Like most, our family loves finding ways to save money so that we can then spend more on priority items in our life (just bought another half steer’s worth of beef similar to this post). Holly LOOOOVES thrift store shopping, which makes this song even funnier to me (note, a few swear words in the “official” song). She says she’s been thrift store shopping since before that band was even born.
Anyway, my favorite way to save our family money and get much, much entertainment is the Library (that band should write a song about that). I’ve been crushing the library for years. In fact, in college, I even worked at the library system either sorting books to go to the library network, or driving a delivery truck taking books to each library. See our area has a network of libraries that share resources between them, so if they don’t have the book or media at your local library, they can get it shipped there from the next library over.
I looked at my checkout history and in the last year I’ve checked out 311 items and in the last two, 638 items. These range from DVDs, Blu-Rays, Playstation 2 and 3 games, Nintendo DS games, kids books, audio books, music CDs and regular books. Though they carry most items I’m looking for, I’m still buying a handful of books a year just due to the specialty nature of some books. The newer or more popular books often have a waiting list, but if you’re otherwise occupied or know how to work the system either you get them earlier or you don’t really notice the wait. Our library puts DVDs/Blu-Rays into the system even if they haven’t been released so when sites like Jo Blo put their new release dates out, I’m searching the system and putting my reserve in for stuff that isn’t even on the shelf. It’s really amazing what they have in the system.
I’ve read a lot of non-fiction books everything from dog training to male menopause to migrant workers on fruit farms. Lately though I’ve been on a fiction kick. Not since I plowed my way through the dense world of A Song of Ice and Fire, which admittedly burned me out, have I been willingly chewing on fiction. Some of these I grabbed because of Jamie’s recommendation (at Chaos and Pain, great site but totally NSFW):
Broken Empire Series, by Mark Lawrence – Prince of Thorns and King of Thorns have been released, with Emperor of Thorns coming out this summer. The premise is basically teenage anti-hero in medieval times is out for revenge and driven by hate. He’s an awful human being, but despite that, you sort of root for the guy. Written in the first person, there’s some magic and sword fighting and a much lighter read than R.R. Martin’s books. I haven’t read many fantasy series, but this one was a fun one and cranked through the first two books in short order. Supposed to be a three-book series.
Grimnoir Chronicals, by Correia – Another series that is supposed to wrapped up in three books, I’m part way through the second. The first
Hard Magic introduces an alternate history set in the 1930’s where some people have been born with magic powers and the good guys are battling with the bad guys mostly in secret. It has the feel of a pulpy crime-slash-detective noir novel and is another fun easy read with lots of guns and bad guys and different magical abilities woven into historical alternative american history. The second book Spellbound has similar style but the plot is already very different, and more types of magic are being introduced.
Ready Player One by Earnest Cline – I’ve actually read this one two times over the past year. A total geek-boy’s masturbation fantasy for those of us that grew up in the 80’s. TOOOONnns of pop-culture references, video games, role playing dorkdom and treasure hunt/lottery type theme going on. A fun, quick read that I highly recommend. Also, movie rights have already been sold so may be another one of those books-turned-movies though it will be interesting to see what sort of licensing rights they get on all the items that are referenced.
Kingkiller Chronicals by Patrick Rothfuss – Another trilogy that’s only two-thirds done. The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear are both out but no release date on the third. Written mostly first person, it’s sort of an fantasy/ adventure / coming of age story set in the past. Centers on a more sciency-type of magic being taught at a University, but is no Harry Potter. Though it can drag at times where the story doesn’t move as background is being woven further, I’ve enjoyed it and will finish of the series.
Battle Royale by Koushun Takami – Originally published in Japan, this was Hunger Games before Hunger Games. Some have argued that Suzanne Collins ripped off the premise from this book, which has a similar plot premise (until Book 2-3 of Hunger Games that is). Similar to Hunger Games, students are essentially forced to battle each other to the death on an island with various weaponry including guns. While the Japanese names can get a little confusing, I’ve read this book a couple of times too over the last couple years and have even seen the B-Movie of it (foreign film).
If you haven’t already, go and check out your library system. They likely have on-line reservations and is the best money you’ll never spend.