Living, Money

Book Report: Summer Reads Round 1

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Growing up, I was a complete bookworm. I would read non-stop, all the time, no matter where I was. The older I’ve gotten, the less I find myself reading, but lately I have really been on a reading spree. In about two weeks this summer, I’ve already gobbled up three books and hope to keep going at that rate because reading keeps me out of trouble (read: keeps me from shopping!). Here’s a brief book report on the novels I’ve finished already this summer and some ideas to keep costs down if you’re also devoting the summer to reading!

The Second Assistant: A Tale from the Bottom of the Hollywood Ladder was the first book I finished this summer, after it languished at the bottom of my pool bag last year after a summer spent crying at the hands of John Green and Cory Monteith. The story of a Hollywood agent’s second assistant trying to survive in LA after growing up in DC had me glued and even though I wasn’t 100% in love with the ending, I found out that there’s a sequel! Overall I enjoyed the book, she ends up with the guy I wanted her to end up with, and even though it didn’t feel like true Hollywood to me (not enough backstabbing,) it made me want to move to California even more.

Confessions of a Shopaholic was next on my plan of attack. I don’t know why it took me so long to get around to, because I was horribly excited to pick it up last summer. From a PF standpoint, I was really excited to read this one… and then I spent about 300 pages of the book being horribly annoyed by the main character and wanting to scream at her to take her ostrich head out of the sand. I liked it enough to want to see the movie and maybe read a few more of the books in the series.

Jemima J: A Novel About Ugly Ducklings and Swans, another Brit lit book, was about an overweight girl (although it was horribly obvious that the author has probably never been over a size 8 in her life – if you’re 5’7″ and 220 pounds, you are not incapable of sitting comfortably in chairs as happens to this character over and over) who reinvents herself for a man she meets online. The book was completely dated (written in 1999) but it was still a pretty cute read. And it doesn’t hurt that she flies to LA to meet the guy.

I was able to snag all these books for a grand total of $0 – and if I’m going to keep reading so voraciously this summer, I need to keep the total that low. Here are a few ways I’m going to save and still feed my reawakened bookworm!

Libraries are such an obvious pick, it feels a little too overt to even note, but here it is.

Check out your neighborhood for places that have “take a book/leave a book” tables. I typically snag my books from the table at my gym, but coffeehouses, workplaces and doctor’s offices might have them too – if your favorite haunt doesn’t currently have one, get with a manager to try to set one up!

Friends are another obvious way. Set up a check out system so you always know where your books are, search your network’s Goodreads shelves, and share the wealth.

I hoard my all my Swagbucks and redeem them for Amazon gift cards. Use that as your book money so it doesn’t affect your regular budget.

I’m currently on the hunt for a copy of Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace (even though it’s a little late to take on Infinite Summer.) I’m hoping to score one at a used bookstore  to maximize my book-buying-buck.

If you have Amazon Prime, you can rent one book per month on your Kindle device. I have the Kindle app on my iPad, but I much prefer physical books, so I look to Barnes & Noble and Amazon’s Bargain Books sections.

For those who (like me) are into YA novels, we recently discovered PulseIt, which posts full-length novels every week. You can read them on a computer or tablet and place bookmarks so you can read across a variety of devices. It operates on Overdrive, which many libraries use to allow members to check out eBooks.

There are of course tons of other ways to save – library sales, Audible, flea markets – but start here and if you have any recommendations for me (I love books about girls in LA) let me know below!

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