I was introduced to Prudence and the Crow via a passing tweet. I love old books, and the idea of having someone handpick, and send one to me each month was irresistible – I signed up immediately.
Of course, you’re not just getting a book, you’re getting an experience. Each book comes in it’s own little cloth bag, with a bookplate stating when you adopted it, a bookmark, and a range of little treats: tea bags, a few sweets, perhaps a pencil, or stickers, or an old stamp…. I never entirely know what to expect, beyond that I will want to brew a cup of the tea, and curl up with my new arrival.
But how do they know what to send?
There are four options to choose from when you sign up: Youth Fiction, Science Fiction, Classic Thriller, Children’s. If none of those suit, or you just can’t decide, you can also ask for a random selection. There’s then a questionnaire in which you can tell them the things that you especially like or dislike in your books, give examples of favourite authors, and add any other notes (for instance I mentioned that I already owned a lot of Frank Herbert novels). I asked for a random selection, and so far the boxes have not disappointed.
I’ve also used the option to buy a single box as a gift for family members. My suggestions on the questionnaire seemed very vague to me, but the recipient who enjoyed literary science fiction was pleased to receive an H.G.Wells novel, while, on another occasion, a long time science fiction fan got one of the few Andre Norton novels they’d never read. I can only assume some kind of magic is being performed.
On a practical note, boxes are dispatched once a month, so there is a cut-off date for sign-ups (worth keeping in mind if you’re thinking of sending one as a gift). You can find more information on their website, or follow them @PrudenceCrow for reminders on Twitter.