Archive for July, 2012
Today, instead of looking back at best selling books, I am going to look forward. Okay, maybe not forward because that’s a little impossible. I’m going to look at today’s best sellers according to the New York Times Best Seller List.
For the complete list, go to the New York Times Best Seller site,
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Have you read any of the best selling books? Admittedly, I have only read two. Gone Girl, obviously. Can you guess the other? (Hint: It’s not Fifty Shades of Grey, or any of its sequels.) If you have been a reader here, and paying attention you can probably figure it out. If not, I’ll write up a review in the next few weeks to quell your curiosity. Until then, happy reading!
Today is the final entry in my alphabet game. I can’t believe it’s been 26 weeks already! Z is for Zoology to Anthropology because BookJingle specializes in purchasing your used non-fiction books and textbooks. Sure, BookJingle will buy all types of books, but the following genres are especially likely to be purchased by BookJingle:
You can file anthropology, zoology, pharmacology, and other subjects under textbooks.
Although BookJingle is always interested in purchasing your used textbooks, it is important to note that they cannot purchase teacher’s editions or international editions. Plus, there are some genres that they won’t purchase. So, if you have some non-fiction books, textbooks, or current fiction laying around you want to sell, try BookJingle.com.
There are a ton of reusable bags on the market, and I just so happen to have tried many of them. Some good, some not so good, but they are all better than getting plastic bags at the stores. Today, I am going to show you a few different kinds of reusable bags, and give you my review of the bags in terms of durability, size, and convenience.
1. Synthetic Fiber Grocery Store Bags
These are the kinds of bags sold at grocery store check out counters for one or two dollars. And while this bag would work in a pinch (which is why they are placed at the front, where you are checking out), they are probably my least favorite type of reusable bag. They are not incredibly durable, and tend to break after a few uses. The straps on a bag I had of this type broke after only one shopping trip. Another got a big hole in the bottom before I was even able to use it. When you take these to the grocery, you need to have a few if you are planning a large trip. And they really don’t hold much more than a regular plastic bag. I now stick to using these bags around the house, or taking things on trips than for grocery shopping.
2. Canvas Bags
I like canvas bags exceptionally better than the previous type of bag I discussed. They are extremely durable, larger, and you’ll only need to remember a few on a large shopping trip. A few complaints about these bags are that they aren’t easily folded down, so they can be bulky when shopping with them. And, they tend to tip over in the trunk of a car. The few I’ve used haven’t had flat bottoms so during the drive home they toppled over — spilling out my groceries. But if you can find a canvas bag with a flat, square bottom that wouldn’t be a problem. They are a bit more expensive than the cheap synthetic fiber bags, but they are worth the additional cost.
3. Nylon Bags
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There are a wide range of companies that make similar bags: fashionable and colorful nylon bags that roll up and fit into a carrier. While it’s great that these bags can be rolled up, and put into a small bag carrier, they are often not easy to fit back in. Think of opening up a new map, and then trying to refold it in the exact same way. It’s almost impossible. That isn’t a big deal, the small carrier just becomes a little more bulky. And these bags carry about the same as the first bags I mentioned. But, my problem with these bags lies in the handles and the bottoms. Once again the bottom of the bags aren’t completely flat, so they are probe to tipping. And the handles can make them hard to carry if they hold a lot of weight.
4. Thick Plastic Bags
These thick plastic bags are by far my favorite type of bag to use. And, surprisingly, I have gotten them all for free! From campus festivals in college, to street fairs, to online sign-ups, I have never paid for this kind of bag, and I have about six or seven. What’s great about these bags is that they are very durable. I’ve had one bag break a handle, but that was after at least twenty times being filled with heavy items. They have plenty of space, so I normally only need a couple for grocery trips. The handles are easy to hold, and the bottoms stay flat even in a bumpy car. I use these bags more than any of the others I’ve bought, and I recommend them to everyone. And, if you can find them free, even better!
Of course, there are a few rules about reusable bags that many people forget to mention. They can be great, but you need to take care of them. Some rules of thumb for reusable bags are:
- Between uses, clean or bleach the inside of the bags. I use Lysol wipes to clean out my bags after each use.
- When using reusable bags, be careful to separate raw foods from other food products.
- You should not use reusable bags for other purposes such as carrying books or gym clothes if you still plan to use them with food.
So, the next time you find yourself staring at a wall of reusable bags, you can consider my recommendations. And get some Lysol wipes while you’re out.
Roald Dahl has been credited with saying the following: “So, please, oh please, we beg, we pray, go throw your TV set away, and in its place you can install, a lovely bookcase on the wall.”
I recently came across this quote, and it made me think. I love reading, but I also love watching TV. Should I be ashamed that I have a TV, and not a bookshelf instead? Sure, you can spend all of your time watching The Real Housewives of Anywhere, or other similar shows that don’t amount to anything. But, there are still plenty of educational shows on television. Documentaries on PBS, shows about the planets on History Channel, and plenty of shows about other cultures on National Geographic.
And, when it comes to reading, you could be digesting the words of great classical literature or non-fiction tomes outlining the fall of Rome. Or, you could be reading romance novels and chick-lit that is Real Housewives in book form.
So, can one form of media really be better than another? Yes, reading is great fo
r your brain. Television is entertaining. But both reading and watching television cause you to sit for long periods of time. While reading is a brain exercise, and TV can be an exercise in relaxing, neither act is giving your body a workout. I believe that both books and television can live side by side in everyone’s life. I can’t imagine my life without either, because sometimes I just want to veg on the couch with big bag of carrots and hummus & watch Gilmore Girls. Other times, a good book is what beckons.
To reconcile these two media, I bought some new living room furniture. Yes, I do still have a TV on my wall. But, the entertainment center now serves as a book shelf as well. Even though I’m sure Roald Dahl would have never said: “So, please, oh please, we beg, we pray, don’t throw your TV set away, just be sure your entertainment center also serves as book case,” but for me it is a nice compromise. I could never give up my books, but television also has a place in my heart (and my living room).
Y is definitely for “You’ll be back” (said in my best Terminator voice). Yeah, I know that the actual quote is “I’ll be back,” but that makes no sense in this context. So, I changed it a little. Because, when you use BookJingle to sell your used books, you will be back. BookJingle strives to offer its customers the best book buying experience on the web, period.
When you sell your used books to BookJingle, not only do you get free shipping, payment within 48 hours, and top prices for your used books, you will also receive the highes
t quality of service and convenience. With such an easy to use website, and communication through-out the entire process, why even use the other sites?
Once you use BookJingle, you’ll wonder why you ever used other sites or took your books to a brick and mortar book store. BookJingle is just the best. And if you don’t take my word for it, take his:
A few days ago, I was hanging up some clothes in my closet when I realized I had way too many clothes. The rod that all of my shirts hang on was sagging, and almost at capacity. When I started rummaging through everything, I had another realization: I don’t wear 1/3 of what was in my closet. And some of the clothes I remember buying years and years ago. So, I decided I would clean out my closet, and now I have a huge pile of clothes that either don’t fit or just don’t fit into my wardrobe anymore. Sometimes it’s good to just get rid of some things. But, I don’t want to just throw the clothes out, so I’ve been researching all of the different ways I can deal with the situation. And if you’re in the same predicament (or if this post makes you realize maybe you have the same overflowing closet problem), here are some of my suggestions.
1. Online sites like Craigslist and Freecycle are a good option, especially if you are just trying to get rid of clothes. Obviously, everything on Freecycle must be given away. But on Craigslist, you might be able to sell off any higher end clothing, or maybe offer everything for $20. I have a few pair of nice pants that have never been worn that no longer fit, so that would be something I would try to sell on Craigslist. Everything else I have no problem just giving away.
2. If you have a lot of nice, like-new clothing, an option may be a consignment shop. A true consignment store allows you to put your items in their shop, and will sell the items for you, taking a small percentage of the selling price. But there are other places like Plato’s C
loset that buy your clothes up front. The problem with places like Plato’s Closet is that they put a price on your clothes, and it’s usually a very small price. If you have a lot of name brand clothing, it might be worth a shot.
3. Have a clothing swap with your friends. Of course, this pretty much negates getting rid of clothes, but new (to you) clothes are more likely to be worn. And you don’t have to take as much as you give away.
4. If you have a lot of other stuff cluttering up your house, consider having a yard sale. Put 50 cents to a dollar on every piece of clothing, and watch people snag it up. Yard sales are a great way to get rid of items, and get a little extra money.
So, whatever method you choose for getting rid of your clothes, you’ll be doing much better than simply throwing them in the trash. If there is some clothing that you’ve found is too worn out or old to sell or donate, there are options like keeping them as rags, crafts, dog toys, quilts, etc. Old t-shirts can even be cut up into pieces and soaked in fabric softener, and used as a dryer sheet. There is no reason for you to toss out any of your old clothes (except maybe underwear, that’s acceptable). Everything can have a new life, it just might not be with you. Now go clean out those closets!
When I was a little girl, my dad and I would watch old episodes of Star Trek. I can’t say that I really liked the show much as a kid, but there was something my dad would always point out. If a guy on the Enterprise was wearing a red shirt, his fate was pretty much decided — he was going to be killed. The how wasn’t so clear. He might be eaten by a monster once the crew was beamed down, he might fall off a cliff, or get vaporized. Well, now I’m all grown up (I guess), and I really enjoy Star Trek. I even went to a museum exhibit all about the show. I would never go to a convention though, lines must be drawn somewhere. But the red shirt effect was noticed, it was talked about, it was replicated in other shows. And now, there is a whole book about the phenomenon: Redshirts by science fiction writer John Scalzi.
I haven’t read the book, yet. But I t
hink it’s pretty cool that there is a book written about those poor redshirts. The book is fiction, and isn’t some intelligent study of Star Trek episodes with statistics and charts. It’s about a man named Andrew Dahl, who just got recruited to be a member of the Intrepid. Soon after his recruitment, Dahl notices a pattern. Every Away Mission leaves a low-ranked crew member dead. Obviously, he doesn’t want to get picked for an Away Mission. And in trying to avoid that task, he stumbles upon information that changes his understanding of what the Intrepid is really all about.
Of course, I can’t recommend the book — having not read it yet. But, I can recommend listening to (or reading the transcript of) this interview he did with NPR’s Neal Conan. The interview is what introduced me to the book, and intrigued me enough to add Redshirts to the reading list.
Yeah, I pretty much had to cheat on this one. BookJingle does not play the xylophone, take x-rays, or xerox things (okay, they might xerox things, but that’s not very exciting).
BookJingle is a great way to sell used books for x-tra cash, but it is also great for the environment! Reselling your used books is a unique way to recycle and reuse what could one day end up in a landfill. Reselling them online is a painless way to get rid of your book
s, knowing someone else will be enjoying them. I can get somewhat attached to certain books, but reselling them means others get to enjoy those books, too.
Recycling and reusing is one of the best ways to help our environment. Not only are you keeping books from being garbage, you are also keeping new items from being produced. And manufacturing goods takes a larger toll on the planet than simply reusing something. So, next time you log on to BookJingle.com, remember that you are doing to be your own Captain Planet.
Summer is the time for vacations. I’m not sure who decided that, but that’s the way things are. Schools are out, beaches are crowded, and people are on the move. But, while you’re out of town, it’s important that your home stay safe while you’re gone. The following are ten vacation safety tips for your home. If you’re planning to be out of town this summer, utilizing these tips will help keep burglars at bay.
1. Don’t announce your vacation on social media websites (blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc.). Privacy settings change all the time on those sites, and that status could alert untrustworthy people about your empty home. Waiting until you return to post photos and comments about the vacation is your best bet. I’m not a suspicious person, but I never check-in places on social media, because I don’t like announcing that I’m not home.
2. Along that same line, don’t leave a voice mail message on your phone that tells others that you are out of town for long. You never know if this information can be misused.
3. Keep eyes on your property. Maybe not your own eyes, but having someone in the area check your house periodically is a good idea. If you have a trustworthy friend or relative who can house-sit while you’re gone, that’s even better.
4. Maintain a “lived in” look of your house while you are away. Having your lights on a timer is one way. Another is to have a neighbor park
their car in your driveway so it appears someone is coming and going.
5. Don’t hide a key under the fake rock/door mat/potted plant/etc. It’s really not a good idea.
6. Don’t leave valuables such as lawn mowers, bicycles, or tools in the yard or in an open or unlocked garage or shed (your tools could be used to break into your home).
7. Turn off or unplug your garage door opener. If you have an attached garage, lock the door between the garage and the rest of your home.
8. Stop mail and newspaper delivery. The Postal Service will hold your mail for up to 30 days. You can stop your mail in person at any post office or request Hold Mail Service online.
9. This one might sound silly, but be sure all windows and doors are locked. In reality, you should always be safe and keep them all locked, even when you aren’t out of town. But if you live in a safe area, it might not be something you are concerned with on a day to day basis. Most break-ins are ones of opportunity, a burglar would much rather not do a lot of work. And an unlocked window might just be the perfect opportunity.
10. If you have the money, getting a professional security system installed is obviously going to make your home safer. These can be very pricy, but could pay for themselves in the long run.
Follow these steps, and it will help you relax on your vacation knowing your home is secure.
Catch me at home on a weekday, and there is a good chance you’ll find me watching Investigation Discovery. The channel that shows 48 Hours, Dateline, Nightmare Next Door, On the Case, and other true crime series. Needless to say, I enjoy watching stories of wives who snapped, men who disappeared, and all other kinds of crime stories. There are tons of different shows on that channel that highlight murder, disappearances, and stalking. So, of course I decided to read Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. It involves all of the aforementioned crime, and more.
The story revolves around a couple, Nick Dunne & Amy Elliot Dunne. It is their fifth anniversary, and Amy has gone missing. Of course, fiction follows fact and the police immediately suspect Nick. A friend of Amy’s reveals to the police (and the world) that Amy was afraid of him, and had many secrets. Nick denies having any involvement with her disappearance, although much of the evidence points right to him. But his behavior is strange for someone whose wife disappeared in what appeared to be a struggle. So, what really happened to Amy
? You’ll have to read to figure that one out.
I read this book relatively quickly, because it’s one of those “I need to know the ending” kind of suspense novels. It was definitely not what I expected, and the ending really threw me off. Having watched my fair share of crime shows, a lot of the descriptions seemed accurate. So, she definitely did her research on wife disappearances. The first half of the novel was completely feasible: husband finds out wife is missing, police suspect husband, secrets are revealed, etc. And it seems that a lot of the inspiration comes from actual cases of wives disappearing. But, in the second half of the book, the story takes an odd turn. It was unexpected, but still worked. But the ending was unsatisfying.
The first part of the novel is all about the investigation into Amy’s disappearance, slowly unraveling Nick’s dirty secrets, reminiscing about the troubled history of Nick and Amy’s marriage as told in Amy’s hidden diary. Then a twist in the second part changes everything. The characters you thought you knew begin to morph, and then the real story unfolds. I do recommend this book for those of you who love crime/mystery novels. And if you enjoyed Gillian Flynn’s previous books (Dark Places, Sharp Objects), you won’t be disappointed in this one. Yeah, the end feels a little bit strange, but it’s worth the ride (and the price).