Get ready to nerd out on books. Reading was never enjoyable for me growing up. Literature classes were the hardest for me until Cliff Notes and Spark Notes were introduced. It’s not that I didn’t like reading, it was mostly because I had to read them as part of the curriculum. I recognize that it’s part of my personality (my stubbornness) that if I have to do something, I don’t want to do it. Sometimes, I simply won’t. Same goes for peer pressure. I just have to want to do something.
This really applies to many parts of my life and I’m sure many of you can relate. When I went snowboarding with my friends for the first time many, many years ago, I, just like 100% of all others learning how to snowboard, just couldn’t get it for the life of me. Boarding my way down like a leaf meant falling every other slide. I was frustrating. My friend stuck with me the entire time (bless him) while his girlfriend and other friends were snowboarding all around us. Finally, out of my frustration, and for the sake of our friendship (i.e. before the F-Bombs start vomiting out of my mouth), I asked him nicely to just go meet with everyone else…I’ll make it down eventually. The moment he left I was doing just fine. Just fine! I stopped falling! It was all mental.
When my boyfriend and I went hiking up the Claremont Trail for the first time (please note, this is not a tough trail) during a time when I was not very active at all, the same thing happened. He was walking very fast/trotting through the trail, but really wanted to stay with me because he’s super sweet. I knew I was dragging him down in my self-wallow. I asked him to trot along, I’ll meet him at the top of the trail. The moment he left, I got my s*** together and hiked along…even started jogging. Again, mental.
Anyway, I felt the same way about books. I look back at the reading curriculum from high school and I wish I would have at least tried to enjoy it. Try a bit harder…but I knew I just didn’t appreciate it then. Now as an adult, it’s a completely different story.
I started my reading journey almost three years ago and it all began with Book of the Month (referral link, if you are interested). Well, technically, it all started with me getting corrective jaw surgery in my upper and lower jaw in the summer of 2017. The surgery required at least six weeks of recovery time. I used to commute 100 miles/day round trip for work. That totaled to approximately 2.5-3 hours a day being stuck in traffic. So needless to say, I was gaining a lot of time back working from home.
I decided to fill it with books since I was not about to step out the front door given the condition I was in. Book of the Month seriously changed my life and my perspective on leisure reading. I was pumping out at least one book a week during that time. It allowed me to get lost in the worlds of the story instead of focusing on the discomfort of the swelling in my face for six week.
Here’s how the subscription works. It’s $14.99/month + tax (shipping is free) and with that you get to pick one book for the month. They provide five books for you to choose from on the first of every month, curated from their editors, other authors, and sometimes even celebrities. If you don’t like any of their choices, you can skip the month. You are also allowed up to two add-ons per month for an additional $9.99/book. The bindings and the covers of their selections are rebound just for the club, foiled and everything! Absolutely love it! Here’s the best part—all of the books are hardcover and they’re all the same height! It allows for a very uniform look on a bookshelf if you are into that sort of thing like I am.
Because I loved it so much from the beginning, I always did the max add-on of books even when I returned back to work and had less time to read. Of course, because I was purchasing more books than I get lay my eyes on, my stack of TBR (to be read) was piling up. They also have a BFF status, which I’m totally at, where the “friendship comes with benefits”! On your 12th box, you get a book tote. It’s their signature blue tote (same color as their shipping boxes) with a pocket in the front for your book! If you know me, you know I collect totes very seriously. I have a giant plastic bin/tote filled with totes. I’m that person. You also get a free add-on for your birthday as well as a free book in the winter for their Book of the Year Finalists.
My BFF stats in case you are curious:
- 35 Boxes (35 Months)
- 98 Books
- 9.8K Pages
I mean how cool is that summary?! The downside is that I’ve only been able to get through 39 books, currently on my 40th. The upside is, I have 59 great selections waiting for me to open. I’ve been able to catch up on quite a few books since the start of Safer at Home. Nine books completed during the past two months to be exact.
The Completed 39
Here’s how I’m tackling the 59. My priority is reading the one BOTM for 2020 first. Then for the remainder of the month I’m catching up with 2019. I actually only need to read two more books to complete one BOTM for 2019. It’s a proud moment for me. Full disclosure, this list of 59 books does not include other books I purchased outside of BOTM. I’ll leave that list to your imagination. The numbers are not in my favor.
The TBR 59
While you might say, “Well, Karmen, do you really need to get three books a month?” The answer is “no.” No I don’t need to get three a month. I could just stick with the one book my subscription comes with, but their options are just that good. I never would have picked up these books if I walked into a book store—for one, they are not rebound and foiled with BOTM.
I’m always carrying around a book with me. I’m also extremely protective of my books. I have to cover the cover if it’s leaving my home. Lately it just goes between the nightstand in the bedroom to the dining table or to the coffee table. Do you remember those stretchable sleeves we used to cover our high school textbooks with? They’re like spandex tights for your books? I had those. I went through TSA with it and for some reason, it was flagged one day. The TSA agent pulls it out of my backpack and said “Well, that’s a first” with his ever judgmental eyes. I’m that protective. It worked for me for a year or so. Then I discovered a little Etsy store called A Hum for Hope and she makes the cutest book sleeves ever! If you’re a stationary fan like I am, she uses Rifle Paper Co. printed fabrics! I highly recommend them! They fit many sizes of books, including books of 500 pages. However, I will say that because of the height of the BOTM books, I’m unable to use faux leather cord to tie it closed, but it still gets the job done and I still love them!
Short story long, check out BOTM if you are interested. The referral link is above, give it some love. While I was logging in to get the referral link, I saw they’re working on an actual Book of the Month Book Club! I’m excited to see what that’s all about!!! Looks to be a beta for now. Who’s interested?
Since we are on the topic of books and book clubs, have you watched the movie Book Club? Features Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen, and Mary Steenburgen released in 2018. They’re going through the 50 Shades series. It’s hilarious if you haven’t watch it.
Thanks for tuning in today!