The Big Book Box: The Secret Santa Edition’18

*Disclaimer: The pictures used in this post belong to me. Everything written here is just my opinion. This post is not sponsored.

 

Hey, folks!

I was hoping that this post would be going up on the 25th but the package arrived on the 26th instead and I was pretty busy, so, I had to wait until a day later to write about this package. Christmas has already gone by but the gifts are never-ending and honestly, do we really need Christmas to give and receive gifts? We sure don’t and thank God for that. This post is going to be relatively shorted in comparison to my previous posts for The Big Book Box. Funny, isn’t it? My last post was about The Big Book Box and how I probably won’t be venturing out and trying another box from them but here I am. Well, in my defense, the whole idea of the Secret Santa really got me curious, curious enough to bet my money on it and to live with the odds of it possibly not arriving on time, which it didn’t as you can see.

But, I won’t reveal any further over here. So, let’s carry on and cover the usual routine.

What is it? Where is it from?

The Big Book Box is an Indian Subscription Box and it was made with the idea to provide readers with a variety of choices of books to choose from while giving each box a coffee name along with different merchandises that you can expect in each of the varying boxes. The merchandises provided in their boxes can range from Stationery items to Funko Pop Figures as well as Art Prints as well. They have only two Subscription Plans- Monthly and Trimonthly. There are four different Subscription Boxes available-

  1. The Frappe Box– which is a basic plan which includes one newly released book and a few bookish goods. This is sold for Rs 999.
  2. The Espresso Box– is one of their most popular plans and it contains two books, usually one hardback and one paperback book. It also contains bookish goodies along with some exclusive items as well. This is sold for Rs 1.6K.
  3. The Cappuccino Box– for those who can handle reading more than two books, receive three books in this box along with twice as many goodies with exclusive items as well. This is sold for Rs 2.2K.
  4. The Cafe Mocha Box– allegedly it is known as the best premium book box in India. This box contains three hardback books and one paperback book along with many bookish items as well some edible goodies to munch on while you read. This is sold for Rs 3k.

The concept for the Secret Santa Box is simple- you buy a box from the three available price ranges, you write a message and this message will be sent to a random person, who is also buying this package of the same value, and vice versa. It’s a simple and fun way of becoming a secret Santa for a random stranger online and who knows, maybe even find that person and become pen-pals even?

There’s just so much that can be done here! This was the kind of offer that I simply could not let go by.

The cost of the box I purchased is ₹899. The other packages were listed at ₹499 and ₹699, I think, unfortunately, I don’t really remember.

To visit their site, click here.

Word on the street?

Their customer service is still something that people often complain about and there are many people out there that haven’t received their Secret Santa packages yet. One thing that really bothers me is that their social media handler/s do not reply to all the comments. I know, they have a lot of followers, it was 35k the last time I checked but there are people who haven’t yet received their packages, even though it had been promised to us that they will arrive before the 25th.

Personally?

I really don’t think The Big Book Box will be featuring again on this blog for a while. There are so many reasons why. The time the packages take to arrive is always disappointing, the items don’t always make any sense to the theme and the worst is, the wasted potential. I mentioned the wasted potential in the last post as well but really, I still mean it and it’s probably the biggest problem I have with The Big Book Box. Buying another item from them was definitely not on my Christmas Shopping List but I wanted to make this gamble and see whether this will earn some of my faith back. Did it? We are about to get into that.

To read my previous post, click here.

So far, here are the scores:

Arrival- 7/10

Social Media Activity- 9/10

Customer Service- 3/10

Authenticity- 8/10

 

So, with all that being said, let’s get into this package.

Here are the first three things you actually come across first after the courier packaging. There’s the gift package, a notepad and a card.

The Christmas Card- Harry Potter Themed

It’s a Christmas card with the popular trio on the front, i.e., Ron Weasley, Harry Potter and Hermione Granger in winter gear. The artwork is matte shine finish. On the side of the card, there is a message that has been stuck on the card. The message is from the person (Secret Santa) who purchased the package with the same value and they’ve received my message in return on their package. The back of the card is blank, except for ‘Taura Paper Co.’ written on it.

I’m certainly not surprised that Harry Potter is a part of this package but c’ mon, it’s a crowd favorite and I can’t help but really like the artwork and appreciate the effort. The characters don’t resemble the trio from the movie adaptation but they sure look like what the novel depicts them to be. The message is so sweet and well-written, it really gives you that extra boost of warmth you need during winter days like these. I sure hope my message wasn’t too bland.

Product Ratings

Quality: 8/10

Defects: The message stuck inside is upside down. Refer to the image.

Value: 8/10

Relevance: 9/10

 

The Notepad

It has 28 pages (I checked) and they’ve wintery and starry designs on the front. They’re blank on the back. Each page says the same,”28 Days To 6 New Habits”, “List 6 habits you want to develop, complete 28-day cycle over the next 28 pages” and “One rule: 28 continuous days, any month of the year”. The first page was a little botched up but the rest are fine.

This is yet another creative notepad from The Big Book Box. The last time, it was themed with classic novels and this time, it’s winter. Since most months have either 30-31 days, I think this would be perfect for a February challenge. What do you think? Comment down below! Nevertheless, it’s a nice quaint little addition to the package.

Product Ratings

Quality: 7/10

Defects: Botched first page. Refer to the image below.

Value: 7/10

Relevance: 7/10

The Package

Like most Christmas wraps or any gift wrap, this also was delicate and had some rips on it. That’s probably because of manhandling of packages thanks to the courier folks. The designs on it are simple and cute.

I sure was glad that the items were not going to be revealed to me too easily. The layers to getting to them, is something that I really do appreciate. Rips and tears are always understandable and it’s just a part and parcel of life. No pun intended.

Product Ratings

Quality: 7/10

Defects: The tear on the package. Refer to image.

Value: 8/10

Relevance: 10/10

 

Goodbye Freddie Mercury by Nadia Akbar

Nadia Akbar is a Pakistani-American novelist. She was born and raised in Lahore, Pakistan. She holds degrees from Cornell University and the graduate creative-writing program at the University of Arizona.

Here’s an excerpt from Amazon.in on the book,

Lahore is burning. General elections are right around the corner. The summer city rages with the drug-fuelled parties of the oblivious, the rich and famous, while campaign posters and rally cries dominate the airwaves. 

Bugsy, rock RJ and host of the nation’s top English radio show, is young and fabulous. Seeking more than wealth, fame and prestige, he performs dangerous favor for an old friend that plunges him into the dark recesses of desi politics. Nida, a young college student desperate to escape the oppressive atmosphere of her traditional family home and her conservative college, still mourning the death of her brother, throws herself recklessly into the drug-addled arms of Omer Ali, son of the prime minister’s right-hand man. As Nida spirals into decadence and Bugsy descends into darkness, their paths cross and sparks begin to fly.

This book has been rated 3.5/5 on Goodreads.com and quite honestly, I’m surprised. The cover of the book is what most people really take a fancy to and the title, of course, brings in the crowd and piqued interests. Though, as always, I’ve read the reviews and some spoilers for you, so, you’re welcome. As far as I can tell, many people have expressed their displeasure over a large number of stereotypes that have been overplayed in the book. Some even call the book pointless, allegedly, the fourth wall was also broken several times by the characters as they blatantly acknowledged their own uselessness. While I cannot debunk or prove any of these, there were several people who appreciated how well-written the Pakistani cities are as well as the intricacies of the writing with the embedded Punjabi and Hindi slangs and dialects. Overall, this book really is worth a read and an acquired taste for most. Is it perfect for Christmas? I’m not sure, it just doesn’t sound like the kind I would want to read around this time of the year. Nonetheless, it’s a book I would surely read otherwise.

Product Ratings

Quality: 8/10

Defects: The surface is a little scratched and worn out.

Value: ₹599

Worth it?: Sort of

Recommend it?: Yes

Relevance: 6/10

Roar by Cecelia Ahern

Cecelia Ahern was born and grew up in Dublin. She is now published in nearly fifty countries and has sold over twenty-five million copies of her novels worldwide. Two of her books have been adapted as films and she has created several TV series.
Here’s a little something about the book from Amazon.in,

These stories sing and cry and shout and whisper from the page. They’re sharp, clever, witty a joy to read.’ Donal Ryan, international bestselling author of The spinning heart. I am a woman. Hear me roar. Have you ever imagined a different life? Have you ever stood at a crossroads, undecided? Have you ever had a moment when you wanted to roar? The women in these startlingly original stories are all of us: the women who befriend us, the women who encourage us, the women who make us brave. From The Woman Who Slowly Disappeared to The Woman Who Was Kept on the Shelf and The Woman Who Returned and Exchanged her Husband, discovers thirty touchings, often hilarious, stories and meet thirty very different women. Each discovers her strength, each realizes she holds the power to make a change. 
Witty, tender, surprising, these keenly observed tales speak to us all and capture the moment when we all want to roar
.

This book was rated 3.6/5 on Goodreads.com. Much like the overuse of Harry Potter, Women Empowerment is somehow a new overused theme in boxes. This book’s idea kind of reminds me of Murakami’s,”Men without women”. The title states it all and each of the stories had men who had some issue with some woman in their life, in the past or present. So, here we have women and they’re dealing with various aspects of life, some relatable and others that are subjective to few. The apparent saving grace, according to several reviewers, is the use of a diverse array of women. Though, they also considered this a cheap and melodramatic way of displaying problems that seem to be exclusive to only women. Of course, there were many others who opposed these notions and marveled at the way Ahern had written the story and labeled it poignant and graceful. Now, do I consider this Christmassy? Not really, no. Reading about the problems or stereotypes of women, regardless of their diversity, is not something I want to indulge in during Christmas or the last week of the year. Any other time of the year, sure, I will give it a go.

Product Ratings

Quality: 8/10

Defects: Scratched and worn out surface.

Value: ₹399

Worth it?: Not really

Recommend it?: Yes

Relevance: 6/10

My Verdict?

 

*Sigh*

This whole concept was so full of potential and fun. It was unfortunate that except for the Christmas wrap and the card, nothing else really was really relevant to the theme. The books could’ve been more relevant to this time of the year, maybe more festive or wintery but no, they wanted to tackle real-world problems and sober us up. I really want to like this package, I really do. Secret Santa is such a bright and delightful concept and to not deliver it well or on time, is just disappointing. I would’ve really appreciated even a revamped version of an old Christmas classic book, too. It didn’t have to be the latest release either. Just something that catered to this time of the year. So, in the end, do I think any of this was worth the ₹899 I paid? Yes and no. Yes, because the items are really nice, there are minor defects but I like books. No, because it was largely non-Christmas and beats the whole point. A birthday gift? Yes. A Christmas gift? No. I feel so forlorn because I was low-key hoping that this package would really turn things around with how I feel about The Big Book Box but it just didn’t come through.

I have written this post the same day I post it and I actually was supposed to inaugurate the introduction of a new category on this blog but that has been pushed aside to post this review instead since it has to be published while it is still relevant.

 

Anyway, as always, feel free to comment down below any feedback you have and you can reach out to me via Instagram or email me at iamnotchannel@gmail.com.

Until the next post,

Laters, folks!

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Amazing Review, sweet heart

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Amaaaaazing/ love the photos/ amazing write up

    Liked by 1 person

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