The Bard and The Book(s) of the Month

First of all, ahhh! I had this one all planned out and still I post late. For me it’s only by a few minutes, but it just shows the date for readers. That’s what I get for writing so much in a limited time. 

Anyway, Monday evening I returned to high school. I’m just kidding, of course. But it almost felt like it. I signed up for a class at my local library called Demystifying Shakespeare. The premise is essentially to study all that you might’ve in English/Literature class about Shakespeare. We’ll be looking at dialogue, themes, his secret name meanings, and delving into a bit of period history. We’ll be reading Much Ado About Nothing, which is thankfully a piece of Shakespeare’s that I haven’t studied yet. I’m by no means a huge scholar of the Bard, but I have studied a few of the more popular ones. I never mind rereading because I genuinely enjoy Shakespeare’s works. But, it’s always nice to read something new and get a chance to pull it apart in the charming way that any English teacher does. This will be no different because the 6 week, hour long class is run by a retired English professor. Aside from reading the play (of course), there won’t actually be any homework. Which I can’t say I’m upset about. Much as I do love reading and discussing books, I never did like writing 20 page essays about them. Hence, my switch from an English to Writing as my college major. I’m really looking forward to getting back into a class-type environment. I’m always on the lookout for classes at the library I can enjoy. I like the social aspect as much as I like to learn new things. One other monthly class I’ve been attending is a journal writing class. It seems like it might be an obvious thing to do, but all the people have interesting stories and points of views to bring. It’s great for getting ideas and learning about how people think, a most valuable tool for an aspiring novelist.


I also received a package in the mail this week from my first time trying a new subscription service. Some bibliophiles might be familiar with a subscription box that seems to be everywhere in ads right now called Book of the Month. I should start next by saying this isn’t in any way sponsored. I decided to pay for the service myself to test it out. I signed up in January, but when I took a look at the novels available nothing struck my fancy too much. So, I skipped the month. That’s a feature I really love and look for in subscription boxes. Sometimes you aren’t enthused with your options. It happens. The services can’t please every person every month. But, generally you signed up because you mostly enjoy what they have put together. So you wouldn’t want to cancel. The same goes for skipping because of pricing. Sometimes an unexpected expense comes up and you have to briefly cut back. I don’t understand why some boxes are an all or nothing affair. But Book of the Month isn’t super expensive and they let you skip, no questions asked. It’s useful. 

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Come February 1st, there were new books and one caught my eye right away. The Philosopher’s Flight by Tom Miller. Aside from the primary colors and images screaming of adventure, the title caught my eye first. I’ll be honest, it reminded me of The Philosopher’s Stone (any excuse to think of Harry Potter and J.K. Rowling). I barely read through the short teaser description about a society where only women could do magic and I was sold. It was selected as my book for February. I gave the others a fair, but equally quick perusal and was sure I had the right one. Before I hit the button to ship my box a section of extra books (because by the way you can get more in your box for an additional cheap price too) caught my eye. It was called “Modern Classics.” I have to say quite a few books from authors I like, and even a few authors new to me, have come out recently. They were also hanging out in the extra book section as well, but the title of the section had me intrigued.

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Lo and behold, in the “Modern Classics” section there’s a book that I hadn’t heard of more than a week or so prior: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman. I had discovered this book through, strangely enough, a candle website (another thing I love). The store is called Frostbeard Studio (also not sponsored). I first discovered them on Etsy when one of their Harry Potter (big surprise there) inspired candles came up. Turns out their entire candle range is based on novels, which was thrilling for me! I bought one for my sister for her birthday (called Headmaster’s Office in case you were wondering) and promptly became obsessed. I have several of there Harry Potter ones now, my favorite being Ambitious Wizards (shout out to all the other Slytherins!). So I peruse their website a lot. A week or so prior (still January) to ordering Book of the Month I had seen their “Candle of the Month” called Hempstock Farm (now unfortunately sold out before I could try it). The name and the beautiful violet color entice me to click on it. I see it’s supposed to smell like oatmeal, peanut butter toast, and blackberry. It’s a specific combination. The description, which I feel always matches the tone of the book it was inspired by nicely, had an air of fantasy and mystery to it. So, I looked it up and read a summary. I added it to my “To Read” list immediately. When I saw it on Book of the Month it seemed like such perfect timing, so I added it to my box and hit ship before I wondered where all my money got off to. They both arrived only a few days later, beautiful new hardcover editions that are well worth the price of the service. I haven’t gotten to them just yet, but it’s safe to say I have an exciting lineup this month! 

Happy reading! 😀 


xx Mary

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