Call Number is a “library-inspired monthly book box that celebrates contemporary Black literature and authors.” It costs $35.00 a month and includes one book and an assortment of bookish goodies. Perfect! Sign me up! Or don’t, because I’m already signed up! Check out all my Call Number reviews if you’d like.
As always, this box was incredibly thoughtfully curated and lovely. I hate to play favorites but the curator is really doing something right.
This month the book was No One is Coming to Save Us by Stephanie Powell Watts, which I enjoyed but would likely have enjoyed more if it weren’t marketed as a contemporary Great Gatsby. First of all, I don’t like Gatsby, and second of all it doesn’t follow that story hardly at all and it’s just a shit comparison.
Otherwise! I did like this book. It reminded me more of a Franzen novel than a Fitzgerald novel – lots of family drama and people trying to be better but failing miserably. The story followed numerous characters, some more messed up than others, but all of them trying to make sense of their lives. All of them felt “too old,” though the ages ranged from late 30s to senior citizens.
Overall, this book was lovely and sweet and sad. It offered insight into the fact that though every member of this family thought what they were going through was unique, each of them were just going through different versions of the exact same thing.
Recommended for: Literary fiction fans; Franzen fans; people who don’t want it to be a “modern retelling” of the Great Gatsby, fans of family dramas / sagas
Does it pass the Bechdel–Wallace test? Yes
Author of color / main character of color / female author / female main character: Yes / yes / yes / yes – This has been true of every box I’ve received from them. Good job!
Now, the goodies! First up is a stemless wine glass that says, “Live Life in the Present.” This is good advice generally and is certainly inline with this novel, in which all of the characters are stuck in the past in one way or another. I don’t drink wine (or alcohol of any kind) but I do have three milk snacks a day (like a child) so I’ll put it to good use.
The box also included what the curator describes as a “quote card,” that quotes Toni Morrison: “You are your best thing.” I don’t know what a quote card actually is but this is on very high-quality paper. In fact, I thought it was a magnet and tried to peel the back off. Whoops!
Next up are a set of page flags titled “A Day at the Park.” I’m a nerd for page flags so I love these! They’re from a company called Girl of All Work, and they have a cool park scene. Together they make up an entire field, but each flag stands on its own too. There are a total of 375 flags (75 of each of the five designs).
Finally, we got this cool library card coaster from Out of Print. I collect bookish coasters so this is an especially big win for me. These are sold in a set and each box includes one, so I imagine the colors vary – though mine is this badass blue.
There we go! Another awesome box from an awesome curator. As always, I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.