Inspiration Recreation

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Indiespensable #52 from Powell's Books

I am so excited I finally got a subscription to the Indiespensable book club!  Indiespensable ships every six weeks and is run by Powell's Books bookstore in Portland, Oregon.  Each installment includes a signed featured book, sometimes an unsigned secondary book, and extra gifts and treats.

Featured Book:  Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller

Synopsis from Amazon: 
Peggy Hillcoat is eight years old when her survivalist father, James, takes her from their home in London to a remote hut in the woods and tells her that the rest of the world has been destroyed. Deep in the wilderness, Peggy and James make a life for themselves. They repair the hut, bathe in water from the river, hunt and gather food in the summers and almost starve in the harsh winters. They mark their days only by the sun and the seasons.

When Peggy finds a pair of boots in the forest and begins a search for their owner, she unwittingly unravels the series of events that brought her to the woods and, in doing so, discovers the strength she needs to go back to the home and mother she thought she’d lost.

After Peggy's return to civilization, her mother begins to learn the truth of her escape, of what happened to James on the last night out in the woods, and of the secret that Peggy has carried with her ever since.
Advance Reader Copy:  The New and Improved Romie Futch by Julia Elliott
Synopsis from Amazon:
Down on his luck and still pining for his ex-wife, South Carolina taxidermist Romie Futch spends his evenings drunkenly surfing the Internet before passing out on his couch. In a last-ditch attempt to pay his mortgage, he replies to an ad and becomes a research subject in an experiment conducted by the Center for Cybernetic Neuroscience in Atlanta, Georgia. After “scientists” download hifalutin humanities disciplines into their brains, Romie and his fellow guinea pigs start debating the works of Foucault and hashing out the intricacies of postmodern subjectivity. The enhanced taxidermist, who once aspired to be an artist, returns to his hometown ready to revolutionize his work and revive his failed marriage. As Romie tracks down specimens for his elaborate animatronic taxidermy dioramas, he develops an Ahab-caliber obsession with bagging “Hogzilla,” a thousand-pound feral hog that has been terrorizing Hampton County. Cruising hog-hunting websites, he learns that this lab-spawned monster possesses peculiar traits. Pulled into an absurd and murky underworld of biotech operatives, FDA agents, and environmental activists, Romie becomes entangled in the enigma of Hogzilla’s origins.

Exploring the interplay between nature and culture, biology and technology, reality and art, The New and Improved Romie Futch probes the mysteries of memory and consciousness, offering a darkly comic yet heartfelt take on the contemporary human predicament.
Extras:  Ceramic Powell's Bookstore Coaster

Each box also includes a booklet with information about the book selections and a special interview with the featured author.
Cost of Box:  $39.95 (shipping included, ships every 6 weeks)
Impressions:   I'm really looking forward to reading Our Numbered Endless Days.  I love the pretty cover design and the autographed signature page that are special and only in this Indiespensable copy of the book.  The New and Improved Romie Futch doesn't really appeal to me.  I rarely read books of this type of genre but I get that the purpose of this book club subscription is to occasionally get you out of your reading comfort zone and expose you to new genres and authors.  I do like that this book is an advance reader copy so it's pretty cool that I get to read it before most people will get to buy it in October 2015.  Although the Hogzilla storyline isn't something that particularly interests me, I will try to keep an open mind and read it someday but it will not be at the top of my reading list.  There was a card included with the book that you can mail in and submit feedback as one of the advance readers.  I normally like the extras that Indiespensable includes in their box but the coaster didn't really excite me.  I will use it for holding my hot cups of coffee and tea but I think I would like it a lot more if were a prettier image than the Powell's sign. 

What I find really cool about Indiespensable is that the featured book of each installment is signed by the author and has a cover custom designed especially for Indiespensable!  So if you shop around for the featured book online or at your local bookstore, you will not be able to find a copy with this cover.  It is hard to place a value on this box because it includes exclusively designed and printed or advanced reader copy books.  Here is some information to give you an idea of pricing to get similar versions of the box items:
  • Our Endless Numbered Days, $13.50 (, paperback)
  • A New and Improved Romie Futch, $15.95 ( pre-order, paperback)
  • Powell's Coaster, $5 (, price of similar coasters)
As a book lover, the appeal and extra "value" of Indiespensable is in the autographed book, the exclusively designed book covers, the interview with the featured author, advance reader copies and the special box curation by fellow book lovers who introduce you to new authors and books you may not normally reach for.  Plus, you have to take in to consideration that the price includes the cost of shipping the weight of these books to you.  I like that the installments are shipped every 6 weeks rather than monthly, because it allows you to feel less rushed to finish one book before the next one arrives.  And the regular shipment means I will always have something to read!  I'm definitely looking forward to future installments!

A note on getting an Indiespensable subscription:  I want to note that it took about two months for me to grab one of the few coveted new subscriber slots that open for each installment.  But I will not complain because I would much rather wait to join a quality club than quickly be put on the mailing roster of a box service that starts to fail to meet the standard of their previous boxes.  I've seen it before where small subscription box services start to take on more members than they can adequately meet the demands of and the quality of their boxes starts to suffer for it, sometimes even causing them to go out of business.  So if you are interested in subscribing to Indiespensable, you may have to be patient in acquiring a slot but it looks to be worth the wait if you're a book lover!  Unfortunately, there currently is not a waitlist to sign up for notification of new slots opening so you just have to be diligent about checking the Indiespensable page.  I think about two weeks after the last installment shipped (or one month before the next installment ships) is the best time to start checking.  This installment shipped April 8th (which means the next installment will probably ship around May 20th) so new slots may open up around April 22nd.  When new member slots open they sell out very quickly!

A note on shipping:  This box ships Economy Mail via UPS Mail Innovations and is transferred to USPS for final delivery.  It took 7 days to ship from Washington to me in South Carolina.  

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