This book chronicles the year in the life Natalie P. McNeal as she pays down her debt and tries to live more fiscally responsible. That may not soundThis book chronicles the year in the life Natalie P. McNeal as she pays down her debt and tries to live more fiscally responsible. That may not sound like a big deal, but for a young journalist living and working in the social hotspot of Miami, it was difficult for a self-described "promiscuous spender".
Each chapter corresponds to the month of that year, starting with January, showing the amounts of her current credit card, car loan, and student loan debt. I will admit that it was pretty satisfying to see that number start to decrease as the year went on. To help her stay honest in her quest, she started a blog now known as Frugalista.com.
Granted, I personally didn't learn any new tips from this book as I live moderately frugally, but it was interesting just reading about McNeal's experiences. For someone who shopped incessantly (learned behavior from her Mom), took full advantage of Miami's nightlife, never cooked at home, and traveled quite a bit, cutting out those things made quite a journey for her. Her tales of cutting back on salon visits, shopping from her own closet, and getting comfortable in her kitchen aren't anything we haven't heard before, but her jumping full force into this project was refreshing. ...more
Because I long to be a yogini one day, I am fascinated with people's stories about how they came to practice yoga and how (or if) their lives changed.Because I long to be a yogini one day, I am fascinated with people's stories about how they came to practice yoga and how (or if) their lives changed.
Claire Dederer, a freelance writer living in Seattle, started taking yoga after she threw her back out breastfeeding (!!!) her young daughter. Although she definitely is a product of the "crunchy" Northwest - kids in a co-op preschool, having the right organic diet - she had no desire to practice in a yoga studio with Tibetan flags and incense burning. She just wanted relief for her back.
I loved that she visited several different studios and teachers piecing together the perfect practice for herself. And each chapter is named after a specific yoga pose which Dederer then relates to some aspect of her life. For example, the chapters on Child's Pose (there's more than one) have her reflecting on her childhood and choices her parents made for her. Mountain Pose is the perfect opportunity to talk about the year that she and her husband and children spend living away from Seattle and their friends & family atop a mountain outside of Boulder, Colorado. ...more
The story was good, but now I remember why I vowed not to read Gwynne Forster anymore. Some of the dialogue sounded like it came from the 18th centuryThe story was good, but now I remember why I vowed not to read Gwynne Forster anymore. Some of the dialogue sounded like it came from the 18th century or straight out of a Victorian romance. Lots of outdated and just plain strange language. Won't be reading her again....more
This is the first book in a brand new series by L. A. Banks. I am woefully late to the wonderful urban, supernatural books by this author. But I'm allThis is the first book in a brand new series by L. A. Banks. I am woefully late to the wonderful urban, supernatural books by this author. But I'm all in now!
This new series will focus on fallen angels and there quest to help humans save themselves and Earth. Celeste Jackson has had a hard life made more complicated by the hallucinations and bad dreams that have plagued her. The drugs and alcohol that she uses as self-medication seem to stop the visions that others have diagnosed as schizophrenia. But forces greater than her know that while others think she is crazy, the things she sees are real and she is more powerful than she realizes. The angel Azrael is sent to help her unlock those powers and use them to defeat the darkness that threatens to overcome the planet permanently.
What I love soooooo much about these series by Banks, are that these events don't take place in some far off land or some suburb that happens to be located on top of a "hellmouth" (no shade to Buffy fans), but in areas and neighborhoods that I would be familiar in, surrounded by people I know speaking the way I do. Urban settings like Philadelphia and Brooklyn feature prominently. Also, there are quite a few humorous scenes as well. Azrael coming to Earth and going to Whole Foods especially stands out.
I know that this is not considered literary fiction and may not win a bunch of awards, but I am certainly putting it on my list of favorites for 2011!...more
It's almost impossible to describe this book without either sounding like an idiot, giving the book away, or making you not want to read it. And thisIt's almost impossible to describe this book without either sounding like an idiot, giving the book away, or making you not want to read it. And this book is so wonderful, that I hope you will read it. Well, here goes.
Professor Chris Jaynes is a professor of African American Literature whose specialty has been to uncover the issue of race in the literature of the majority rather than the one being oppressed, with a special passion for Edgar Allen Poe. This focus didn't go over well with his employers, who expected him to take the traditional route of using the Black literary canon and denied him tenure and subsequently a job. He does not handle it well.
Things begin to look up when his favorite book dealer shows up with a rare manuscript that seems to be a slave narrative that corroborates the tale in Poe's only (and very strange) novel, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket. Seeing a way to redeem his professional dignity, Jaynes sets out to verify the rumors surrounding the publication of Poe's book, and leads an all-Black team to the South Pole for research and a money-making venture. What happens next can be likened to an episode of Lost.
Sold yet? I know it sounds crazy and the book is crazy. But it is imaginative, magical, and extremely funny. And it is definitely going in my top five books of the year....more
It's surprising that, with the popularity of yoga in the last few years, there aren't more novels about it. So, I was happy to pick up a copy of TalesIt's surprising that, with the popularity of yoga in the last few years, there aren't more novels about it. So, I was happy to pick up a copy of Tales from the Yoga Studio.
Set in the trendy neighborhood of Silver Lake in Los Angeles, this book follows the women's fiction formula of focusing on five characters (it's usually three or four), their striking differences, and the one thing that unites them (in this case, yoga).
Lee is the owner of Edendale Yoga and serves as the rock for this small community while hiding her own turmoil. The other four women are Lee's students at the studio and each coming to terms with major decisions in their lives. While I loved the diversity (economic, racial, etc.) of the women, the character development was not very great so I had a hard time connecting to any of them.
My favorite part of the book, though, was the secondary plot that focused on the commercialization and corporate takeover of the yoga industry. The debate (that mirrors one ongoing in the current yoga world) about what is a "pure" yoga experience and should it be practiced in a neighborhood studio or a chain was an interesting one.
*Sidenote: One of the characters, Imani, was African-American and there was a passage attributed to her that rubbed me the wrong way:
"Race: Let's just say that even though black men are, on the whole, a pain in the ass, usually carrying around a chip on their shoulders and pathologically commitmentphobic, she has to admit she's always melted under the gaze of a brother's big brown eyes."
Maybe I'm being a little too sensitive (I can be sometimes), and if this book was written by an African-American author I probably wouldn't have a problem with it, but this made me feel some kind of way.
This latest Westmoreland book is the nineteenth in the series and the fourth about the Denver branch of the family. Lucia Conyers has been in love witThis latest Westmoreland book is the nineteenth in the series and the fourth about the Denver branch of the family. Lucia Conyers has been in love with Derringer Westmoreland since high school when she was friends with his sister. Now, years later, her feelings haven't changed, but with Derringer seeing her as a little sister in addition to his reputation as a ladies' man, Lucia sees no reason to act upon her desires. When she hears that he's been injured in an accident, she finds herself racing to his side and they wind up spending a heated one night together. The only problem is that Derringer was heavily medicated and can remember nothing about the evening. The rest of the book becomes a modern day fairy tale as Derringer tries to figure out who the woman in his bed was and Lucia tries to decide if she can compete with his reputation.
I love the Westmoreland books and can't wait for number twenty.