The Alignist is an exciting new subscription that pairs a book from another country with items and information to make you feel like you're right there! It's an international adventure in a box! The full subscription is called "The Whole Story." Once per quarter, subscribers receive a box that includes a "work of fiction, 'roadmap,' and an array of artisanal goods, authentic recipes, and art objects from the featured country to make you feel like you're in the place you're reading about." Alternatively, subscribers can choose to receive "Just the Facts," which is a package containing just the book and roadmap. This is such a cool concept!
This box was sent to us at no cost to review. (Check out our review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)
About The Alignist
The Subscription: The Alignist
The Cost: $60 quarterly for "The Whole Story" or $30 quarterly for "Just the Facts"
The Products: One book from an international destination with a roadmap filled with supplemental historical and cultural information. Subscribers to "The Whole Story" also receive recipes and products related to that country.
Ships to: The US for free
Good to Know: The cadence of this subscription changed in 2018 from bi-monthly to quarterly.
The Alignist "Egypt" Spring 2019 Review
This issue's country is Egypt! This letter was included from the founder of The Alignist, Beenish Ahmed. It gives some information on how to use the materials in the box, and explains why she chose this issue's book.
This box is the spring box, but it is still the current box on their website, and I did not receive it until July. I believe I was sent my copy much later than regular subscribers, but I am not sure. If you are a subscriber and would like to share your experience, please do so in the comments below!
To me, this is maybe the most important part of the subscription: the roadmap. Pages in the book have been designated as spots to refer to the roadmap and to read some supplementary material about the history and culture of the featured country. It is really interesting stuff, and it correlates very well to what is happening in the book.
Recipes are a standard inclusion in "The Whole Story" subscription. Indeed, I feel like it would be difficult to understand a region without having at least some knowledge of the food! I have zero knowledge of Egyptian food, but the almond cake looks great! I love the spicy and sweet combination.
This is a really remarkable book. Generally speaking, it is about the Arab Spring and the Egyptian revolution that happened in 2011. The story, however, tells of a national event in very personal terms. The main character is a young woman named Nadia who ends up being one of the protesters, and the story really makes me think about what people must have gone through on a personal level to have made the decision to protest the government at that time. I also especially loved all the richly detailed cooking scenes! It is extremely well written. This might be the best book I have read this year.
Dukkah Spice Blend by Sanaa (2 oz.) - Retail Value $6.99
This spice blend smells amazing! As I mentioned, I know nothing about Egyptian cooking, so I wasn't really sure what to do with it. So, I sampled a tiny bit just raw. It has a nutty, slightly cheesy flavor, and a spicy scent. It would have been really cool if one of the recipes included had called for this spice blend! That seems like an obvious oversight.
White Egyptian Musk by Tarifé Attär - Retail Value $10
This is such a pure musk scent, it is so rich and velvety! Yet, it's a little lighter than what I think of as traditional musk. I like it a lot! I do think it's a pretty masculine scent, though. Fortunately, I live with three males, so they will probably wear it at some point.
Egyptian Cotton Dish Towel by Serrv - Retail Value $10
No box about Egypt would be complete without at least one item made of Egyptian cotton. It's one of the main things they are known for! This is a thick woven dish towel that measures about 18" x 25". It is so high quality! It's really absorbent, too.
The Verdict: This was another fantastic package from The Alignist! This box was really an education for me as I knew very little about the Egyptian revolution. The book was fantastic, and the supplemental materials really added to my understanding. I also really appreciated all the gifts! It definitely gave me a good little sample of some of the things common to the Egyptian experience.
To Wrap Up:
Orders placed between June 15 and September 15 will ship in mid-October.
Value Breakdown: This box cost $60 shipped. The items included have a combined retail value of $41.23. I do feel like the printed materials add value, but I think if you would be bothered by a tangible value shortfall, this is probably not the subscription for you.
Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!
What do you think of The Alignist? Which country would you like to be featured in the next package?