Book Box Unboxing: Heady Mix | Diverse Stories for Curious Minds #BooksWithBalance #ChangingTheNarrative

You all know how much I love book boxes, and my constant search to find one suited to my reading tastes, and hopefully to yours too! So I’m thrilled to introduce you to my latest book box find – Heady Mix. When I received an email from the team behind the box, asking if I’d be interested in receiving their debut box for free, it was an instant yes! Before I unbox it, let me tell you a little bit more about the box…

I didn’t even need to put it into my own words, as their aim is stated perfectly in their brief – and it’s an aim I can get behind! We all know the book world could use more diversity! I don’t want to flood this post with quotes from the team but they explain so clearly their aims and objectives.

Books create historical and physical legacy; they will be read, sometimes shared, sold second-hand and passed down – whichever way the books are consumed stories live on.That’s why Heady Mix wants to readdress the diversity in what we consume; to spread books by and about underrepresented groups in our society.

Heady Mix is a UK based subscription box delivered to your doorstep every two months. Each box is themed with underrepresented groups, including women, race, disabilities, LGBTQI+ and more. Each box contains three books curated around the specific theme – two novels and one anthology of stories, essays and flash fiction, plus a surprise gift in every box.

So let’s unbox their debut collection…

THEME: LOUD SILENCE

The debut collection features books written by or about, people from the D/deaf community. The aim of the collection is to explore the strong voices and diverse experiences of those with partial or no hearing, illuminating a world where volume, the perception of loudness, is communicated differently and is not in absolute Silence (as might be perceived by the hearing community).

So what was inside:

A Books with Balance reading journal – created by Heady Mix. The first two pages are for listing your wishlist books, and (as pictured above) the rest of the pages are to record your book reviews. What gives this journal its edges is it also contains reading challenges – for example, challenge one is to think of a country on your wishlist that contains native language and read a book that is set there. Challenge two is to read a book by an author from a different religion to you. Adding in these reading challenges, if you choose to complete them, is another method to ensure some diversity in your reading.

Two greeting cards designed by Katerina Sophia.

The books:

Ismael and His Sisters by Louise Stern

Siblings Ismael, Rosie and Cristina are deaf, and so are many in their Maya village. The deaf and hearing alike communicate in sign language, forming a tightly-knit community with an unsophisticated, simple lifestyle. But when Ismael gets into a fight at the local fiesta and flees the village, leaving Rosie and Cristina to fend for themselves, the daily rhythms of village life are disrupted, and all that they trust in comes under threat. Ismael and His Sisters is a remarkable debut novel from the acclaimed author of Chattering. It conjures up a world set apart, made visceral through its concentrated language, where sign language bridges exterior and interior worlds and gives a physical shape to the way we experience the world. It explores the interplay between the powerful forces within us and the dark elemental forces beyond our control, exposing the ‘bottomless, hostile ocean’ in which we all flounder. This is an extraordinary novel about the power of familial bonds, the barriers we build out of language, the dark elemental forces that threaten to overwhelm us, and above all, what it is like to be human.

(Louise Stern is fourth generation Deaf on her father’s side and third generation Deaf on her mother’s side, so you can be certain this is an #OwnVoices novel.)

Being Greta by Maxine Sinclair

Greta is a young deaf woman in a hearing world. Trying to find happiness despite a controlling boyfriend, Olly, and a disapproving mother, she (drunkenly) applies to feature in a television disability arts documentary where her head is turned by the attractive sign language interpreter, Connor. As filming continues, the cracks deepen in her relationship with Olly. Will she stay with him or succumb to Connor, a man who signs her own language? And should she undergo a cochlear implant to be able to fit in with the people around her? Or should she embrace her deaf identity, follow her heart and determine her own future?Whichever route she takes, it’s not always easy being Greta…

(Maxine Sinclair is a British Sign Language interpreter and she also has a Deaf husband.)

Loud Silence curated by Heady Mix

Loud Silence features various writers, it takes the reader on a journey that explores identity, representation and communication. It brings together writes from the D/deaf community in a collection that asks the reader to challenge the notion that the absence of silence is sound.

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What a fab choice of books, I look forward to reading all three! A letter is also in the box which explains why each book was chosen, showing the thought that went into the selections.

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The complete box

I’m so impressed with this box, it’s a wonderful addition to the book community, one that encourages diversity and learning, challenges stereotypes, and offers new perspectives that will help you change the way you see the world! Thank you Heady Mix for sending me your debut box, and further diversifying my reading!

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Heady Mix have announced the theme for their next box, and it’s and exciting one!!!!

Their next collection will showcase stories from Africa that reimagine lost pasts and new futures. You must sign up by 4th October to receive Afrofuturism. 

You can subscribe or purchase a one-off box, they ship internationally. As a member of Heady Mix, you will also get invites to special events and you’ll be able to access a whole range of exclusive content including more fiction, podcasts, videos and articles.

To find out more, or to purchase a box, visit their website: headymix.co.uk

Instagram: @HeadyMixBooks | Twitter: @HeadyMixBooks | Facebook: HeadyMix

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