Rabbit Hole

Published on October 3rd, 2014 | by JCDoyle

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Box Of Bookish Delights

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Do you often find yourself with the ‘what shall I read next?’ dilemma? Do you sit and stare at the collection of books on your shelf that you’ve read time and time again wondering if you want to reread one yet again? Or do you take a wander around the local bookshop with no idea where to start? If so then maybe Prudence and the Crow can help. It is a small business whose entire purpose is to send you something to read, something a little bit random, something you might not have chosen to read even if you’d seen it in a shop.

The basic idea is you put in an order (this can be a one off or a subscription to monthly books), select the genre you like (there are various options and also an ‘other’ box so you can be a bit more specific) and then sit back and wait for the parcel to arrive.

When it does arrive it should be filled with little treats and some wondrous new reading material. So what do you get? Well, each parcel is shipped around the 13th of each month and when it arrives it will look something like this:

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At least it will if you have young children who get to the post before you do, most people will receive a nicely wrapped parcel. It is then a case of peeling back the layers to reveal the goodies beneath.

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And in this wonderful cardboard box there is:

1 Maoam Chewy sweet

1 hard boiled humbug (I think it was a humbug, my son ate it)

2 individually wrapped flavoured tea bags – Moroccan Mint and Dreamy, creamy buttermint flavours

1 Prudence and The Crow pencil (it looks and feels like a HB pencil but I can’t confirm this)

1 strip of silver Star Stickers

1 Prudence and The Crow library card

1 Postcard of St George’s Gate in Canterbury (postcard dated 1985)

And 1 neat little material book bag containing…

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Poul Anderson’s A Midsummer Tempest.

I have not heard of this book, or in all honesty this author, but a quick look online shows that he was a prolific writer of many, many novels. His usual genre was sci-fi based, including a lot of alternate worlds and time travel, but he was also interested in history and politics which form the backbone to most of his writing. He also wrote a series of Historical novels based on the life of Harald Hardrada who was the King of Norway from 1046 to 1066.

The book I received is an alternate universe novel written in 1974. The basic background is that Shakespeare was a historian not a fictional writer and everything he wrote was based on true events. The novel is set during the English Civil War and revolves around the capture of the Kings nephew by northern Roundheads. I have only just started reading the book so I have avoided looking at the plot in too much detail although I am expecting the fairy King and Queen to appear at some point and for there to be a New York time traveller. All in all it sounds like a 1970’s sci-fi romp similar to a Robert Rankin but with perhaps less jokes. I’m two chapters in and very intrigued. Also the fact that the central theme is based on A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Tempest, which are two of my favourite Shakespearian plays, I think that I’m going to find a lot to like in these 200+ pages.

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I watched a video on You Tube of someone opening one of Prudence and The Crow’s boxes and she used the word ‘cute’ to pretty much describe everything she took out. In fairness she had a point: this parcel is designed for a pleasant afternoon of relaxation: brew up an herbal tea, sit back and read while occasionally making notes (if you’re that kind of person, and I am). This would make a great gift for someone who loves reading but I am not sure about a subscription because I don’t know how much variety there would be in the little extra’s you receive each month. I’m not much of a tea drinker and I definitely wouldn’t get through a HB pencil each month but we shall see when the next box comes sometime after the 13th of October.

If you are the kind of person who buys their books based on how much money you save by ordering from Amazon then the service that Prudence and The Crow offers is not for you. What this business offers is an indulgence with an emphasis on the presentation of the product which is something you would not get from a massive online company. And if the price of that indulgence is a bit more than you would normally pay for a book, then so be it.

As an aside, there is a quote on the bottom of the box that says:

“The sea has never been friendly to man. At most it has been the accomplice of human restlessness” – Joseph Conrad

take from that what you will.

JCDoyle

JCDoyle

Lover of comics and Art and Sci-Fi in multiple media. Currently teaching my kids the ways of the Geek (while protecting my first editions)
JCDoyle

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