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saving money, living life, brooklyn
Some say that living in nyc without a car is easy because of 24/7 public transportation. While this is true, there is more than access to mass transit that needs to be taken into consideration when ditching your car. I rarely miss having my own car here but it did take some adjusting to.
One aspect of driving that may go unnoticed is the privacy you have in your own car. Although other people can see you singing your heart out, you are more or less in your own private bubble. As long as you drive safe, you can snack on that granola bar, sing to your favorite song, or try not to cry after a bad night.
With public transportation, you lose all your privacy. Once you leave your apartment, you are constantly around people. Phone conversations are conducted in public, everyone can see you touch-up your make-up before a date, crying makes you a public spectacle, napping at lunch is not quite as convenient.
This is an easy adjustment but one that tends to get overlooked.
I wrote previously to only buy what you can carry and this still holds true. Without a car, you have to carry everything you pick up along the way when out. This means you need to think about the stops you plan on making, your plans later, and what you want to purchase. This isn’t complicated but may involve some strategics.
Bulky items like a broom or large art supplies can be tedious to carry around to multiple places. If you have a lot of bags, some stores will ask that you leave your shopping bags with the security guard in the front when entering the store. Other stores may offer to hold your bags for you so you can more easily shop in their store.
Small but heavy items like canned goods, bags of flour/sugar, liquids, or books need to be purchased in small quantities per shopping trip. The better market near me is a half-mile walk so weight is a big factor for me when grocery shopping. Thankfully, many cashiers here know this and will double bag or distribute weight pretty well. Trader Joe’s cashiers are pros at this.
Be careful with reusable bags. Since they hold more, it’s easy to keep filling them up and not realize their weight until it’s too late. I am sure most of my grocery carrying woes are due to having zero arm strength.
When it comes to liquid drinks, try to buy powder when possible. I tend to only drink water (nyc has some of the best tap water in the country) but Gatorade can be great after a run. Purchasing powder Gatorade has been a great alternative to carrying the heavy bottles home. This also means I usually have a powder-packet on hand for recovering from a run (or a hangover).
In general, most shopping is done in smaller quantities. Even for those who use a cart, you still cannot fit as many bags in that as you can a car. Doing weekly shopping is to be expected. Forget about buying in bulk.
For groceries, long days out, or larger items, I love my backpack. If I know I’ll be out all day, it’s useful to carry small items I pick up, to put my jacket in when the day warms up, to hold a bottle of water or a snack, etc.
My favorite use for my backpack is to purchase cat food & cat litter. Buying cat supplies at Petco in-store is still the cheapest option for me. So I have discovered I can easily carry a 7lb bag of cat food home in my backpack. As well, a 12lb bag of cat litter fits in there too. It’s heavy but certainly easier with a backpack than any other bag. Similarly, a small luggage suitcase with wheels works as well.
Pretty much everything can be delivered here. Food, bodega items, laundry, documents, etc. You pay for the convenience of course but boy is it convenient.
Most deliveries are by bike so ranges can be limited but most places will work with you. My local Thai restaurant has been known to send your food with a car service if you order enough & live out of the neighborhood.
Finding an apartment building with basement laundry is rare and an apartment with in-unit laundry even rarer. Going to the laundromat without a car can be a bit of a chore. You can do smaller quantities or use a wash/fold service.
Practically all laundromats/dry cleaners provide a service to wash & fold your clothes for you (price per pound). They will pick-up your laundry from your apt and drop it off the next day. You do nothing. These services typically cost $0.90/pound in Manhattan and $0.80/pound in Brooklyn.
The city’s mass transit is a huge reason almost everything revolves around booze here. Not only can bars legally serve until 4a (and many parties go later) but also you don’t have to worry as much about getting yourself home. You can take the subway regardless of how drunk you are or better yet, take a cab.
However, remember that you will be on a moving train. It is likely you will get sick at least once on a train/platform while living here.
The absolute best part of using mass transit is having very little transportation expenses. I don’t have to think about gas prices (no idea what the country average is right now). I don’t have to worry about my car breaking down and the unexpected expenses that go with car repair. Even little things like car washes add up (on time if not money). No searching for parking or worrying about your car being damaged/stolen. None of that.
As @DeenaDollars said, “Count your cash and laugh maniacally every time you think about how you’re not paying for gas, insurance, or repairs.”
There will always be traffic congestion and unexpected delays. This will suck whether you’re behind the wheel or stuck on a train. That part of a commute does not change.
While it is 100% possible to live in NYC without a car, you can also fairly easily live in the outer boroughs with a car. You will have to pay attention to alternate side parking rules in your neighborhood – that is the main nuisance. However, for getting out of the city, having a car can be much easier.
Friday Flicks are personal recommendations of movies/tv shows available on Netflix Instant.
Genre: James Bond
Mood: Sean Connery
129 mins; 1965
Leslie Rating: 3/5
Summary: James Bond + gadgets stop evil, again
The Hunt for Red October
Mood: Sean Connery
134 mins; 1990
Leslie Rating: 4/5
Summary: War in the water between US & Soviet submarines
Mood: Coen Brothers
110 mins; 2010
Leslie Rating: 2/5
Summary: Matt Damon in a western? Ridiculous.
As promised in last week’s Dating in NYC Blows post, here are some of my worst dating tales that I suffered through so you don’t have to.
After exchanging numbers with a guy at a party, he sent me a text about a month later asking if I wanted to join him at his company’s summer party cruise. Immediately, alarms go off because I know in my head that a date on a boat is a baaad idea.
Then I get a follow-up text: free food and booze. If I had a dollar for the number of times that sentence has lead to a bad decision…
Mistake #1: Free food & booze should not be the basis of a decision
I met the guy on the boat and, well, it wasn’t the guy I thought it was. I could vaguely place him in my memory as meeting him before, but I really was expecting someone else.
Mistake #2: When spinning plates, use clear labels
That alone really threw me off. If we had met for drinks, I would have still been confused but at least could have a drink and see how things went – leave after a round if it wasn’t going well. But this was completely different.
The guy wasn’t physically my type and didn’t seem interesting enough to be stuck on a boat for hours with. In hopes I could salvage the evening, I talked to some of his coworkers but quickly realized that I just wanted to GTFO. I doubted even booze could solve this problem.
Mistake #3: Booze does not solve all problems
Unsure if the boat had actually left the dock yet, I excused myself to use the bathroom and ran down to see if I could get off this thing. I’ve never had to completely ditch a date before and I felt a little terrible doing it but I really just wanted out.
The crew had just removed the ladder from the dock when a crew member saw me walking over and asked what was wrong. I replied, “I’m really not feeling well. I thought I would be okay on the boat but I already feel sick. Have we left the dock yet?”
They were just about to depart but the crew member said he would go talk to the captain about my situation. A few seconds later he runs over and said the captain okay’d letting me off the boat.
They put the ladder back out just for me! I had never been so relieved to be back on land.
I did text the fellow saying that I was already feeling motion sickness and was going home. I’m not always a terrible person, really.
There is a lot of potential for a date to go horribly wrong and get unsafe quickly. I’d like to say don’t be an idiot, but sometimes it happens.
After being out late in the city, I took the earliest NJT train back to the middle of NJ where I was living at the time. The train left ny about 5a and everyone is definitely incapacitated in one way or another, including myself. Needless to say, I was happy that a very attractive guy sat next to me.
Shortly after, we were making out.
Mistake #1: This
At some point, he suggested him coming back to my place since my stop was before his. I said that wasn’t a good idea. He asked why not. I said no. We kept making out. He kept saying he wanted to come over, I kept saying he couldn’t come over. He kept asking why. We kept making out. etc etc.
Mistake #2: This
So, we get to my stop and he gets off the train with me. I went from having fun to being pissed instantly and used a firm voice to say he was not coming home with me.
Keep in mind we’re literally in the middle of nowhere NJ at 6a Sunday morning. No one is around this train station.
As we walk off the platform I became more adamant that I was going home alone. He began ranting, “Well now I don’t know where I am and another train won’t be here for at least an hour.” But none of that mattered because I was getting really angry.
At the end of the platform we needed to split directions – I was heading to a very empty parking lot to get my car and the station building was in the opposite direction. I was very worried he would follow me to my car.
Before the end of the platform, I laid down the law in a very assertive voice I don’t get to use often. I think it took him by surprise and he did not follow me to my car. I made it home safely and have now learned that making out with strangers at 6a is the worst idea.
Don’t act down to fuck if you’re not. However, people are allowed to change their mind. So if you end up stranded in the middle of New Jersey, it’s your own damn fault.
I had met this guy several times before through a common-interest group and enjoyed talking to him well enough to go out with him. The first date was going okay but there wasn’t the connection I thought there was and I grew bored. I was ready to call it when he brought up a place near-by that had some special beer and asked if I wanted to check it out. Always curious, I decided to go.
Mistake #1: Thinking the date will get better
Well. If I had been paying closer attention I would have realized that he wasn’t talking about another bar but about his apartment! I didn’t realize this until it was too late. I probably could have bailed at his building door but, for whatever reason, I went along with it.
Mistake #2: This
Awkwardness ensued as it was clear he wanted to get laid and I just wanted to go home. After a little bit, I turned him down and ran out of there.
He emailed me several times after that but I wasn’t interested. A month after our date I received the email below:
laying all cards out:
not too long ago you were interested in getting together. now you only answer emails half the time at best, and just give one-line brush-off responses at that. the only thing that changed is i apparently misread flirting for interest one night. so let’s clear the air:
you’re very flirty and have on more than one occasion made reference to enjoying casual sex. and while i enjoyed just talking to you, of course i asked you out to dinner and back to my apt with this on my mind. then i got shot down. big deal. well, for some, it seems.
since we both know “busy” is bullshit, here are the top two reasons i can think of for avoiding me (though they aren’t mutually exclusive):
1) you suddenly find me really annoying, obnoxious, etc., and would just as soon undo my existence in your life were it possible;
2) you’re worried that i’m in love with you and would make hanging out with you painful and awkward.
i didn’t feel it was necessary to tell you, but if the main reason you don’t want to talk to me is #2, it might help if you knew you weren’t the first girl i kissed in may, nor were you the last. i’m not, nor ever was, “stuck” on you. i’m only telling you because one time you seemed like you were a cool person to know, and if that was the reason you changed then it might assuage any concerns you have and help you reclaim lost coolness.
now that i’m done, that felt better to say than i ever imagined it would! so now that that’s off my chest, i’ll give you a chance to respond if you like. (knowing what a nonresponse means, too.) so long,
I never responded.
We don’t get to choose the families we are born into and we do nothing to deserve being born at an advantage or disadvantage.
While it’s easy to look at those with more than you and quickly become jealous of them, sometimes it helps to take a step back and ask yourself if being born at an “advantage” is actually an advantage.
Whether you have a lot or a little, an important factor to leading a successful life is taking advantage of what you do have – even if that’s not much.
Regardless of what situation you were born in, you can always end up worst off if you don’t take advantage of the opportunities you do have.
It’s really that simple.
For those born with access to excellent education, unlimited financial support, and lots of breaks – if they don’t take advantage of these benefits, they’ll likely end up doing nothing with their lives.
This is easy to see in celebrities but can also be brought down to a more realistic level to help us keep those feelings of envy at bay.
I recently learned of a friend who is 30 and moved back home a year ago after quitting her job. She was born to an upper-middle-class family, her college was fully paid for, but she had little work experience. Not happy with the jobs she found, she moved back home.
Looking at this situation from the envy side, this person is living rent free, happily unemployed, with parents who care about her. She doesn’t need to work, doesn’t need to pay rent, and is still being fully supported. This came up in conversation because she decided recently to move to new york city. Her parents supported her decision and said they would provide “starter funds” and cover her rent while she is looking for a job.
For 10 seconds while listening to this person, I was overcome with jealousy that someone has so many resources and I don’t and my life is always hard and it’s not fair.
Then I snapped out of it.
Because at the end of the day, what does this girl have? She doesn’t have a job, she doesn’t have an apartment, she doesn’t have her own funds. She can’t live on her own at all.
Taking a good look at my life, I realized that I have a lot more than this person. I don’t have financial or emotional assistance from family but I do have my own apartment and a solid career. Two things that I’ve worked very hard on my own to get. No one gave them to me and no one can take them away.
There have been countless times where I’ve daydreamed what it would be like to grow up in a better family. I imagine my life being easier… but would it actually be better?
At the end of the day, what am I actually jealous of? Someone who is 30, lives at home, can’t pay her own rent, and is 100% dependent. Why would I be jealous of that?
Friday Flicks are personal recommendations of movies/tv shows available on Netflix Instant.
The Cabin in the Woods
105 mins; 2011
Leslie Rating: 3/5
Summary: Monsters Inc. for adults
Genre: Film Noir
130 mins; 1974
Leslie Rating: n/a
Summary: Private eye melodrama set in LA
Man on the Moon
118 mins; 1999
Leslie Rating: 3/5
Summary: Andy Kaufman is weird
When you’re newly single, dating is fun! Let’s go out! Have a drink! I get to dress up! This is fun! Everyone is neat and interesting and cute! Sex! Yay!
This quickly turns into dreading a date because you know it is going to be a dud and you’d rather sit at home watching cat videos on youtube than listen to another person blab on about whatever who cares. But we all suffer through in hopes that we will someday be able to post our own engagement photos on Facebook.
I have gone out on a lot of dates in nyc. All types of dates. Dates with guys, dates with girls, dates with couples, dates in hope of a relationship, dates in hope of sex, dates from ok cupid, dates from parties, dates that were good, dates that were boring, dates that were terrible.
It seems like dating in a giant city would be easier than a smaller one. There are many more types of people to choose from. It is much easier to find someone who shares your interests. If you have a very specific niche or kink, it’s likely that someone else who shares your passion also lives here.
What this really mans is: more jerks, more assholes, more narcissistic creeps. Sure, it also means more good people, more nice folks, more successful people. But in the end, you need to get through a lot of jerks to find the good ones.
Demographic-wise, there are considerably more single females than single males in all of nyc. There’s even a map of nyc singles by neighborhood. Queens and North Brooklyn are dominated by single dudes, while Manhattan and the rest of Brooklyn are mainly single ladies. If this is bumming you out, move to LA.
Either you have a lot of money or you don’t, but either way it’s rather acceptable to discuss this in new york on a first date. Openly discussing rent prices isn’t as taboo here as it is in other places. While you still wouldn’t reveal your actual salary, knowing someone’s monthly rent can provide a good enough approximation anyway.
There have been numerous dates where we both wanted to go to a happy hour or a specific bar because of it’s weeknight-specials. Talking about favorite cheap eats and ridiculous rent prices is frequent conversation here.
Using public transportation instead of driving a car really works well for dating here in the city.
It’s really nice not feeling like you and your date are separate the whole night. While you initially will both enter the bar as individuals, you will go to your next stop (if it gets this far) together – as a quasi-couple. There is something fun about walking together, agreeing on another place together, then walking into a place together. There are zero limitations the way there would be were cars involved. This also allows for more conversation, freedom from staring at someone across the table, and may bring up impromptu topics which can help dates feel less repetitive.
For good or bad, without worrying about driving home you can drink more alcohol. Sometimes you’ll regret this, sometimes you won’t.
Even if you don’t necessarily live near each other, sometimes you will both take the same subway home. Now, if the date isn’t going well, lie about this somehow. Or stay out. But if things are going well, this ride home can be a nice little extension. It has a set-end and you are both in a place you’re comfortable.
Not having a car makes leaving and staying much easier. You can leave a date any time you want. No matter where you are, you will most likely be near a subway and that will get you home. You don’t have to wait for dinner to be over if you don’t want to. You don’t have to wait to be driven home. You can just up and go.
With that said, you can also very easily go home with someone else.
Do not play actual games on a first date. No board games. No card games. No miniature golf. Nothing.
I learned this the hard way. On the OK Cupid profile, one of the things she was “really good at” was Scrabble. So, I thought a good opening message would be to challenge her to a game. Playing board games in bars is very common here and I thought it would make for a fun evening.
As the date started, we had a drink, chatted, and seemed to hit it off. She actually looked like her profile photo, which isn’t as common as it should be.
After a little bit we bring out Scrabble. The problem with a game, like a movie, is you don’t have a chance to actually talk. Also, it prominently displays someone’s strengths/weaknesses, which honestly you don’t want to see on a first date.
During the game she briefly discussed how competitive her and her family were. That was a bad sign. I am not competitive at all.
Also unfortunate, I was winning and she was getting frustrated. It did cross my mind to throw the game and let the pretty girl win. But my pride wouldn’t let me do that.
She played off the loss well but it was clear she wasn’t pleased and that set the tone for the rest of the time. After we finished that round of drinks we both ended the night and neither one of us contacted each other.
Although the idea of “doing something” is a good one, just save this type of stuff for a second date.
When I was not looking for a relationship, I had several dates with couples to have something fun/casual/no-commitment. This is a minefield. If you think it’s hard enough to find one person you like & find attractive, try finding two of those people together!
Most of these were duds, not good or bad, just not going to work out. One, however, was the first time I finally was able to sympathize with guys’ complaints about misleading profile photos.
Thankfully, guys don’t lie about their looks when it comes to online dating. If they’re overweight, not that attractive, or unemployed, most will just lay it all out on the table. This is greatly appreciated because it saves a lot of effort later.
Unfortunately, girls are not nearly as upfront about the things they don’t like about themselves. Whether the photo is a “msypace angel” (nsfw) or from 10 years ago, these tricks seem so predominant in online dating.
As expected, the guy looked like his photo. Stubble, a little chubby, but Brooklyn cute. Now, the girl had clearly used an older photo and the resemblance was slim. That got awkward real fast and we all quickly agreed that it probably wouldn’t work.
During my time of recreational dating, I was trying to figure out what I wanted and didn’t want to close out any options. One of my dates was with a 42-year old guy. I was mentally fine with this although I know I physically look closer to 25 than 30.
He invited me to an art gallery opening for our first (only) date. Things were going okay… then some of his friends showed up. The two friends were a guy and girl (not together) and were about his age. Apparently they had all planned on meeting up at this art opening but he never told them he was bringing a date. That was weird.
It quickly became clear that the woman did not like me one bit. Numerous times during conversation, she prefaced her stories with, “that was before your time”, “you probably don’t remember this”, “you’ve never heard of that person”. Everything she said was extremely condescending toward me.
My date never said anything to her, maybe he didn’t notice it, but it really was incredibly rude.
I couldn’t figure out if she liked my date or was simply jealous because I was younger. Once I realized the two friends were never leaving I just left and went home. No loss there.
It’s amazing how often this happens. I really question people’s understanding of what is appropriate to say to others. I’ve had dates criticize that I ordered a sandwich for dinner, that I ordered a beer, that I was too dressed up, that I wasn’t dressed up enough, that I picked a bar they didn’t like, that one of my hobbies is ‘stupid’.
Now, before the Game Theory people get all up in arms and tell me that this is just light-hearted negging, I’m going to tell you you’re wrong. Do that shit in the flirtation stage at a bar or during the early message conversation, not on a first date. At the very least learn the difference between teasing and insulting.
Bonus Tip: When having a threesome, do not criticize your significant other by comparing them to the third (this happened).
It’s probably just me but I have had several dates call things off on the 2nd/3rd date because they were “probably still in love” with their ex.
First, if we have only had 1,2,3 dates, you don’t need to make a big production out of not wanting to see each other again. I’m not in love with you. I probably barely even like you. Do whatever you want with your ex but don’t waste my entire evening over it.
Second, get your issues sorted out before you start dating. I do understand that sometimes trying to move on brings out new feelings you might not have noticed otherwise. But seriously, get over your ex, pull your shit together, then start bringing new people into your fucked up life.
I was asked to be someone’s wedding date as our first date.
I was invited to someone’s company holiday party as our first date.
I was invited on a day-trip out of the city as a first date.
None of these things are good ideas.
I understand all the arguments for/against waiting a few dates before sleeping with the person.
Yes, sex complicates things and gets folks to continue a dying relationship when they shouldn’t. However, sex is really important! It can tell you a lot about a person and you do want to make sure you’re sexually compatible before investing too much energy into a person.
I have only had one situation where, after sleeping with a guy on the second date, he later said we had sex too soon. Too bad. It was super-great sex and I have no regrets.
Dating just for sex is easy but going to a bar is much easier. From an episode of This American Life:
Anyone in New York City can have sex any night of the week if they just follow two rules, which is stay at the bar until 4:00 in the morning and dramatically lower your standards.
Yes, I’m still single (hello there attractive readers!) but not every date I’ve had has been the worst-thing-in-the-world. Here are a few places I have had luck with.
Craigslist: Surprisingly I was able to find a couple that I consistently & casually hung out with via Craigslist. However, I don’t generally recommend CL for dating and couldn’t imagine using it while looking for a more-serious relationship. For niche things, it does it’s job.
Reddit: Go ahead and lol all you want but myself and some others have met good people via reddit meetups. There is a subreddit too, r/r4r, but it feels a bit like Craigslist. However, I met one girl that way and although things didn’t work out romantically, we’re still good friends.
OK Cupid: I have a distressing love/hate relationship with this site. Most of the dates from here are complete duds because OKC’s “algorithm” is just made-up numbers. But sometimes things work out. I have had two good dates that actually went somewhere from the site. You’re probably thinking to yourself, “two? that’s nothing.”
Trust me, in the world of dating, two successes means you’re doing pretty darn well.
I have certainly had my share of idiot-moments in the world of dating. Including discovering the smallest penis in existence, secretly escaping off a boat, and receiving a 5-paragraph post-first-date email.
But these embarrassing stories deserve their own post. Look for that next week!
Single folks, what are your thoughts on dating? Rules? Good dates? Bad dates?
People in relationships, how did you pay your dues before finding the one you love?
This is the current personal budget I use for single-income living in a 1br apartment in Brooklyn, NY.
Ugh. I destroyed my budget his month. Gone. Blew it out of the water. I just kept on spending like a nutcase. I don’t want to show you this but I’m putting it out there to show that we’re not all perfect. We don’t all make sacrifices when we should. And sometimes we make mistakes.
Yes, I spent more than I earned this month. And that is terrible awful! On some bright note, at least I did put money toward my credit card this month. I had already decided not to put money into savings because I really do need new clothes. This is a truth, I need a new spring wardrobe. I don’t want one – I hate clothes shopping – but I need one.
Clearly food destroyed me this month. How did I spend $300+ on eating out? Well, $60 of that went to taking myself out to dinner to a restaurant I made reservations with months ago. Unfortunately it wasn’t even that good. That alone put a huge dent in the food budget.
Towards the end of the month I knew I was going to go over so I cancelled two therapy appointments, saving me $200. Not that it matters much because once I realized I was already killing my budget in a brutal painful death, I told myself “fuck it, I’m getting a much-needed haircut.” I’ve been putting this off because it’s $80/cut (I cut my hair twice a year) but I seriously need a haircut now! And since after the hair-cut I was already waaay over budget I continued and said “fuck it, I’m buying an ipod touch for $100.” And I did.
I can’t justify any of this though these were all conscious decisions. Hopefully next month will be less brutal to my finances. Granted, none of this went on my credit card. I am still repaying my debt. I just really need to start eating out less and get back into the habit of bringing my lunch to work. That alone is killing me (FiDi lunches are $$$).
I went over my budgeted costs by $556 this month lol kill me now.
I was under my budgeted costs by $223 this month.
Even though I did not put money into my savings this month, I am still on track for this year’s goals.
I am now maxing out my 401K (finally) so that slightly affected the budgeted income I had for the month. I had no side gig income this month:
Everything looks more painful in chart format:
Please share your budgeting mistakes in the comments below so I can hate myself less.
Friday Flicks are personal recommendations of movies/tv shows available on Netflix Instant.
154 mins; 1994
Leslie Rating: 3/5
Summary: Typical Tarantino style with gratuitous violence, too much dialogue, and interconnecting stories that don’t actually reveal anything
Genre: Sports/Based on True Story
114 mins; 1986
Leslie Rating: 4/5
Summary: A surprisingly great inspirational movie about a rural basketball team – enjoyable to non-sports fans, I promise.
The Dream Team
113 mins; 1989
Leslie Rating: 3/5
Summary: Michael Keaton& Christopher Lloyd play mental patients who need to rescue their therapist from crooked cops.
To raise funds for charity No Kid Hungry, an organization aiming to end U.S. child hunger by 2015, there will be a bake sale at the Fort Greene Brooklyn Flea this Saturday 5/4. Delicious treats like cookies, brownies, and cupcakes made by nyc amateur bakers – like me! – will be available for purchase.
Stop by the Brooklyn Flea tomorrow 5/4 and try my Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip brownies because, you know, it’s a good cause and all.
Reading recaps are mini-reviews of the books I’ve read each month.
In a state of neurosis, I deleted my Goodreads account the day Amazon acquired them. However, I am still tracking my reading with a homemade spreadsheet!
Since I have full control over this, I included some bonus stats including retail price, source, and money saved/spent. Now that I am using the library like a fiend, knowing that I read $85 worth of books this month certainly makes me want to continue taking advantage of that.
The other great part about the library is that getting a dud book is much less painful. As usual it seems, there were a few duds this month: Metzger’s Dog, War Trash, and Skeletons on the Zahara. This last title, about a shipwreck on the Western Sahara in 1815, had so much potential but unfortunately was incredibly boring.
A special mention goes to In The Heart of the Canyon as one of the worst books I’ve read. Usually I give a book ~50 pages then quit if it’s tortuous to read. This one, however, was a train wreck from the beginning. With that said, I could not stop reading just to see what ridiculous nonsense & terrible word choices would appear next. The ending was absolutely absurd and completely glossed over a teenager being raped as “a typical 17 year old”. I don’t understand… train wreck.
After reading Ender’s Game last year, I fell in love with the story and was excited to read more about this world. This month I finally got around to reading Ender’s Shadow which was pretty fantastic. The story-line runs parallel to Ender’s Game so you can read either one first. Whichever order you pick, I definitely recommend reading both.
Author: Thomas Perry
Summary: A friend gave me this book then said, “you probably won’t like it”. He was right, the plot was completely lost on me.
Author: Ha Jin
Summary: A Chinese soldier is taken as a POW by UN forces in Korea. What would be a great story suffers from the author doing more “telling” than “showing”
Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore
Author: Robin Sloan
Summary: Google is going to take over the world! This is a super light/fun read that’s not necessarily good but I did finish it in two sittings.
Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter
Author: Tom Franklin
Summary: The writing was more enjoyable to read than the plot. There are many chances for this to fall apart but it surprisingly holds together pretty well.
The Murder of the Century
Author: Paul Collins
Summary: The author tries to simultaneously highlight a NYC murder investigation/trial and the early newspaper wars. These are both really interesting but together things get muddled and I found myself losing interest in both.
Author: Orson Scott Card
Source: Housing Works Bokstore
Summary: The parallel story-line works very well and I found myself being sucked right back into Ender’s world.
In The Heart of the Canyon
Author: Elisabeth Hyde
Source: Park Slope Book Sale
Summary: A. Complete. Trainwreck.