Monday, February 21, 2011

Kindle Book: The Frugalista Files

I have just finished reading my first entire book on my Kindle! And I have to say: it is awesome to read on! :D
I found The Frugalista Files while browsing through the Superstore's book selection. Rather than buying it, I decided to see if it was available on the Kindle Store. I was super excited when it was - I saved a few dollars in true Frugalista style! ;)
The Frugalista Files tells the story of a pivotal year in Natalie's life. At the beginning of the year she was $20,000 in debt. Employed at the Miami Herald, she was unhappy with her job. So she decided to turn her life around. She took a vow of frugality for the month of February in which she would not spend money frivolously. And she pitched the idea of blogging about her experience to her paper's editors. And thus Frugalista was born!
Her blog was such a success that she kept it going after February. Over the remaining months of the year, she stayed smart about her money, whittling her debt down to about $14,000 by the following January. But on top of that, becoming a Frugalista made her take a serious look at other aspects of her job. Eventually she gained the courage to strike out on her own, becoming a freelancer and promoting her brand full time.
Natalie's book was a lot of fun to read. She has her own unique voice that really came through. And while I can't even imagine living life like she did (my city isn't the party or shopping-central that Miami is), I even learned some great tips for a more frugal life! Thanks Natalie! :)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

School Book: The Tragedy of Mariam

I haven't really felt like reading any school books lately. But I buckled down and actually read The Tragedy of Mariam earlier this evening. It was a short read, which was great. Some of the speeches were a bit long and there were a few places where I wasn't altogether sure what was happening, but it was an okay read.
The basic story (spoilers!) is that the king, Herod, is presumed dead by his people and his queen, Mariam. This turns out to be false, leaving many people, Mariam included, rather unhappy. But Herod's sister, Salome, turns this to her advantage, getting rid of her unwanted husband and her sister-in-law to boot. In the end Herod realizes his mistake: Mariam was not untrue to him. But unfortunately it's too late, as he's already put her to death. The argument, which is right at the beginning of the play, gives all of this away, which was why I didn't feel too bad repeating it here.
The really interesting thing about this play is that it is what's known as a "closet drama." It was written by a woman in the 17th century. It was intended to be read by her friends and herself; it was not intended for publication. I thought that was pretty fascinating as we always hear of the male playwrights of the period (like Shakespeare, Middleton and the like), but no females. For that reason alone, this is worth a read.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The List Update

Today I was trying to clean up my closet a bit and decided that I wanted to read something. I've had a stack of books that were more or less along the lines of romance that I've picked up pretty cheaply from the library used book sales. So I went through that and picked one that sounded pretty interesting.

The book I chose was Full of It by Wendy French. I got about 50 pages in when I realized that I really, really don't care. And so I did something that I don't normally do: I stopped reading. Normally I power through books whether I like them or not. But this time I decided not to. When I was at work the other day, a lady came in and told me that she doesn't keep reading; if a book doesn't catch her interest in the first 50 pages or so, she puts it down. While I doubt I'll do that for every book that I can't get into, I felt totally okay with putting this one down.

So that gave me the courage to get rid of several books that I'm really not interested in. Most of them were romance, which I'm not overly thrilled to read. Yes I like Linda Howard books, but most of the stuff here sounded vaguely interesting when I bought it several years ago. And a few were books that I had started reading and just couldn't be bothered to finish (I put them down thinking I'd pick them up again one day. But no, I don't really want to).

So here's what I have decided to get rid of without reading:
Star Wars Rogue Planet by Greg Bear
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Full of It by Wendy French
4 Blondes by Candace Bushnell
The Spy Who Loved Me by Julie Kenner
Dates From Hell by Kim Harrison, Lynsay Sands, Kelley Armstrong, and Lori Handeland
A Fiend in Need by Maureen Child
Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie
Crazy For You by Jennifer Crusie (I can't remember if I read this or not)

I also decided to get rid of a few books that I have read and hung onto. I think I intended to read them again in the future someday, but looking at them now I'm not really interested in them.

It's not a lot, but this will help clean things up so the List has books that I actually intend to read on it. All of these books will either be traded in for credit at my local used book store or be donated back to the library (I think the library used book sale was looking for romance).

This brings the List officially down to 156 books (although I know there are a few books in my closet that aren't included on it. I'll have to fix that one day).

School Book: Bartholomew Fair

Today I read Ben Jonson's Bartholomew Fair. I didn't really feel like reading it, but now that I have I can work on other things tomorrow (and sleep in! I'm super tired right now!)
But that being said, Bartholomew Fair was a pretty entertaining read. It was a bit hard to follow at times (particularly when one of the characters started speaking in stage-Scots). But the characters were all pretty funny. Like most of the other plays I've read so far for Sex, Gender and the Early Modern, Bartholomew Fair was a city comedy, so it shows the citizens engaged in daily life (although you can't take this as a depiction of accurate daily life for the Elizabethan/Jacobean people).
Bartholomew Fair tells a strange tale about marriage and courtship. A widow will only marry someone who is mad. A young gentlewoman is supposed to marry a rather childish man, but would prefer to marry anyone else. These people are all running around the Bartholomew Fair, encountering prostitutes and cutpurses.
As I said, it's an entertaining read. If you're looking for something a bit different from Shakespeare, definitely give Bartholomew Fair a try!