Mailbag: August ARCs

I never understood the idea of “small dreams” until I started receiving unsolicited advance reader copies (ARCs) of soon-to-be-published books in the mail, and felt like I had arrived. It wasn’t quite the same as being paid to read, to but not having to pay to read felt pretty close (Yes, libraries. But late fees.)

Of course, roses have thorns, etc. and I soon discovered that even small dreams have their downsides.

My book cases were already stuffed with books stacked on top of rows and sometimes dropping down behind them to disappear in accidental double shelves. With 2-4 new books arriving each week, I quickly found myself building stacks on dressers, file cabinets, end tables, the floor in front of bookcases, filling in the space under my desk.

And of course, I don’t get to pick the books that come in the mail. Sometimes that makes it easier. Book of jokes by some comedian I’ve never heard of? Book three in the murder-mystery thriller series I never started? Off to the nearest Little Free Library you go.

But many books that wouldn’t necessarily spend $20 to buy seem interesting enough to read when they show up in my mailbox. I can’t quite bring myself to get rid of free books that I might read. So the piles grow, faster than I can process them. And many books I would like to read and review get buried in the stacks.

I’d like to take a few minutes to acknowledge these gifts, even if I never get around to reading them.

Without further ado, then, let’s take a peek at what showed up at my house in the last two weeks of August.


The Comic Book Story of Beer: The World’s Favorite Beverage from 7000 BC to Today’s Craft Brewing Revolution by Jonathan Hennessey and Mike Smith; Art by Aaron McConnell; Lettering by Tom Orzechowski.

A comic book that covers 10,000 years of brewing history, with detailed information on how the drink is made as well as stories from mythology that deal with beer. I mean come on, I live in the Pacific Northwest. I homebrewed before I had kids. Of course I would want to read this book. One of these days.

I Think You’re Totally Wrong: A Quarrel by David Shields and Caleb Powell

This is a dialectic between a professor and his former student as they discuss life, art, and life vs. art over the course of four days in a cabin in the woods. From the back cover copy it appears the format is basically the same as The Dude and the Zen Master (the book Jeff Bridges made with his zen mentor), except with a more oppositional approach. I went to Jesuit school, so I’m always down for a good dialectic, even if I’ve never read anything by David Shields. Plus, my memories of those high-stress, sleepless early parenting years are vague, but I’m pretty sure my daughter was friends with Caleb Powell’s daughter in preschool. I should support a local writer and sort-of-former-acquaintance and read his book. One of these days.

The Marquis: Lafayette Reconsidered by Laura Auricchio

Because history. . . Eventually.

Let’s not even talk about my unintended book haul from the day we turned in my daughter’s Barnes and Noble summer reading list so she could get a free copy of Mr. Lemoncello’s Library.



One thought on “Mailbag: August ARCs

  1. Pingback: Free Books in My Mail | gemma D. alexander

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