling without ever having to leave your bed / sofa / book nook (delete as necessary!)

So without further ado, here’s a list of books received from The Beautiful Book Company as part of the subscription.

The six books received in order:

1. The first book was from journalist Bess Kalb’sNobody Will Tell You This But Me“. This 2020 memoir talks about the time Kalb saved every voicemail message her grandmother Bobby – her best friend, her confidante – ever left until the day she died.

In this vivid account, Bobby’s voice is still in the author’s head. Stubborn, glamorous, larger than life, she gives Kalb advice on everything from lipsticks to life partners and tells the history that made them both. These are the truths – full of devotion, killer instincts and hard-won wisdom – that grandmothers gift us even when they hurt, and even once they’re gone.

2. “An Extra Pair of Hands: A Story of Caring and Everyday Acts of Love” is written by the formidable Kate Mosse. Usually known for writing historical fiction, Mosse turns to memoir writing as she begins caring for her father and mother, and for Granny Rosie, her 90-year-old mother-in-law. Along the way she experienced the joys, challenges and frustrations shared by an invisible army of carers.

At the heart of this care lie everyday acts of love, and the realisation that, sooner or later, most of us will come to rely on an extra pair of hands.

3. “Less“, a fictional novel by Andrew Sean Greer is a satirical comedy that follows writer Arthur Less while he travels the world on a literary tour to numb his loss of the man he loves.

This 2018 Pulitzer Prize winner for fiction takes a look at the American abroad. It is a rumination on time and the human heart, a bittersweet romance of chances lost, by an author The New York Times has hailed as “inspired, lyrical,” “elegiac,” “ingenious,” as well as “too sappy by half”. Less shows a writer at the peak of his talents raising the curtain on our shared human comedy.

4. “The Louder I Will Sing: A Story of Racism, Riots and Redemption” is a moving experience relived by Lee Lawrence and won the 2020 Costa Biography Award.

On September 28 1985, Lawrence’s mother Cherry Groce was wrongly shot by police during a raid on her South London home. The bullet shattered her spine and she never walked again. In the chaos that followed, the 11-year-old writer watched in horror as the news falsely pronounced his mother dead. In Brixton, already a powder keg because of the deep racism that the community was experiencing, it was the spark needed to trigger two days of rioting that saw buildings brought down by petrol bombs, cars torched and shops looted.

But for Lawrence, it was a spark that lit a flame that would burn for the next 30 years as he fought to get the police to recognise their wrongdoing. His life had changed forever: he was now his mother’s carer, he had seen first-hand the prejudice that existed in his country, and he was at the mercy of a society that was working against him. And yet that flame – for justice, for peace, for change – kept him going.

The Louder I Will Sing is a powerful, compelling and uplifting memoir about growing up in modern Britain as a young Black man. It’s a story both of people and politics, of the underlying racism beneath many of our most important institutions, but also the positive power that hope, faith and love can bring in response.

5. The fifth book in the subscription is “After the Storm: Postnatal Depression and the Utter Weirdness of New Motherhood” by Emma Jane Unsworth.

Six months after the birth of her son, Unsworth found herself in the eye of a storm. Nothing – from pregnancy to birth and beyond – had gone as she expected. Furious and exhausted, her life was the complete opposite of what it used to be. How did she end up here?

In this brave, vital account of postnatal depression, Unsworth tells her story of despair and recovery. She tackles the biggest taboos around motherhood and mental health, from botched stitches and bleeding nipples to anger and shame. How does pregnancy adapt our brains? Is postnatal depression a natural reaction to the trauma of modern motherhood? And are people’s attitudes finally changing? After the Storm is a celebration of survival, holding out a hand to women everywhere.

6. The final book from The Beautiful Book Company is Nathan Harris‘ book “The Sweetness of Water” which was longlisted for the 2021 Booker Prize.

The synopsis reads: “Landry and Prentiss are two brothers born into slavery, finally freed as the American Civil War draws to its bitter close. Cast into the world without a penny to their names, their only hope is to find work in a society that still views them with nothing but intolerance.”

Farmer George Walker and his wife Isabelle are reeling from a loss that has shaken them to their core. After a chance encounter, they agree to employ the brothers on their land, and slowly the tentative bonds of trust begin to blossom between the strangers.”

But this sanctuary survives on a knife’s edge, and it isn’t long before a tragedy causes the inhabitants of the nearby town to turn their suspicion onto these new friendships, with devastating consequences.”

Overall, it has been a pleasure receiving some books that may have missed my radar, that also reflect my interests. The experts clearly did a great job in curating so hats off to them.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

At the How To Be…Books channel we love paying kind deeds forward. So if you want to be the receiver of these goodies and get a bargain, use the code: howtobe10 for 10% off The Beautiful Book Company website – it’s available until July 2.

This article contains affiliate links in which we receive a small commission. We have not been commissioned to review books and services.

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