BoxWalla Book Subscription Box Review – April 2017
BoxWalla is a subscription box company dedicated to sharing uncommon food, books, films, and green beauty items, and they curate bi-monthly boxes for each of those categories. Subscribe to one or more, and add or switch interests at any time.
BoxWalla is run by a couple of self-declared “aesthetes” with a keen eye for meaningful details, which is immediately reflected in their packaging. The lidded box contains no trees at all—rather, it’s meticulously created from cotton scraps (if you look closely, you can see the thatched pattern of the woven threads in the box). This month’s box was literally overstuffed with things to read!
This box was sent to us at no cost for review. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)
This review is of the Boxwalla Book, $49.95 every other month, box.
The Subscription Box: BoxWalla Book
The Cost: $49.95 every other month with free shipping to the US
The Products: Thoughtfully curated literature by prospective Nobel laureates from around the world. And while Boxwalla makes no promises about this being standard practice, this month’s box also came with some small trinkets!
Ships to: U.S. (for free) and international locations.
Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!
BoxWalla is all about delivering a curated, meaningful experience. They come through on that intention with a fantastic info card, which explains a bit about the works chosen for the box and why the Boxwalla team was compelled to include them.
This month’s box focuses on “multi-layered” stories. Very cool!
One thing I love about this box is how it shines a light on writers from different cultures and backgrounds—voices that are sometimes less prominent here in the states. This book, for instance, comes from a writer who was born in West Java.
Book Summary on Amazon:
The English-language debut of Indonesia’s rising star.
The epic novel Beauty Is a Wound combines history, satire, family tragedy, legend, humor, and romance in a sweeping polyphony. The beautiful Indo prostitute Dewi Ayu and her four daughters are beset by incest, murder, bestiality, rape, insanity, monstrosity, and the often vengeful undead. Kurniawan’s gleefully grotesque hyperbole functions as a scathing critique of his young nation’s troubled past:the rapacious offhand greed of colonialism; the chaotic struggle for independence; the 1965 mass murders of perhaps a million “Communists,” followed by three decades of Suharto’s despotic rule.
Beauty Is a Wound astonishes from its opening line: One afternoon on a weekend in May, Dewi Ayu rose from her grave after being dead for twenty-one years…. Drawing on local sources―folk tales and the all-night shadow puppet plays, with their bawdy wit and epic scope―and inspired by Melville and Gogol, Kurniawan’s distinctive voice brings something luscious yet astringent to contemporary literature.
Compass by Mathias Enard – Value on Amazon $18.32 (retail price $26.95)
The second book (a hardcover this time) is from a French author. I was really drawn in by the undulating thoughts of the protagonist and narrator.
Book Summary on Amazon:
Winner of the 2015 Prix Goncourt, an astounding novel that bridges Europe and the Islamic world
On the shortlist for the 2017 International Man Booker Prize
As night falls over Vienna, Franz Ritter, an insomniac musicologist, takes to his sickbed with an unspecified illness and spends a restless night drifting between dreams and memories, revisiting the important chapters of his life: his ongoing fascination with the Middle East and his numerous travels to Istanbul, Aleppo, Damascus, and Tehran, as well as the various writers, artists, musicians, academics, orientalists, and explorers who populate this vast dreamscape. At the center of these memories is his elusive, unrequited love, Sarah, a fiercely intelligent French scholar caught in the intricate tension between Europe and the Middle East.
With exhilarating prose and sweeping erudition, Mathias Énard pulls astonishing elements from disparate sources―nineteenth-century composers and esoteric orientalists, Balzac and Agatha Christie―and binds them together in a most magical way.
The final paperback is a story originally written in Russian. Interestingly enough, this story actually focuses on a translator working with refugees in Switzerland. It’s sort of an interesting, meta experience, to think about this story of an interpretor being interpreted by the book’s translator.
Book Summary on Amazon:
Maidenhair is composed of three main storylines: an interpreter listening to the stories of refugees, the letters he sends to his son, and the diaries of a Russian opera singer in the early 1900s. An instant classic of Russian literature, it was a finalist for the Best Translated Book Award.
Verdict: I love the Boxwalla Book box for bringing new authors from all different backgrounds to my attention. They always surprise me with books and writers I’ve never heard of, but whose beautifully written stories are so compelling (and sometimes challenging, in evocative ways). Altogether this $45.00 box had $42.91 of value inside (based on Amazon prices). Is it a little short of the price? Sure, but I think the curatorial value that Boxwalla provides is totally worth any small price difference. This is definitely a box for curious readers looking to explore beyond what’s on the bestseller list or the shelf at the local chain bookstore.
What do you think of this month’s Boxwalla Book box?