Subscription box review: Read Dog Books

Read Dog Books is a monthly subscription box that goes one step further than the usual book boxes: Kate and Michael from Read Dog will specially curate the featured book based on your reading preferences. When you join Read Dog you will first be asked to complete a short survey so they can gauge your book taste.

I had the opportunity to participate in this unique experience and I was not disappointed. In my box I received Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh, who you may know most recently as the author of Homesick for Another World which was featured in another book subscription box: Book of the Month. Below is a synopsis provided via the publisher:

Shortlisted for the 2016 Man Booker Prize and chosen by David Sedaris as his recommended book for his Fall 2016 tour. 

So here we are. My name was Eileen Dunlop. Now you know me. I was twenty-four years old then, and had a job that paid fifty-seven dollars a week as a kind of secretary at a private juvenile correctional facility for teenage boys. I think of it now as what it really was for all intents and purposes—a prison for boys. I will call it Moorehead. Delvin Moorehead was a terrible landlord I had years later, and so to use his name for such a place feels appropriate. In a week, I would run away from home and never go back.

This is the story of how I disappeared.

The Christmas season offers little cheer for Eileen Dunlop, an unassuming yet disturbed young woman trapped between her role as her alcoholic father’s caretaker in a home whose squalor is the talk of the neighborhood and a day job as a secretary at the boys’ prison, filled with its own quotidian horrors. Consumed by resentment and self-loathing, Eileen tempers her dreary days with perverse fantasies and dreams of escaping to the big city. In the meantime, she fills her nights and weekends with shoplifting, stalking a buff prison guard named Randy, and cleaning up her increasingly deranged father’s messes. When the bright, beautiful, and cheery Rebecca Saint John arrives on the scene as the new counselor at Moorehead, Eileen is enchanted and proves unable to resist what appears at first to be a miraculously budding friendship. In a Hitchcockian twist, her affection for Rebecca ultimately pulls her into complicity in a crime that surpasses her wildest imaginings.

Played out against the snowy landscape of coastal New England in the days leading up to Christmas, young Eileen’s story is told from the gimlet-eyed perspective of the now much older narrator. Creepy, mesmerizing, and sublimely funny, in the tradition of Shirley Jackson and early Vladimir Nabokov, this powerful debut novel enthralls and shocks, and introduces one of the most original new voices in contemporary literature.

Needless to say, the people behind Read Dog did a fantastic job with their selection. This book sounds like it will be right in the vein of other books I have loved, due in part to the Man Booker shortlist in 2016.

In addition to great book selections, Read Dog sends a few goodies fitted to a general theme. The theme for this box was “Sonder” which means “the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own..” which is something that really resonated with me because I actually think about this quite a lot. I believe reading has allowed me to grasp this concept more fully because through books I have been exposed to so many more lives and worlds than I ever would be in real life.

Along with the book I received a sample of Summer Tranquility white tea from KuCha House of Teas, a puzzle piece and crystal charm, and a blank piece of card stock and stamped envelope designed to be penned with thoughts for another Read Dog member.

Their box is moderately priced at $29.99 per month. Rest assured that if you have already enjoyed (or disliked) a book chosen for you, Read Dog promises to replace the book with one better fitted to you at that time.

Ready to see which book Read Dog will choose for you? Click here to get started. Do you simply want to further explore the story of Read Dog, including past themes and samples of members boxes? Just follow this link to their homepage.

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This box was sent complimentary from Read Dog for a review. 

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