PageHabit Literary Fiction Box Review – July 2017
PageHabit is a book subscription box that sends a title in the genre of your choice with annotations from the author, a bookmark, and other book-related goods. Choose between the monthly genres: Literary Fiction, Mystery, Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction, Romance, Horror, or Historical Fiction, and quarterly genres: Literary Fiction, Young Adult Fiction, or Cookbook.
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 PageHabit Literary Fiction genre, $29.99 a month, box.
The Subscription Box: PageHabit
The Cost: $29.99 for the monthly subscription, $49.99 for the quarterly subscription.
The Products: 1 hardback book annotated with notes by the author, a bookmark, a blank notebook, a letter from the author, and a book light.
Ships to: Within the US, shipping costs $4.99 for monthly boxes and $7.99 for quarterly boxes. For Canadian residents, it is $14.99 for monthly boxes and $19.99 for quarterly boxes. Everywhere else in the world, shipping costs $19.99 for monthly boxes and $29.99 for quarterly boxes, plus any local taxes that may be applied.
This is our first PageHabit review, but be sure to check out the rest of our Book Subscription Box reviews!
Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!
When I opened my box, there were all kinds of goodies stacked on top of this month’s hardback book. Some may have tossed it aside to see what title is included, but I liked keeping the element of surprise going, so I explored the extras first.
This month’s bookmark says, “Words can be like X-rays; if you use them properly, they’ll go through anything. You read and you’re pierced. -Aldous Huxley” As a writer myself, I was into this quote (despite the lack of punctuation, which I added above). It’s also pretty standard quality as far as bookmarks go: a sturdy, glossy piece of craft paper.
The card included in this box was rather information-heavy, and I’ll admit, my instinct was to toss it aside. But once I dug in, I found that a portion of each PageHabit purchase goes to supporting children’s literacy across the world and that this month’s chosen organization is Nyarweng Foundation in South Sudan. Awesome! The card also shows what books were included in the other July boxes.
On the flip side of the card is a cool infographic offering tidbits about literacy in South Sudan.
Next, a letter from the author, David Burr Gerrard. This handwritten note (well, photocopy of a handwritten note) gave a little teaser of the novel. He explains that his novel is about a device that tattoos epiphanies on the forearms of its users and that he hopes readers will imagine what their own epiphany tattoo would look like.
Field Notes Kraft Notebook – Value $3.32 (Buy a 3-pack for $9.95)
I love this little notebook! Something about the term “field notes” makes it more enticing to write in. I was curious to see if this terminology would somehow relate to the storyline of the novel, but from what I’ve read so far, it doesn’t seem as though that will be the case.
You can see here that the notebook has blank pages.
The Epiphany Machine by David Burr Gerrard – Value $15.75 on Amazon (List price $27.00)
This month’s book is a 407-page hardback with a matte cover. As someone who typically reads used paperbacks, I’m pumped about the in-your-hands experience of holding this book. It was released super recently, on July 18, 2017.
I loved seeing the little sticky notes peeking out of the side of this book. I wasn’t sure what to expect from the promise of annotations from the author, and this struck me as a cool approach. It gave me something visual to look forward to.
Book Summary on Amazon:
*A Most-Anticipated book of 2017 by The Millions
*Best New Science Fiction for Summer by The Washington Post
Everyone else knows the truth about you, now you can know it, too.
That’s the slogan. The product: a junky contraption that tattoos personalized revelations on its users’ forearms. It’s an old con, playing on the fear that we are obvious to everybody except ourselves. This particular one’s been circulating New York since the 1960s. The ad works. And, oddly enough, so might the device…
A small stream of city dwellers buy into this cult of the epiphany machine, including Venter Lowood’s parents. This stigma follows them when they move upstate, where Venter can’t avoid the whispers of teachers and neighbors any more than he can ignore the machine’s accurate predictions: his mother’s abandonment and his father’s disinterest. So when Venter’s grandmother finally asks him to confront the epiphany machine and inoculate himself against his family’s mistakes, he’s only too happy to oblige.
Like his parents before him, Venter is quick to fall under the spell of the device’s sweat-stained, profane, and surprisingly charming operator, Adam Lyons. But unlike them, Venter gets close enough to Adam to learn a dark secret. There’s an undeniable pattern between specific epiphanies and violent crimes. And Adam won’t jeopardize the privacy of his customers by alerting the police.
It may be a hoax, but that doesn’t mean what Adam is selling isn’t also spot-on. And in this sprawling, snarling tragicomedy about accountability in contemporary America, the greater danger is that Adam Lyon’s apparatus may just be right about us all.
The book opens with a numbered list of Things to Contemplate Before Using the Epiphany Machine, which is meant to mimic a pamphlet that potential clients would read. This pulled me in immediately and set the scene by showing rather than telling. Following the list is a testimony by a woman who is presumably the mother of the narrator, Venter Lowood, and then we are swept into Chapter 1, which begins with a first person account of a pre-teen Venter discovering what the epiphany machine is. I was concerned that reading this story from a kid’s perspective would mean a lot of hand-holding through the unfolding of the storyline and use of adolescent language/humor, but I was pleased to find the author has clearly written to an adult reader. I was tickled by Gerrard’s quick wit and challenging metaphors, and he’s structured the opening of the novel in a way that had me eager to fit his foreshadowing into the bigger picture.
Book Light – Value $2.02
One last little goodie that’s included in this month’s box is a clip-on book light. It’s not the best quality—in fact, it arrived with its clear light bulb cover having fallen off, though that was an easy fix—but it’s certainly better than no book light at all! A pro of this light is that it’s lightweight, so it wouldn’t weigh down a tote if carried around.
Verdict: I’d say the experience of exploring my first book-themed subscription box was an overall positive one. I’m really pleased with the novel that was included and the author’s annotations made for a fun insider experience. Also, I’m of the opinion that you can never have too many notebooks, so to have one included was a nice perk for me! Value wise, I originally thought this box didn’t totally stack up to its $29.99 price—especially with the additional cost of shipping—but considering the book’s list price and the effort put into the author annotations, I realize its cost pays off. Still, small tweaks that would improve the experience could be a fabric or otherwise longer-lasting bookmark, a higher quality book light, and/or an additional small bookish item.
What do you think of this PageHabit box?