June’s Paperback Bookshelf

Take a look at what was inside June’s Paperback Bookshelf!

The Wind in the Willows, featured in June's Paperback Bookshelf. Photo by WIllow + Co Photography
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame, featured in June’s Paperback Bookshelf.
Photo by Willow + Co Photography

The Wind in the Willows, a classic children’s tale by Kenneth Grahame, was a roaring success as the featured title in the June, 2019 Paperback Bookshelf subscription. The beautiful edition, a Word Cloud Classic, has a soft, flexible leather binding imprinted with words and phrases from within the book. The illustrations by Arthur Rackham are beautiful.

Paperback Bookshelf wrapped book and Blue Spider Books & Wax's handcrafted Toad Hall body spray. Photo by Willow + Co Photography
The handcrafted scented item for June’s box was “Toad Hall” moisturizing body spray.
Photo by Willow + Co Photography

Also included in June’s box was the deliciously-scented moisturizing body spray, named “Toad Hall” in honor of Mr. Toad from the book. Scented with bamboo and coconut, the body spray leaves a light, energizing fragrance behind. The spray isn’t greasy on the skin and absorbs well.

A snackable item is always included, and subscribers received “Cattails” in the form of a bag of gluten-free pretzel sticks from Snyder’s. The bonus item was a vintage frog-themed magnet from Button & Things CA, an Etsy shop.

Which of the included items is your favorite? Would adding the featured book to your shelves begin your obsession with Word Cloud Classic editions (as it has for me), or will it be a beautiful addition to an existing collection?

Remember that you can grab previous boxes from the gift shop. Availability is limited.

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Favorite Coffee Roasts

“Humanity runs on coffee.”

Unknown

Coffee is an acquired taste and everyone likes it to taste differently. Some prefer it light and weak, and others prefer the darker, more pronounced flavors of a roast. Flavor preference can be a mood thing, or it can be dependent upon what time of day it is. If you’ve had a particularly long day, which coffee roast do you enjoy more? Which roast really revs you up for the weekend? Do you enjoy more robust coffee in the morning than in the afternoon, for example?

coffee and books image
image credit: pixabay

I am fascinated by the coffee roasting process and would love to delve into test-roasting my own beans soon. I think it would be a fantastic field trip to see the inner workings of a roastery–to see all the nuances of choosing beans, and how to tell when they’re roasted the way that you want them. It’s all such a marvel!

I received a small bag of green coffee beans and a popcorn popper as a beginner roaster for a gift many months back, but I haven’t yet had the time to play around with it. If you’ve used a popcorn popper to roast beans before, let me know how your experience played out. Any tips to share with this newbie?

What are your favorite coffee roasts? Do you prefer dark and sultry or light? What are your best resources for learning the craft of roasting?


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How are the Paperback Bookshelf books chosen?

“If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.” 
― Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood

Paperback Bookshelf was started because we wanted to curate a book box that featured books and authors we love and want to get to know. Through featuring a wonderful mixture of popular classics and lesser known titles, we’re helping to build a paperback library that is diverse, interesting, and that includes a little piece of ourselves. Sometimes we’re discovering these stories for the first time right alongside you, and sometimes we’re sending out newer editions of books that we have loved for years. Either way, Paperback Bookshelf is an experience that we are excited to share with you, and we look forward to exploring the featured books and authors together!

Jeremy and I plan out the books we are going to include several months in advance to make sure that we can curate enough copies. There have been times where we wanted to include a particular title and ended up having to swap it out for another title by the author due to being out of print or an inability to source enough copies. This makes us very sad, but it does happen.

Open Paperback Bookshelf subscription box with Thank You note inside
Photo by Willow + Co

“Just read stories that make you feel something. ”

Thus far, we have pretty much been alternating months, meaning he chooses a book for one month and I choose the book for the next month. We have differing tastes in reading material — for the most part — so this allows us to choose from a wide variety of books. Our choices are often heavily rooted in the science fiction and fantasy genres, however, because these are the books that we love best. This doesn’t mean that a great memoir or literary fiction story isn’t forthcoming! We like those types of books, too. There may also be some nonfiction books to come in the future — maybe something related to writing since this is something we both enjoy. Do you have any favorite books on writing that every aspiriting writer should have on their shelf?

Paperback Bookshelf shipped out for the very first time in November, 2018 with Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams as the featured book. Since then, we have featured The Neverending Story by Michael Ende, The Black Company #1 by Glen Cook, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, and many others. Forthcoming titles will include some timeless stories, as well as more modern stories that are destined to become classics. Plus we’ll throw in books that we enjoy that are purely entertainment-based. Not everything we read has to be bound for the classics shelf, right? Let’s have fun with our reading choices! Read weird stories that challenge the cultural norms or read stories that make you cry. Just read stories that make you feel something.

Curating the Paperback Bookshelf books and creating the scented items that are book-themed has been so much fun, and we look forward to sharing more of these bookish experiences! If you’re curious about what is typically included in a Paperback Bookshelf box, read the post here. If you’re ready to join us on this bookish journey, you can subscribe here. If you’d like to try a single-purchase box without the commitment of a subscription, you can do that, too! We have several options for one-time Paperback Bookshelf boxes in our shop at bluespiderbooks.com.

Have we included any of your favorite books in Paperback Bookshelf yet? If so, which ones? If not, tell us what your favorites are and we’ll consider featuring them in future boxes!

Paperback Bookshelf subscription box with wrapped featured book and Toad Hall body Spray, handcrafted by Blue Spider Books
Photo by Willow + Co

Raise funds for your group or organization with Blue Spider Books & Wax

Fundraiser season will soon be upon us and there’s no better time than right now to start thinking about — or even planning — what your organization will do for fundraisers this year.

Be sure to add Blue Spider Books & Wax to your partner list! We offer fundraiser opportunities by selling our deliciously-scented wax melts. Made from a blend of natural soy and coconut waxes, our wax melts will fill your space with the wonderful scents of all the things you love involving fruit and nature!

Our wax melts are vegan and cruelty free and use only the best fragrance oils to give you (and your prospective fundraiser supporters) a delightfully scented experience. We hand pour each wax melt, ensuring quality control that large coorporations often cannot provide. School and church groups, non-profit organizations and individuals are all welcomed, eligible fundraiser partners! No group is too small.

We offer the opportunity to personalize your fundraising experience by adding your group or team’s logo or slogan to the wax melt labels so that each and every supporter will remember to continue to support your cause long after the sale has been made.

Wax melts are portable, inexpensive, and generally easier to sell than candles. There’s no need for an open flame since wax melts can be used in electric burners, making them the perfect avenue for fresh smelling offices, dorm rooms, vacation spots, and so much more!

Fundraiser flyer offering fundraising for groups and organizatoins by selling wax melts handmade by Blue Spider Books & Wax

To request more information about how we can help your group or organization raise funds this year, email us at hello@bluespiderbooks.com or visit our website at

What’s Inside a Paperback Bookshelf Box

If you’ve been a reader and a lover of books for at least 5 minutes, you likely have an opinion on the old hardcover vs. paperback debate. I recently commented on my position in this debate, and (spoiler alert) I’m pretty pro-paperback for a number of reasons. (Hardcovers are still awesome, though, and make me feel fancy for owning them.)


“Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.” 
― Mark Twain

If you’re a paperback lover like me, then you’ll want to take a peek inside Paperback Bookshelf, a monthly book subscription box that curates bookshelf-worthy paperback books and pairs them with a handcrafted scented item that’s themed around the book, a yummy snack to munch while reading, and subscriber’s choice of coffee, tea, or cocoa. The boxes make great gifts for birthdays, graduations, Mother’s Day, Christmas, and just because!

Each Paperback Bookshelf box includes the following:

  • One paperback book, wrapped in paper to preserve the surprise
  • One handcrafted, book-themed scented item, such as candles and bath & body products
  • One snack to munch while reading
  • One beverage sample, subscriber’s choice of coffee, tea, or cocoa
  • One bonus item

Paperback Bookshelf is an auto-renewing monthly subscription, meaning that the subscription automatically renews until cancelled by the subscriber. Subscribers can choose to subscribe for one month or to pre-pay for three- or six-month terms. Shipping and applicable sales taxes are added to the subscription’s total price. In addition, the subscription purchases are treated like preorders, which means that a purchase in July translates to a shipment in August (in most cases).

Paperback Bookshelf curates books based on the preferences of the owners, Candice & Jeremy, and could range from old-school science fiction and fantasy to literary fiction and classics. Previously featured titles include Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, The Princess Bride by William Goldman, The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski, and more. To scope out more previously-included titles, or to see what’s upcoming for Paperback Bookshelf, follow along on Facebook or Instagram.

Reading and collecting books is a trend that will never go out of style, and Paperback Bookshelf is here to help you curate a paperback library that will stand the test of time. Broaden your horizons and discover books you may never have heard of, by authors you may have heard mentioned a time or ten.

Want to know more, or perhaps you’re ready to give Paperback Bookshelf a try? Visit the website at bluespiderbooks.com! The gift shop also hosts some Paperback Bookshelf boxes for individual sale.


Audiobooks: The Performance Truly Matters

It’s only been in the past year or so that I have truly discovered audiobooks. (And by discovered, I mean fallen head-over-heels in love with.) I had minimal experience with audiobooks in the past– the kind spread across a dozen cassette tapes that had to be ejected and flipped to the other side to continue the story. Later came the CD versions, still on a multitude of discs, but at least they didn’t have to be flipped from Side A to Side B.

girl in white short with white headphones hanging around her neck
Image by Foundry Co from Pixabay

An audiobook’s narrator will make or break the experience for a listener.

My first enjoyable audiobook experience was with Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone by JK Rowling. It was on cassette and I listened to it in the car while driving my kids to and from school every day. It took us a while to listen to the entire thing, but I found it difficult to abstain from listening when I ran errands without the kids. I wanted to listen, to continue the story, but we were in it together, the kids and I, and so I restricted myself.

My next experience was with a set of CDs loaned to me by my husband-person (with whom I was only in a budding dating-ship at the time and whom I wanted to impress by listening to this book he’d raved about). The book was Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut and I hated it.

I have thought a lot about those two experiences and what really set them apart. Aside from the subject matter being vastly different, the main reason why I enjoyed Harry Potter over the Vonnegut classic is due to the narrator. An audiobook’s narrator will make or break the experience for a listener. It certainly made the difference for me.

several open books lying in the grass
Image by congerdesign from Pixabay

I have promised myself that I’ll give Slaughterhouse Five another go in the future, but I’ll make sure that I choose a version that’s performed by someone else. This particular version was voiced by Ethan Hawke and I just can’t. Sorry, Ethan.

After the failure with Vonnegut and Hawke, I began perusing the library for every audiobook that looked remotely interesting. On my commutes between work and home, I listened to memoirs and fantasies, mysteries, and more. Some I finished and loved. Some I returned well before the due date. The deciding factor on why I enjoyed one over another: performance. Hands down, every time, performance won out. The story can be wonderfully written, but if it is poorly performed, I’ll spend more time being distracted by the performer’s lisp and halting, staccato voice than I will spend time imagining the story.

Now I’m subscribed to an audiobook service and have recently discovered that I can search by performer. What an incredible discovery for me! You can’t imagine the elation I felt when I clicked on one of my favorite performer’s names and was taken to a multitude of other works she has done. EUREKA! I am considering adding genres I typically am not a fan of simply because she is the voice behind the story. It makes that much of a difference. Truly.

What about you? Are you an audiobook fan? What is it about an audiobook that decides your ultimate enjoyment?


Blue Spider Books & Wax logo of typewriter with Blue Spider Books & Wax logo
Have you checked out Paperback Bookshelf?

Why Paperbacks are Better | Creativity is Important

5 Gifts for the Book Nerd in your Life


Choosing a gift for a book lover doesn’t have to be hard, and this list makes it easier! Happy shopping!

We get it. Sometimes it’s tough to find the right gift for your book-loving friends and family members, so we have compiled a list of some of our favorite bookish companies.


Paperback Bookshelf

Paperback Bookshelf curates bookshelf-worthy paperback books that you’ll actually want to read. The box is curated by Blue Spider Books owners Candice and Jeremy who alternate choosing the featured books. Books featured in past boxes have included The Princess Bride, The Black Company, and Fahrenheit 451, among others.

In addition to the book, each box includes a hot beverage, a delicious snack, and a scented item that is themed around the book. The subscription box ships monthly and there are also single boxes available without subscription from the gift shop.

Paperback Bookshelf subscription from Blue Spider Books

Chaos Theory Designs

Chaos Theory Designs creates an array of bookish jewelry using book pages and more. Wearing your words has never been easier or more fun! Chaos Theory has a huge assortment ready-to-ship which makes these unique pieces a wonderful gift for each of the book lovers in your life!

Jamie and Clare bracelet from Chaos Theory Designs

Bookart Bookmark

Book lovers who prefer physical copies of books over the digital versions will adore the unique banded bookmarks from Bookart Bookmarks. The band slips over the pages of the book so you don’t have to worry about losing the slip of paper you’ve tucked inside. Not only that, but the beautiful designs enhance the beauty of any book it adorns. Dress your book in style with Bookart Bookmarks!

Geode Slice from Bookart Bookmarks

Book Lovers Coffee

Book Lovers Coffee roasts the magical bean juice with book nerds in mind. An all-night reading binge or book club meeting isn’t complete without a hot cup of Book Lovers Coffee! The beans are roasted to order, ensuring that you’re never sipping from a stale bean. Try the staple roasts or treat yourself to a specially blended flavor.

Readers Fuel Coffee from Book Lovers Coffee

Pigsey Art

Pigsey Art creates an assortment of wooden journals, pins, magnets (and more!) that celebrates both reading and science! From vegan leather journals to lasercut magnets and pins, there are plenty of gifts for your favorite book nerd and science geek to choose from.

Pigsey Art Vegan Leather Journal


Choosing a gift for a book lover doesn’t have to be hard, and this list makes it easier! Happy shopping!