Archive for January, 2012
Although I am an avid reader and I love books, I am guilty of ignoring some of the classics. I have made excuses for never reading the likes of Moby Dick or Pride and Prejudice in the past. Now that I am writing more and reading more, I have decided that these books can not go unread any longer. While my resolution was to read even more books than I did in 2011, I plan to work in at least one classic book a month.
When I say “classic” books, I am talking about Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë, and many others. I am talking about books that have permeated our culture ever since their initial printing. I am ashamed that I have called myself a book lover but have so far snubbed these popular and important works for so long.
Snub no more! This year, I plan to read the following classic books from beginning to end.
- Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
- A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
- Dracula by Bram Stoker
- Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
- Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
- The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
- Emma by Jane Austen
- David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
- Mrs. Dalloway by Virgina Woolf
- Moby Dick by Herman Melville
- Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
- Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
Admittedly, this is a huge list to tackle. But I plan to do my best to complete all 12 of these books. I will try to keep everyone up to date on my list with thoughts and a review once I have finished each book. Anyone out there miss out on reading any of books they consider to be classic care to join me in this endeavor? Leave a comment and tell me which classic books you plan to read in 2012.
2004 was a very interesting year. Domestic Queen Martha Stewart went to prison for five months, Smarty Jones won the Kentucky Derby, and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King won the Oscar for Best Picture. And 2004 was also the year that BookJingle opened up shop in Georgetown, Kentucky. Many origin stories are said to have begun in a garage or basement (Google and Apple to name a couple), and this origin story is no different. Eight years ago, BookJingle was just an idea. But it wasn’t long before that idea came to fruition, and started with humble beginnings as a home-based business. But now BookJingle, still a family-owned business, offers customers all over the country the easiest way to sell used books. And with thousands of satisfied customers, BookJingle is always committed
to providing its customers with the best book buyback site on the net. They strive to give each and every one of their customers the highest quality service, and offer the following benefits:
- Free Shipping
- Payments within 48 hours
- Top Prices
- Excellent customer service
- Book Scout service
- Easy to use website
- Excellent communication throughout the entire process
When you are making extra cash by selling your books to BookJingle, you are also supporting a family-owned business that is dedicated to giving its customers the best and easiest experience possible. Give it a shot, and see the difference a little dedication makes. And when you are convinced, tell your friends!
Cold and flu season is upon us, folks! That means along with some nasty weather, you might also experience some nasty sicknesses. Coughing, runny noses, sore throats, and fevers. We all know that being sick is no fun. Of course, getting a flu shot is a good way to stave off certain strains of the flu, but there are other things you can do to try and stay well. There are ways to prevent sickness, and even foods that boost your immune system.
In order to prevent sickness, be sure to do all of the following:
- Wash your hands often. Use soap, lather up, and scrub for 15 seconds.
- Sleep! Those who are sleep deprived have compromised immune systems, and are more susceptible to sickness.
- De-stress. Like those who are sleep deprived, those of you who are stressed are more likely to get sick.
- Drink more water.
- Disinfect surfaces daily.
In addition to the previous tips, the following foods have been shown to actually boost the immune system. Of course, I don’t recommend eating them all in one dish, but that’s up to you.
- Shiitake Mushrooms
- Sweet Potatoes
- Brazil Nuts generic propecia online
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It’s not always possible to keep the cold away. So, if you still end up getting sick, just use these suggestions to make it a little less agonizing than it already is:
- Take it easy. Listen to your body, and only do what you feel ready to do. Don’t do too much too fast, or you risk allowing the illness to drag on.
- If possible, start treatment within the first 24 hours of being sick. It is much easier to kick an illness during the first few hours than it is later.
- Ask for help. If you need something (soup, ginger ale, a good magazine), don’t be afraid to ask others so you don’t risk spreading your germs at the drugstore.
- Get a new toothbrush, especially after a bacterial infection. The infection may actually stay on the brush even after you are better.
And we all know that when you’re sick, there’s nothing more comforting than a bowl of warm soup. Here is a link to over 20 recipes for comforting soup that will make you feel better, if only for a little bit. Stay well!
As promised, I spent the last few days coming up with my own list of the best books of 2011. Some critically acclaimed, others completely ignored. All of them interesting, and worth the read. When it comes to books, I have very eclectic interests. I love mysteries and thrillers, along with the quirky and magical. I can also get really engrossed in a good biography or memoir. There were a lot of really great books released in 2011, but the following five books are my picks for the best books of 2011 (in no particular order).
1. The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen
I have previously expressed my love for the magical realist writings of Sarah Addison Allen. The Peach Keeper is on par with her previous books, and possibly better. She uses words to spin new worlds full of magic, love, and food. I read this book as soon as I could get my hands on it. The only problem with reading it so fast is having to wait for her next book to be published!
2. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Yes, the book is as strange as it sounds. But it is a good strange. The story revolves around a teenager whose grandfather dies under mysterious circumstances. After receiving a letter from his deceased grandfather, he goes on an adventure with his father to try and figure it all out. The book was actually written based around photographs found by the author, which are included in the book itself. Strange photographs that inspire a strange story.
3. Bossypants by Tina Fey
I love 30 Rock, so obviously I love Bossypants. This isn’t the first time I have talked about this book, and I am not the only one to put it on a “Best of 2011″ list. It’s much different than your usual celebrity autobiography. Tina Fey keeps it light and funny, but still delving into her personal life. It isn’t boring or uni
nteresting, and it doesn’t seem like she wrote it just to be another celebrity who wrote a book. She has a story to tell, and it’s a hilarious one.
4. Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson
This is where the mystery/thriller lover in me shines through. This book is scary. Not because of monsters or killers, but because it is about something truly terrifying: losing one’s memory. Christine had an accident that left her with no short term memory. Every morning, she wakes up not knowing who she is. Of course, this has been done time and time again in books and movies, but this time there is a new twist. She keeps a journal of her life story that she reads every morning. One morning, she picks it up and reads a message from herself: “Don’t trust Ben.” Ben is her husband. I couldn’t put this book down, and definitely think it is a good choice for anyone who loves a good thriller.
5. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
I love all books about the circus. There’s something about it that fascinates me. Along the same lines, I love every books about magicians. It just so happens that The Night Circus is about circuses and magicians. Fantastic. Le Cirque des Reves is a circus that appears at night with no warning, and disappears just as quickly. Amazing tents, and amazing performers come together to make it an extremely memorable event for all, especially the reader. I bought this book the day it came out, and it is definitely my favorite book of 2011. I can’t wait for this author’s next book to come out.
There are many books that I could have put on this list, but I narrowed the bunch down to just these five. I recommend all of the above books to anyone, and hope that you love them as much as I do. Hopefully 2012 will be full of as many incredible books as 2011. We have 11 more months to find out!
So, you’ve decided to dig up those old boxes of books from the attic to sell on BookJingle? Good for you! Selling your used books to BookJingle is an excellent way to make some space in the house, and make some extra cash! But, lo-and-behold, the attic hasn’t exactly been the best place to store books. Cobwebs and a little dirt can be cleaned off books in a snap, and as long as they still match BookJingle’s guidelines (ex: no water damage, no musty smells which signal mold), you’re good to go. Some great tips when cleaning up a book to sell are:
Remove any dust on the outside of the book by gently vacuuming with a brush attachment or use a magnetic dusting cloth. When doing so, be sure you turn the book upside down, to prevent dust from collecting in between pages.
Clean the edges of pages of cobwebs and other debris by wiping with a slice of fresh white bread or a soft bristled brush.
After the dust jacket has been wiped away of any actual dust, clean it with a small amount of window cleaner and a soft cloth. Be sure to spray the cloth with the cleaner, and not the book itself! For paperbacks or boo
ks without a dust jacket, use a dry cleaning pad to wipe away dirt. You can also use a dab of cleaner and wipe away dirt with your fingers. Be sure to use as little cleaner as necessary, you don’t want to damage the books in the process of cleaning them.
If you notice grease or oil marks on pages (on a cookbook, for instance), you can try to remove them using paper towels and a weight. Simply place a few paper towels over the spot, close the book, and place the weight on top. Leave it for several days in order for the towels to absorb the maximum amount of oil.
Although these are good methods for slightly dirty books, many page stains, water damage, tearing, and musty smells cannot be removed. And thus, cannot be sold to BookJingle. It is important to take good care of your books, and even recommended to clean your books using the above methods once a year to keep them in the best shape. Additionally, when storing books, always keep them in a dry place to avoid mold and humidity.
These are great tips for your everyday book, but if you’re dealing with a rare or valuable book, these cleaning methods are not recommended. Take any rare, valuable, or antique books to an expert.
Hopefully, some of you have taken my advice and have begun or plan to begin composting your scraps. Composting is a great way to lessen the amount of garbage sent to the landfills, and creates wonderful fertilizer for gardening. Whether you are planning a flower, herb, or a vegetable garden, composting will give you nutrient-rich fertilizer that you made yourself. Recently, I came across an article which lists 75 surprising things you can compost. It is a great guide to what can be composted, and what cannot. Everyone knows that fruit and vegetable scraps and grass can be composted, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. As the article suggests, I was surprised by some of the items on the list. Some of the most surprising compostable items on the list were:
- Old loofahs
- Contents of your vacuum cleaner bag or canister
- Pizza boxes, ripped into smaller pieces
- Old/stained wool or cotton clothing – rip or cut it in
to smaller pieces
The full list, found on PlanetGreen.com, can be found here.
If you plan to start your own garden in the near future (or already have one), why not give composting a shot? By doing so, and using the preceding list as a guide, so much garbage can be saved from landfills. The resulting fertilizer may even give your soil that little boost it needs to give you a green thumb that will be the envy of the neighborhood.
I have previously posted a link to a list of the best-selling books of 2011, as compiled by Nielsen. Today I am posting about the best books of 2011, which sounds similar but is completely different. Best-selling books don’t always equal best books, and many bestselling books of the previous year were not recent or new books. Of course people have different opinions, so I have gathered a few lists compiled by the New York Times, Publishers Weekly, and the Washington Post to give a wide range of opinions.
It is interesting to note that the only two books to appear on both the bestselling books list I previously posted and a best book list are Tina Fey’s “Bossypants,” and “Steve Jobs” by Walter Isaacson. Additionally, there is no one book that appears on all three of these lists, but the following books do appear on two of the lists:
“State of Wonder” — Ann Patchet (Publishers Weekly & Washington Post)
“Hemingway’s Boat” — Paul Hendrickson (Publisher’s Weekly & Washington Post)
“The Marriage Plot” — Jeffrey Eugenides (Publisher’s Weekly & New York Times)
“Arguably” — Christopher Hitchens (Publisher’s Weekly & New York Times)
If you are interested in reading more about the best books of 2011, the New York Times has a great article about the 100 most notable books of 2011 you can find here. Or you can just compile your own list. What, in your opinion, are the best books of 2011? I’ll think about that, and share my own list soon.
Did you know that at anytime, you can log into your BookJingle account and check out the details of your order? Your account keeps you informed about your order every step of the way. Among other things, it can tell you the status of your order. This includes whether BookJingle has received your books, if a payment has been issued, and other details. To get to your account, all you have to do is log in via the “Log In” link on the homepage of Boo
kJingle.com. Once you are logged in, just click on the “My Account” link. You can view recent orders, change account information, and even reprint BookJingle’s free shipping label.
Being this easy and user-friendly is just another way that BookJingle continually shows it is commitment to providing its customers with the best book buyback site on the net. So next time you find yourself wondering if BookJingle has received your order, or sent your payment, just log in to your account!
Even though spring is still a few months off (although you wouldn’t know it from the weather where I live), I think now is an excellent time to organize your home. Right after the holidays. Since you get new things around Christmas, it’s easy to run out of places to put the old things. And the old things become just that: old. And with so many days off work, it is easy to get lazy. But maybe spring cleaning isn’t what’s necessary, maybe I should call this winter organizing. I have already made a few runs to Goodwill this year, and it’s only the 11th!
There are some things that it’s easy to decide to take to Goodwill or similar thrift store (Salvation Army, DAV), like the sweater you still have from 4th grade or the set of 10 year old pans. But there are some things that just don’t seem to belong there. Sure, you don’t use it but you don’t want to give it to strangers. That’s where the idea of a swap party comes in.
For those who haven’t heard of it, a swap party is exactly what it sounds like. A party to swap unwanted items. Invite a group of 8-10 people over, asking them to bring items they no longer want or have room for. These items can vary from clothing to purses to flat irons to board games to kitchenware to children’s toys. The possibilities are endless.
Once guests arrive with th
eir goods, organize the items into stations. Clothing can be one station, kitchenware could be another, there could even be a children’s clothing area for those with kids. Then start swapping! To try and keep the madness to a minimum, you could take turns shopping. And, to be fair, hand out chips to guests that correspond to the number of items they brought. That way, someone who brought one item doesn’t leave with 50. And remind guests to bring a tote bag to take home all of their new things!
Although it might seem that you aren’t getting rid of anything, we all know new stuff is more exciting than old stuff. This way, you get new stuff while getting rid of the old and it’s all free! Plus, you’re keeping all of these things from ending up in the garbage. Now, there is bound to be leftovers after the party. And the answer to what do do with those is simple: Goodwill! Just take any items nobody wants to claim to your local Goodwill. And after guests leave, revel in your thriftiness (and that new sweater!).
There are a few other hints on how to host a great swap party on Real Simple’s website, which can be found here.
Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire is a cultural phenomenon. Even after inspiring a wildly popular Broadway musical, “Wicked,” it seems there are many who still haven’t read the book. It is a wonderful book for a book club, and my pick for January. The book revolves around the Wicked Witch of the West from the Oz stories by L. Frank Baum. We finally see her side of the story, and it isn’t exactly what you would expect. Maybe the green skinned “witch” Elphaba was just misunderstood?
Now, when it comes to discussing the book, there are many online guides that help with that. Since a major theme in the book is the nature of good and evil, that might be a good place to start the discussion. If that doesn’t take the conversation very far, there are websites with discussion questions that may. The author’s website has some good discussion questions about the book, found here. These questions include:
1. What is the significance of Elphaba’s green skin? What are the rewards of being so different, and what are the drawbacks?
2. Does meeting up with familiar characters and famous fict
ional situations require more patience and effort on the part of the reader, or less?
3. Was Elphaba’s story essentially a tragedy or a triumph?
You could also just discuss what you liked and disliked about the books, what you would rate the book on a scale of 1-10, or whether you are likely to read the three books that follow Wicked in the series (Son of a Witch, A Lion Among Men, and and Out of Oz). Those could even be later book club selections.
When it comes to serving food, there are a lot of opportunities to get creative. You could go with a Glinda and Elphaba theme. Have cotton candy, pink cupcakes, and pink lemonade for Glinda. And serve green m&ms, dark chocolate, and guacamole dip for Elphaba. There are a ton of ways to incorporate that theme. Just use pink, girly, and sparkly food items for Glinda. And dark, green, and more understated foods for Elphaba. The food doesn’t necessarily have to match the theme, but I think it makes it more fun!
And, finally, after reading and discussing the book it would be fun if the entire book club could make plans to see the musical. Since it is so popular, many larger cities have a traveling Broadway group that come through once a year with the musical. The tickets are a little expensive, but the musical is stunning. It might be a few months until it comes close, but it would be a fun night out. Many times the books we choose in my group come out as movies months later. So, even if it isn’t the day of or even the week of your meeting, it is still fun to watch.
That should be all you need to throw a great book club meeting based on the book Wicked. Good luck, and have fun!