My Mouse Books shipment last week had three books in it and a cool little Mouse Book-sized storage box. The selections were “Moses” (64 tiny pages of excerpts from the King James Version of Exodus), “Southern Horrors: Lynch Law In All Its Phases” by Ida B Wells, and parts of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter. Yesterday I got to talk with the founder of Mouse Books for over an hour about the story of Exodus, the character of Moses, and the contribution that spiritual texts make in a scientific and technical age. So. Much. Fun.
I’ve been a Mouse Books booster ever since Cal Newport wrote about them on his blog, before they had even shipped their first collection. When I learned the people behind them were here in Chicago, I signed up immediately. To my delight, the founder (David), sent me a preview with a handwritten note: a slim, pocket-sized yellow paperback of James Joyce’s The Dead. I chewed through it in a couple of bus and train rides.
I have become irrationally committed to Mouse Books. I’m a sucker for the whole curated-box-of-goodies genre, so I tear open each new shipment, the contents of which the company keeps secret before sending them out. Since getting them, I have re-experienced beloved literature like the Melville short story “Bartleby The Scrivener” and experienced stuff I’ve never read, like Philip K. Dick’s The Skull. As engrossing as the literature is, the choosing and combining of titles by David and his partner is just as much part of the fun.
I think this post is as close to a product pitch as this blog will ever get. But I believe in the mission of Mouse Books and I want it to succeed. I’ll share the audio of David’s and my conversation when he posts it, but until then you can preview some of the other audio he’s created around this project, or even sign up yourself. I’ve also found that the individual series make great gifts (my personal favorite is the “Struggle” series).