Review | April Blue Spider’s Attic Book Subscription Box

The curator describes Blue Spider’s Attic as, “The magic of a used book store, delivered.” Except it’s actually even better because also, coffee! There are two different boxes available. First is The Attic Box by Blue Spider Press, which includes three second-hand books, a small package of coffee or tea, and several bookish items. This is just $21.99+ shipping if you buy a single box, though I paid $105.99+ shipping for a 6-month subscription, which is about $17.60 per month.

There’s also the Blue Spider’s Basic box, which comes with two books, a sample of coffee and tea, and no bookish extras. It starts at $13.99 per month, though it looks like there are discounts available for longer subscriptions.

No matter which box you choose, you fill out a few surveys about your likes. The forms I filled out included clarifying language that assured me I was not guaranteed the genres I selected. You can read my previous Blue Spider’s Attic reviews here.

Out of the three books I read this month, I really liked two of them, which I think is a great number of books to like. Since I’ve been taking forever to get reviews up these days, I’ve already received May’s box and I think I’m going to like those books even better!

The Artist's Daugther CoverBut, for April. First was the The Artist’s Daughter by Alexandra Kuykendall which is a memoir of a woman who, as the astute among you may have guessed, is the daughter of an artist. I actually didn’t finish this one, though it wasn’t the book’s fault – I’m just not the intended audience. I liked the pacing and the writing style but about 100 pages in I realized that it was actually a story of how she found her Christian faith. This is not a journey that really interests me so I put it down. I’ll be donating it to my Little Free Library and hopefully it’ll find its audience there.

Rating: 6/10 

Recommended for: Religious folks, folks questioning their religion, folks who grew up without a dad and want stories they can engage with.

Does it pass the Bechdel–Wallace testYes.

Author of color / main character of color / female author / female main character: N / N / Y / Y

The Company You Keep Novel CoverThe next one was The Company You Keep By Neil Gordon which the cover describes as a “political thriller” though I’m not sure I’d describe it that way. No matter how I’d describe it though, it’s great! It deals with the Weather Underground, who are one of my favorite revolutionary groups and apparently there was a movie made based on it that stars Robert Redford?

Though I liked this book so much, there were some things I didn’t like. Like, the format was a series of emails sent to a young woman. The emails came from a variety of people and their purpose was to try and get her to testify at the parole hearing of her father. That’s a fine enough way to tell a story, but that explanation made parts of the book super uncomfortable for me, like when various adult men were describing their “love making” in detail to this young woman? These were clearly just plot devices to tell the story, and I guess you’re supposed to forget at times that these are actually emails to this woman, but I had a hard time doing so.

It also bugged me that though there were a handful of people supposedly writing the emails, their tone and voices were virtually identical.

That said! This was a page turner about a time in history I’m particularly interested in and I would definitely recommend to a friend.

Rating: 8/10 

Recommended for: Suspense fans, fans of political thrills (apparently), readers interested in the politics of the ’60s.

Does it pass the Bechdel–Wallace test? No. And there are about a billion different opportunities for it to do so, but the women only talk about men and the things men do.

Author of color / main character of color / female author / female main character: N / N / N / Y

Schroder novel coverThe third book, Schroder by Amity Gaige, is written in the form of a letter from a man to his ex-wife about the reason he kidnapped their daughter. It grabbed me right from the get-go and it’s interesting how many similarities it had with The Company You Keep. I didn’t like it quite as much, though it did have some very interesting moral dilemmas that I think most people would have a hard time deciding how they felt about.

Rating: 7/10 

Recommended for: Caper fans, people who like morally ambiguous situations, fans of child abduction?

Does it pass the Bechdel–Wallace test? No.

Author of color / main character of color / female author / female main character: N / N / N / Y

I do also want to mention as a general note that I’ve received 12 books from Blue Spider’s Attic Box so far this year and zero of them are from authors of color. Five have been written by women.

All right, so after that depressing news, let’s discuss the goodies in this box. As always, this box is super fun to open. The goodies are wrapped in little papers or packaged in fun little bags. The theme was “Books, Bubbles, & Brew.”

The coffee this month was from Harmonies Brew and was called Thundering Viola Blend (tea drinkers got tea from Good Earth) and an extra bonus shot of coffee. There was also a trial-sized bookish bubble bath from TeaSoapBooks. Mine was Jane Eyre White Tea Bubble Bath. It smells clean and nice, though not like tea at all. I wasn’t able to try it myself because I’m allergic to fragrances.

Then there was what they described as a “whimsical spoon for stirring sweetness into your favorite brew.” I love this spoon! Sam and I have a special spoon for our coffee that I got him last year for our Anniversary but it’s awesome to have such a cute backup. It’s silver with swirls that sort of make a rose.

Finally, there’s a handcrafted teapot necklace which I also LOVE. It’s a little shiny and a little whimsical and just lovely.

This month the goodies were all a bit hit for me (except the bubble bath but that’s my own issue and I’ll have no trouble gifting it). The books seem to be good too but I do wish they’d consider the diversity of the books they’re sending out.

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