Mental Dumbbells – October 2012

It has been a busy month over here. The Etsy shop opened (THANK YOU for all your kind words on the store), I finished a half marathon with my mom in San Francisco, the Fruit Butter eBook I wrote is launching on November 1st (YAY!), I’ve started a few house projects that will be posted next month, and I read 8 books!

The last few months have been slow in the reading department so I was determined to step it up this month. I cut out a lot of TV watching to make more time for reading and it was well worth it. I haven’t missed a single second of housewife drama or SVU reruns. I’ve even considering cancelling my cable again. When I was living in the apartment I had cut out cable for several years to save money, and found that I didn’t really miss it. I used Netflix and Hulu to watch all my favorites. However, when I moved into my new home, I got a great deal on a cable package, so I splurged and signed up. Now that the deal is over, I may give it up, it’s just so expensive.

Then I’d have more time to read…there were lots of good ones this month.


The Girl Who Swam to Atlantis

I scored this book for free through the kindle store and was pleasantly surprised. It was the story of a young girl’s summer vacation in 1957. Throughout the summer she learns to swim in an effort to gain her fathers attention/approval; but ends up finding a friend and her own inner strength, as well as the secret of where her mother disappeared to. I liked the story and it wasn’t a difficult read, though it didn’t suck me in the way others did this month. Each time I put it down, it took me a few pages to get back into the story.



Wild (From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail)

I can’t remember where or when I purchased this book, but I had seen several articles with Cheryl and was intrigued. I have a a soft spot for biographies, so it’s probably not a surprise that I really liked this book. I enjoyed her writing style; she seems like a fun person to sit and chat with. I can also, somewhat, relate to her search for something more in her life. I thought the story was inspiring as I’ve often dreamed of taking off on an adventure at various points in my life. Who knows, maybe I will one day. Although it won’t be the PCT…I’m not that badass.



A Lucky Child: A Memoir of Surviving Auschwitz as a Young Boy

I read Elie Wiesel’s book a few years back and was very moved by it. So much so, that it still sits on my shelf. Thomas wrote a great book and I would recommend it to everyone. It’s such an amazing personal account from a man who lived through the Holocaust and not only survived, but went on to do some incredible things with his life. It doesn’t just focus on his childhood experiences in Auschwitz, but also what came immediately after and later in life as he grew up. Very inspiring.



Shut Out

Cheesy clearance book I bought for $1 at the library bookstore. I needed something light after the last few books. This book is about a group of high school students, dating the school Jocks. To stop a rivalry between the Soccer and Football team, the girls decide to go on a sex strike. There is a sweet love story that hides in the book…but I was more bothered that I was reading about high school age girls going on a  sex strike. I think I would have liked the story a little more if the setting had been college or twenty-something’s.



The Total Money Makeover Workbook

As a single gal, I think it’s a very important for me to have solid finances. This concern multiplied when I bought a house. I don’t have a second income to rely on if I lose my job, and I can’t settle with living paycheck to paycheck anymore. I need an emergency fund to cover things like my broken AC, the washer I had to replace, or the garbage disposal that randomly died earlier this month. It’s not just me that I have to think about too, I have my pup. I watched my parents pay a lot of money for unexpected surgeries for their dogs, and that scared me. The way things were, I couldn’t afford to do the same for my pup if it became necessary. It would break my heart if I couldn’t help him, simply because I didn’t have the money.  Since I’ve recently opened the shop, I also needed to start getting my business finances in order. So I picked up two ‘money’ books this month. My favorite financial author is David Bach, I’ve actually read all his books so I have a good background on the topic. However, I think you can always learn something more, so I picked up the Dave Ramsey workbook.

I wanted to buy the Total Money Makeover book, but it was out of stock at BN which is why I bought the workbook. First let me say that I did learn quite a bit from the workbook. I now have a detailed budget set up, have a new debt plan in place, and I’m even following some of his budget tips. However, I wish I had waited and bought the book as opposed to the workbook. There were lots of little quizzes and word play activities that felt childish. I get what he was doing, trying to switch on the light bulb over people’s head, but I think I would have personally benefited more from the book. 



The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous & Broke

This is the second ‘money’ book I picked up this month. I bought this book primarily because it offered something different. A lot of the advice in this book would counter what you find in other financial books, but she wrote this for a specific demographic and I appreciate that. While I’m not broke, I am young…and sometimes rather fabulous. I’m also trying to change my career which was discussed at length in regards to finances, as was buying a car (which I’ll need to do in the next year or so). It did touch on retirement but not as much as other books. It was written in a question/answer format which was very easy to read and reference.



Cleopatra’s Daughter: A Novel

LOVED LOVED LOVED this book. It’s fairly long, around 430 pages and I read it in one afternoon, it was that good. I could not put it down. I read while cooking, eating, walking, when I should have been working, etc. It’s a historical fiction novel that chronicles the life of Cleopatra and Marc Antony’s children, particularly their twins, Selene and Alexander. The author does take some liberties with the story for the benefit of the reader, which she explain at length in the end. However, it was mostly factual and beautifully written. I have been a fan of Greek Mythology and Roman History since I was in high school, but I think the way it was written would be entertaining to those that are just looking for a good story. Did I tell you that I LOVED this book? Yeah.



The Well and the Mine

I bought this book at Costco thinking that it was a mystery book. In part it was, but there was so much more to the story that I didn’t expect. It follows a family living in a coal mining town in the 1930s. The story is written chronologically, but told through the eyes of each character. For example the little girl, Tess, tells you about what they were doing at school, then her sister picks up the story from her viewpoint as they make their way back home. I’m probably not explaining that well, but it was a very interesting way to tell each characters personal story while progressing through the bigger family story. This was another book that I really enjoyed, because it was fascinating to hear about a world that I know so little about.



*The book links in the post are affiliate, but I was not provided with any of these books to review. All the opinions are mine and I paid for each book out of my own pocket.


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