Peruse November 2021

Peruse is a monthly book box that delivers one new release (literary fiction or mystery/suspense — whichever stream you choose) and three to four items to complement your reading experience, plus two recipes and discussion questions. It’s been out for just over a year but November’s is my first. Let’s take a peek!

Peruse offers four subscription options (all prices in USD):

· month to month — $47.99/box

· 3 months prepaid — $134.97

· 6 months prepaid — $264.96

· 12 months prepaid — $499.92

A limited number of previous boxes are also available to purchase individually for $49.99 each.

Shipping is additional and varies by destination. Peruse is based in the US and ships worldwide.

The box I’m sharing today is November’s literary fiction edition.

The book was nestled in the bottom of the box under the rest of the items but I fished it out first because that’s what I’m most excited to see. And what a fantastic surprise! This one’s been getting rave reviews and I’ve had it on my wish list. It’s Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr. His second novel, All the Light We Cannot See, won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2015. (I haven’t read it either but one day!)

Here’s more about Cloud Cuckoo Land from the publisher:

Set in Constantinople in the fifteenth century, in a small town in present-day Idaho, and on an interstellar ship decades from now, Anthony Doerr’s gorgeous third novel is a triumph of imagination and compassion, a soaring story about children on the cusp of adulthood in worlds in peril, who find resilience, hope—and a book. In Cloud Cuckoo Land, Doerr has created a magnificent tapestry of times and places that reflects our vast interconnectedness—with other species, with each other, with those who lived before us, and with those who will be here after we’re gone.

Thirteen-year-old Anna, an orphan, lives inside the formidable walls of Constantinople in a house of women who make their living embroidering the robes of priests. Restless, insatiably curious, Anna learns to read, and in this ancient city, famous for its libraries, she finds a book, the story of Aethon, who longs to be turned into a bird so that he can fly to a utopian paradise in the sky. This she reads to her ailing sister as the walls of the only place she has known are bombarded in the great siege of Constantinople. Outside the walls is Omeir, a village boy, miles from home, conscripted with his beloved oxen into the invading army. His path and Anna’s will cross.

Five hundred years later, in a library in Idaho, octogenarian Zeno, who learned Greek as a prisoner of war, rehearses five children in a play adaptation of Aethon’s story, preserved against all odds through centuries. Tucked among the library shelves is a bomb, planted by a troubled, idealistic teenager, Seymour. This is another siege. And in a not-so-distant future, on the interstellar ship Argos, Konstance is alone in a vault, copying on scraps of sacking the story of Aethon, told to her by her father. She has never set foot on our planet.

Like Marie-Laure and Werner in All the Light We Cannot See, Anna, Omeir, Seymour, Zeno, and Konstance are dreamers and outsiders who find resourcefulness and hope in the midst of gravest danger. Their lives are gloriously intertwined. Doerr’s dazzling imagination transports us to worlds so dramatic and immersive that we forget, for a time, our own. Dedicated to “the librarians then, now, and in the years to come,” Cloud Cuckoo Land is a beautiful and redemptive novel about stewardship—of the book, of the Earth, of the human heart.

Reading has taken a backseat to holiday prep this month but I’m really looking forward to getting into this one. Is it on your wish list too or have you already read it?

Next is this wonderful Personal Library Kit, complete with 20 self-adhesive envelopes and checkout cards, a date stamp, ink pad and a pencil.

I received one of these in another book box a few years ago and it tickled me just as much then as this one does now. One summer when I was 12 or 13 I babysat three siblings five days a week and we made regular trips to the little library I’d created for them on the bookshelves in my closet. I’d glued envelopes in the back of my books and would date stamp a cue card for them whenever they wanted to check one out.

I thought my teen might like to do the same with some of her books (whether she’d lend them to her friends or some of her own charges) so I haven’t cracked into either package but I really love the idea. And I see you can buy additional envelopes and checkout cards elsewhere which is great because who has just 20 books? (Or maybe some people have just 20 books they want to lend.)

Next: a cloud-shaped bath bomb that’s “fruity candy scented with bursting rainbow center.” I just used it last night and the bright colours are super fun and joyful and I love the cloud shape — brilliant tie-in to the book! Especially if you like to read in the tub.

Our third item is a locket with an owl on the front. I’m not sure what the connection is to the novel but it’ll become clear as I read it. This isn’t something I’d wear or collect but I can think of a few of my daughter’s friends who might like it, or maybe even our next-door-neighbours’ kids. Honestly it brings me a lot of joy to find someone who will love something that doesn’t suit me so I wouldn’t consider this a miss by any means. It’ll find a good home.

And last but not least, the recipes and the discussion questions. I can’t speak to the q’s because I didn’t want to spoil the book for myself but the recipes are interesting. All of the ingredients for the Cloud Cookies we have on hand so we’ll definitely be giving those a try. The second is a cocktail named The Argos that calls for butterfly pea powder — I wonder where I can find that? 🤔 Peruse says it gives a blue “galaxy” look to cocktails. Neat-o! ✨✨

I’ve often wished book boxes had been around years ago so I’m delighted to see another new-to-me one on the market and have the opportunity to try it. I’m absolutely thrilled with the book selection and the Personal Library Kit, rainbow bath bomb and cookie recipe are very me so November’s Peruse box is one for the win column for sure. I’d love to see a product card or even a link to one online but the branded bookmark was a thoughtful extra. Happy to peruse and share another!

What do you think of this one? Is Peruse on your wish list?

I received Peruse in exchange for an honest review. This post also appears on A Year of Boxes.

6 responses to “Peruse November 2021”

  1. The library card and sticker kit is nice touch. And I too want to know if the locket is somehow connected to the book.

  2. Hopefully this book will be in your lending library, sounds intriguing.
    The personal library kit as a great idea for all of us and especially kids. I hope that you teen gets into the idea as much as you did.

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