One of the resources I most cherish in my frugal life is living a five minute walk from our neighbourhood branch of one of the top libraries in Canada. We are there so often I sometimes think it's our second home, and the library staff know all four members of my family on a first name basis. We might even get a bit of extra special service since some of the staff has known us since before I gave birth to my babies and has watched them grow up (the fact that I bring them a plate of homemade cookies every Christmas might sway things in our favor, too!).
I recently realized that even though I'm an avid (some would say bordering on obsessive) reader, I rarely share anything book-related (aside from an odd review) here on my blog. Since I know reading is a popular activity with many of my fellow frugalistas (we all love our libraries, don't we?) I thought it might be fun to share what I've been reading once in a while, and you can let me know what books you've recently enjoyed, too! Since we are a cable-free household, we borrow a lot of DVDs from our library, too and I'll post some of our favourite DVD picks as well.
So, without further ado, here are a few things I've enjoyed from the library of late:
1. The Help by Kathryn StockettI'm sure almost all of you have heard of this book, which has gotten a ton of buzz, has been on all the bestseller and recommended reading lists, and has now been made into a movie (which I haven't seen yet). I finally got around to reading it and am glad that I did. I found it to be well written, although a very difficult read at times because of the subject matter. I still find it hard to believe that racial segregation existed in North America such a short time ago - I'm not quite old enough to have been alive then, but it was just barely outside of my lifetime that these events occurred. I think almost anyone would find this to be a worthwhile read.
2. The Writing Class by Jincy WillettI'd never heard of this novel or its author before and I happened to stumble across this one when browsing the "recently returned" shelf at the library. The main character teaches a college extension writing course, and the story starts out revolving around the class and its students and eventually turns into a murder mystery. It's written in a humorous and somewhat literary style. I've taken a few adult education writing classes at my local university, and I thought this was a very cleverly done story with some pithy observations about class dynamics and human nature in general. If you enjoy writing, have ever taken a writing class, or just prefer your murder mysteries with a good dose of humour on the side, you should enjoy this book.
3. Baking Cakes in Kigali by Gaile ParkinYet another fiction pick (I've been on a bit of a novel bender lately!). This is the story of Angel Tungaraza, a Tanzanian living with her husband and grandchildren in Rwanda in the aftermath of the genocide. I'm only part way through this book, but really enjoying it. Although it covers some difficult subject matter, it is also about the joys and challenges of everyday life and is written in a light and hopeful style. It also provides a glimpse into what life is like in modern day Rwanda. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who's a fan of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith.
4. Chuck (TV series)This show was recommended to me by a few different friends and we finally got around to checking it out. I'm so glad we did! It's a comedy-drama of the "goofy spy" variety and it usually has us in stitches. It takes some great jabs at big-box-store culture as well, as the main character works at "Buy More" (a spoof on Best Buy) and there are frequent references to "Large Mart" (I don't think I need to tell you what chain they're referring to there ::grin::). We're about half way through the first season and I suspect we'll be making our way through all five seasons.
Have you borrowed anything great from your library lately? Please share!