We’re at that point in the holiday shopping season where if you don’t already have a gift for someone, you either have to deal with the other last-minute shoppers in stores, pay an outrageous shipping rate online and hope the post office/shipping company gets it to you on time… or buy something a little more abstract, like a subscription to something. Allow me to make an argument for the third option, specifically a subscription to one (or both!) of the Rumpus Book Clubs.
The Rumpus Book Club and the Poetry Book Club have both been around for over five years at this point, but their mission has never changed—to read and talk about great pre-release books with each other and with their authors. That’s right: The Rumpus Book Club chooses books that haven’t come out yet (sometimes our members get copies even before the author gets their personal copies). These books aren’t available for sale anywhere—not in stores, not online. And if having a book before anyone else isn’t enough of a draw, you also have the opportunity to chat live, online, with the author at the end of the month.
Here are the books we’ve read in our original Book Club, and the authors we’ve chatted with, this year:
How to Grow Up: A Memoir by Michelle Tea
Irritable Hearts: A PTSD Love Story by Mac McClelland
In the Circus of You by Nicelle Davis
Mr. and Mrs. Doctor by Julie Iromuanya
Haints Stay by Colin Winnette
The Pinch by Steve Stern
The Scamp by Jennifer Pashley
Benchere in Wonderland by Steven Gillis
Chelsea Girls by Eileen Myles
Upright Beasts by Lincoln Michel
Hotels of North America by Rick Moody
The Narrow Door A Memoir of Friendship by Paul Lisicky
The Poetry Book Club works the same way. We get books before they’ve been released to the general public, talk about them all month long, and then chat with their authors online at the end of the month. Here’s a list of the books we read and poets we talked with in 2015:
The Do-Over by Kathleen Ossip
S O S by Amiri Baraka (we chatted with his editor, Paul Vangelisti)
Red Deer by Anne Marie Macari
The Glory Gets by Honorée Jeffers
Count the Waves by Sandra Beasley
Our Lady of the Crossword by Rigoberto Gonzalez
That Winter the Wolf Came by Juliana Spahr
Bright Dead Things by Ada Limón
Arcadia Road by Thorpe Moeckel
Bastards of the Reagan Era by Reginald Dwayne Betts
The Animal Too Big to Kill by Shane McCrae
Thief in the Interior by Phillip B. Williams
There’s no other book club around that offers what ours does—pre-release books and direct access to their authors. You can subscribe in a number of ways: by the month, for six months (available during the holidays only), or for a year. The six-month and year-long subscriptions offer a small discount over the monthly subscription. You can subscribe to either the regular book club (fiction and non-fiction) or the poetry book club or both.
If you’re a regular visitor to The Rumpus, then you’re probably a reader, and readers (in my experience) hang out with readers, so this would be a terrific gift for a friend. But you know who it’s an even better gift for?
You deserve this! Treat yourself!