February 28, 2010

Book Review: Save Karyn by Karyn Bosnak



I really like reading classic British novels such as books by the Brontes and Jane Austen. I also like reading modern American classics by Salinger and Updike. But probably my favorite type of book to read is non-fiction, especially memoirs. I really love any book that makes me think hard about the choices I make. If the book also makes me laugh, I will really love it!

Save Karyn by Karyn Bosnak is one of my favorite books. I wore out my first copy and had to buy another. I'm constantly recommending the book to my friends and even to my boyfriend (he's read
parts of it). I have re-read it many times from cover to cover and frequently will read parts of it over and over.

Why does this book mean so much to me? Because I can really relate to Karyn's story.

When Karyn Bosnak arrived in Manhattan in 2000 to be a television producer, she came to the big bad city to "find out who I was". She immediately embraced the expensive Manhattan lifestyle, living in the ritzy Sutton Place neighborhood and buying designer clothes and purses. 


Karyn LOVED to shop! She made a very good living as a producer -- but not enough to support her lifestyle. Her favorite stores were places like Bloomingdale's and Barney's. Every time she had a date, she'd buy another outfit. She spent money on bikini waxes, haircuts, take-out food, and fitness training (probably to make up for eating so much take-out).

But Karyn shopped too much. She was spending far than she earned, and soon had trouble paying the rent and all her other bills. She charged just about everything on her numerous credit cards.

Eventually Karyn lost her job, and as it was soon after September 11th, 2001, she had a very difficult time finding another one. She owed well over $20,000 on credit cards. The unemployment insurance didn't begin to cover her debts. What to do?

Karyn started a website (really an early version of a blog), asking people for money. Because she was funny and people enjoyed the website, it worked! She was able to pay off all her debts. Her original website is here: Save Karyn

Since then Karyn has become a very successful blogger, in addition to writing books. Her current blog: Pretty in the City

Why do I relate to this? Because I know what it's like to be drowning in debt. This has happened to me, and most of it was my fault, but some of it was because of circumstances I could not control. Now some people may not like someone asking other people to pay her debts, but least Karyn found a funny and creative way to deal with her debts. She was proactive about it, and I admire that.

This is the only book I have read that was humorous about being in debt. It made me feel that I really wasn't such a bad person because I owed money on credit cards. I didn't really hurt anything except my credit rating, and that will eventually be straightened out.

I really recommend this book. It takes a serious subject and puts it into perspective.



Disclosure: I purchased this book.

February 19, 2010

Mental_Floss and Elephant


I was in Borders yesterday drinking coffee in the cafe and leafing through magazines that I couldn't afford to buy (I had to buy the coffee because I was FREEZING!) Anyway, I really like to read off-beat magazines when I do this because they can be so interesting. I saw two magazines that I'd never seen before and they were great.

First, I read Mental_Floss. I think that I'm going to have to break down and buy this issue. It was so interesting! There were so many interesting stories. Most of the articles in this issue have to do with "Crazy Smart" people and were written in a screaming tabloid style. If you look at the cover on the left you will see what I mean. They also had two articles on Sweden inside. My mother was born in Sweden (and my father in Denmark which makes me a true Scandinavian). This magazine is "where knowledge junkies get their fix." Here is their website, which is way cool.


I also found the first issue of a magazine called Elephant. It is a very thick, glossy magazine about visual culture and art. It has a high sticker price of $19.99 because it is a British import. Here is a look inside the current issue. This is a beautifully designed magazine that is not just pretty on the surface but has interesting articles, too!

February 14, 2010

My Funny Valentine


Happy Valentine's Day!

This is a stunning version of "My Funny Valentine" by Linda Ronstadt. There used to be a video on YouTube of Linda singing this song on the "Tonight Show", but that has disappeared. However, you can still enjoy her beautiful singing in this song -- in my opinion, the best it has ever been sung. Enjoy!

February 11, 2010

Book Review: So Many Books, So Little Time by Sara Nelson



So Many Books, So Little Time: A Year of Passionate Reading, by Sara Nelson, offers the author's personal recollections of reading a book a week for a year. While she didn't quite accomplish that feat, she did find many interesting books that were important to her at a particular moment in time. She also found out that you DON'T have to read a book if you don't want to.

Nelson found out that sometimes everyday life can interfere with your best-laid plans. For example, she took the book Funny Men, by Ted Heller, with her on a weekend to Vermont. However, when she was in Vermont, staying in Alexander Solzhenitsyn's old compound, she found that it was exactly the wrong book to read in such an atmosphere, surrounded by Solzhenitsyn's personal library.

Nelson apparently intended this book mostly to be about the books she read, but it became as much a memoir as a book on books. Sometimes you're reading a book and it will remind you of someone you love, or help you to understand them better.

I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it any voracious readers. You will enjoy it.


Disclosure: I purchased this book.

February 10, 2010

Book Review: Punching In by Alex Frankel


 

Alex Frankel decided to spend a couple of years trying different jobs that interested him. He went into these jobs with an open mind and tried to give each job a chance.

He delivered packages for UPS during the holiday season in San Francisco, was a salesman at the Apple Store, folded clothes at Gap, became a rental agent for Enterprise Rent-A-Car, and trained to become a barista at Starbucks.

Frankel was interested in how various companies trained their employees for the job and how effective the training was. He was surprised to found out the differences between the jobs. For example, even though the UPS delivery job was exhausting physically, he grew to admire the company. Folding jeans at Gap, however, was mind-numbing. At Enterprise, the job was not really about renting cars, but about persuading customers to buy "extras".

Here is Alex commenting on the process in his own words:




Disclosure: I purchased this book.

February 1, 2010

We Must Not Forget Haiti!




Today is Bloggers Unite for Haiti Day. We cannot forget the people of Haiti are continuing to suffer, especially the children who have been orphaned. Once you have seen this heartbreaking video, please do all you can to help!

Please donate today!

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