For frugal hobbies, it’s hard to beat reading. Public libraries enable access to a wide variety of reading material, including audiobooks–all for free! I love to read so much that I became an English teacher to share the power of reading and writing with the next generation. Since becoming a mother, helping my children become enthusiastic readers has been an important value. I read a wide variety of texts, so I thought I’d try to feature a book that I enjoyed recently from each of four major categories: Adult Fiction, Adult Nonfiction, Frugality/Money, and Kid Read Aloud. I’m planning to make this a regular feature on the blog. Enjoy!
Adult Fiction: Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
Gyasi’s debut novel is an epic historical fiction, told in heart-wrenchingly beautiful short stories, that follows the descendants of two sisters born in the African Gold Coast during the time of slavery. This is the book I would wish for every one of my students. It is incredible in scope and power. Quite heartbreaking and still quite beautiful in the optimism of the ending.
It wasn’t what I expected… it was so much better.
Adult Nonfiction: Bloodsworth by Tim Junkin
This year’s One Maryland, One Book selection was the story of an innocent man, convicted twice through shocking errors in police and judicial procedures, and eventually set free through persistence in the truth combined with scientific innovation. Although it’s not my usual first choice, I was drawn in by details like jury selection: in Maryland, anyone who is unwilling to apply the death penalty in cases where that is a possibility is automatically excluded. A whole group of openly identified people with compassion are excluded from participating–that’s hardly a fair representation of the general population!
I had the pleasure of attending the talk Junkin gave in Boonsboro as part of the OMOB programming. I am impressed by his writing and by the life and anti-death-penalty advocacy of Kirk Bloodsworth since his release.
Frugality/Money: The Financial Diet by Chelsea Fagan and Lauren Ver Hage (design)
I enjoy Fagan and Ver Hage’s website, The Financial Diet, which features mostly female writers focusing on a variety of financial and lifestyle topics. I have a secret love of the “chick slick” style of writing found in women’s magazines like Elle and Fagan’s work captures that style while offering some solid financial advice for young women. This book won’t change your life with life-altering advice or promise you easy results from simple changes, but instead is about building up confidence in lifestyle choices that are not based in what advertisers and cultural pressures tell you will “fix” you (i.e. conform to a narrow set of acceptable behaviors and appearances for women). The book is beautifully designed by Ver Hage and full of practical, supportive advice.
Kid Read Aloud: Iggy Peck, Architect by Andrea Beaty, Illustrated by David Roberts
My children adore this story-in-verse of a gifted young builder whose passion is stifled by a school teacher whose past makes her blind to the joys of architecture. They have begged for this book just about every night for the last month, and we all have it memorized in parts.
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