This season might be my favorite yet. I feel extremely lucky to work on the visuals for the exceptional collection of books Elizabeth Lane selected this quarter. Elizabeth has such an incredible knack for curating the best reads each season. As an independent bookstore buyer that plays matchmaker between readers and books on a daily basis, Elizabeth approaches her curation with expertise, instinct, and prescience about which books will be the best to have on your nightstand (or in your beach bag as it may be). I am always amazed that the books she selects often become the most buzzed about. As we approach our summer launch with incredible curatorial partnerships with the Paris Review and Lenny Letter I thought it would be great to take a peek into the curatorial process directly from Elizabeth, founder, and curator of these incredible boxes.
EL: This is the first season that we have put together a memoir collection, and with the offerings this spring and summer, we simply had to — these three books are phenomenal, each one with such a distinct voice and experience. While I do look forward to lighter “escape” reads over the summer, this collection is my personal favorite this season and it is not that. Not at all. Each story is raw, difficult, at times messy, yet so profound, elegant and absolutely life-affirming. These women’s stories are so unique and so well-told, I will not give a sneak peek, but will let their voices carry their own story and simply say, however you read books, whether on a kindle or in print, read these.
EL: The Passport Box! I am so excited about this one! When thinking of the Passport, I wanted to include the books you would want to travel with — whether to the beach, to the airport or to the backyard hammock. Each title is so different in theme and tone — The Drifter by Christine Lennon grips you from page one and presents a story that feels both chilling and emotionally real. With a mystery at its center, The Drifter is about friendship and the implications of secrets closely kept. Fake Plastic Love by Kimberley Tait is that summer book that will delight you and lead to many cocktail hour discussions with friends, champagne in hand. Tait writes with such deftness and clarity (I immediately felt like I was back in a similar period in my own life) and balances this with a writing style that delightfully dances off the page. Nine Island by Jane Alison was such an unexpected surprise, this book transported me. Alison’s writing style truly is like none other — her description and use of language so spot-on, you can almost feel the Florida humidity on your skin.
EL: Gentleman’s quarterlane 02: We offered our first Gentleman’s quarterlane collection over the holidays, and Father’s Day seemed the perfect time to bring it back! The idea of the Gentleman’s box is always a little funny to me, because I believe all of our collections would appeal to men — some more than others, granted, but happily our quarterlane subscriber is fairly evenly divided between the genders and our aesthete and epicurean show no gender favorites, either. Yet, the GQ box makes me exceedingly happy, for each box (the Gentleman’s quarterlane 01 last winter and this season with our 02 collection) offers me a bit of freedom and play within theme and structure since any genre can find its place within this collection and so it is often the one I fall head over heels for. A perfect gift for gents (and ladies, too!)
EL: Summer Fiction 04. Our seasonal fiction boxes are so dear to me, I just love getting these stories out to readers, as fiction to me is my form of self-care, self-help, relaxation and escape. When I am absorbed in a narrative, I feel the day melt away — all of the stress, the excitement, the problems, and the joys — every bit of it simply settles down for a moment and I find myself alone — with the characters and within the story. This transportive experience is much like meditation for me.
Courtney Sullivan is one of my favorite authors and her latest, Saints for All Occasions, about the Rafferty family and the secrets they desperately keep, is extraordinary. Her writing is lyrical and exquisite as she reveals characters with such complexity and quiet strength and I was thrilled to walk alongside this family on their profound journey. Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz written with a strong nod to Agatha Christie. It’s a mystery within a mystery and such a fun summer read. The Leavers by Lisa Ko had me wrapped up in page one and I read it over the course of one weekend. Ko’s writing is both elegant and effortless as she presents a young boy at the center named Deming. The story unfolds in surprising ways and I hope everyone finds room on their nightstand for this one.
EL: From quarterlane’s beginning, I planned to feature guest curators, to cast the net a bit wider and shake up the offerings, to push the boundaries and find new reads. This summer we have a fantastic slate! We featured Elettra Wiedemann for our first ql journal feature on The QL Edit and I’ve been an avid follower of her blog, Impatient Foodie, ever since. And so we are overjoyed that Elettra is curating our Epicurean 03 collection. Alongside her debut cookbook, Impatient Foodie (out June 6), she has picked three of her favorites (which quickly became three of my favorites and will be yours, too!).
Kate Schelter, stylist, author, artist, entrepreneur, is our summer artist-in-residence and so it seemed a natural fit to ask her to curate our Aesthete 04 in celebration of her debut book “Classic Style”. Her stunning selections, Classic Style, Handpicked by Ingrid Carozzi and Surf Shack by Nina Freudenberger will bring a bit of this tastemaker’s enviable style to your own coffee table this season.
We are longtime fans of The Paris Review and so this collaboration was a dream come true for me. And the box gets a little sweeter . . . to share this love with our QL community, we have partnered with TPR to offer a one-year subscription (sent quarterly) with every box.
And . . . Lenny Letter has curated an epic box for our summer season! Thrilled to share their picks with you! Since Lenny Letter debuted in 2015, I have loved everything about it — the writing is so smart,so provocative and pitch-perfect, and this weekly newsletter carried us through an election year like none other. And so the team has brought that same energy to their QL box — smart provocative and pitch-perfect. I cannot wait to send this box out on the 15th, it’s so so good.
Photography by Christine Han, Prop Styling by Astrid Chastka, Creative Direction by Samantha Hahn.