Thursday, February 10, 2011

Books of 2011: 1-5

Now that I have introduced my concept of my book list on this blog, here are the first entries in said list.

1.,2. The Tightwad Gazette II by Amy Dacyzyn, The Tightwad Gazette III by Amy Dacyzyn

I did not start with number one because I didn't have number one; I acquired these from freecycle a while back, and they've been sitting around my house largely unread. This January, I finally got around to reading them, and really enjoyed them. They're a bunch of (mostly) short articles from The Tightwad Gazette newsletter published in the 1990s, containing the sorts of things that today would show up as posts on frugal living blogs. Some of the content is outdated -- but, on the other hand, it was a nice little trip down nostalgia lane for me -- but a lot of it is not, and the ideas for fostering a "do-it-yourself from what-you-have" attitude really appealed to me. As did some of the recipes, which incorporate that attitude with cooking, which I also enjoy. Homemade gelatin and orange marmalade sound pretty cool to me. It's also given me an alternative to purchasing a card holder for my kid's small hands.

3. The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck

(read for book group, January) It was OK -- I can now say I've read this classic, and it was an easy enough read, but I feel no need to pursue other books by this author (even though I am suitably impressed that she was the first American woman to win the Nobel prize in literature -- I looked her up in my Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of American Writers). It reminded me somewhat, in its explorations of traditional Chinese family life, of Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See. I liked that one better, though -- because, even though it deals with a historical time period, it was written by a contemporary woman? Because it deals more with women's lives than men's? I don't know for sure; probably those reasons and more.

4. When Organizing Isn't Enough: S.H.E.D. Your Stuff, Change Your Life by Julie Morgenstern

(from my 2008 library list) Seemed like a good idea to read an organizing book in January, except this one really wasn't about organizing; I guess I would say it was more about optimizing your stuff, your time, and your habits, using her Separate, Heave, Embrace, Drive methodology. I think it's a valuable book, and one I may come back to again, but it just wasn't speaking strongly to me at the point in time when I read it.

5. Wellspring of Magic by Jan Fields

I acquired this one through a direct mail promo -- they sent the book along with their literature for the stuff they were trying to get me to buy. And it actually is an awesome book (and if "my girl," as they refer to her, were a little older, I would be quite interested in checking out the Creative Girls Club craft club). It's aimed at the seven- to twelve-year-old audience the club is meant for, and features five or six girls whose neighborhood park hosts a portal to another world where each of them is a princess, in some area related to her creative abilities and interests, and must use her royal power and sway to save the inhabitants of this fairy-like land.

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