Day 411: Welcome to BookMail, Craig & Fred

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So I got the first book from my book subscription service in the mail last Saturday. I love it and will absolutely be renewing it in four months. The first title I received is Craig & Fred, written by a Marine (Craig) who befriends a stray dog while on deployment in Afghanistan. (Fred) Like all good stories, there is a dilemma. Soldiers are warned during the first week of assignment not to become friends with local dogs because the dogs may carry rabies. Any dog found will be immediately euthanized. Apparently, Fred did not get the memo and proceeds to make himself right at home after being divested of an insane amount of ticks. I’ve only read a few chapters in but if you’re worried about Fred don’t be, it’s obvious from the first sentence of the book that he does indeed make it back to the States.

I like this book because it is a good mix of different and familiar things. I spent several years of my childhood on an Army base while my mother was enlisted so I am familiar with most of the military terminology I’ve come across so far. In fact, when the author takes the time to explain military vocabulary I catch myself thinking “yeah I know that already, get on with it,” and have to remind myself that many people will pick up the book who do not have my background knowledge. Most of my reading has been fiction lately and I can’t remember the last memoir I picked up so this book is almost like a palate cleanser.

This is my first experience with books by mail and I have thoroughly enjoyed it. The way this particular book service works is after ordering a subscription in increments of four, six, or twelve months you choose to receive hardcover books, softcover books, or a mix of both. I chose the mix of both. You also choose whether the books will be geared to children, teens, or adults. Then you fill out a questionnaire about your interests and reading style which informs what kind of books you get. For instance one of the questions asks what your favorite TV programs are. Another, how much sex you are comfortable with in a book. There are several questions which ask you to put check marks by the names of all things that you have read and an open space for you to add your favorite authors who may or may not have been listed in the previous questions. The last question leaves a big black box where you to tell them anything you want. The first thing I said was that I love dogs and lo, this book appears. In an interesting coincidence, I said nothing about Golden retriever specifically but Fred looks to be a golden retriever collie mix. Each book comes individually wrapped so it’s almost like getting a present once a month and they include a bookmark with the first book. You can edit your reading preferences at any time on your account page to change the kinds of books you receive and if they send you a book you already have or that you just don’t click with all you have to do is email room and they will send you another book along with a paid envelope to send the first book back. I’m really looking forward to seeing how this changes my reading habits.

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