Books

Book 502: Jane Austen, the Secret Radical – Helena Kelly

Perhaps I’m too smart for my own good, but overall this book was a bit disappointing. With a title like Jane Austen, the Secret Radical, you’d expect there to be revelations of sorts and yet there weren’t. I mean that’s why I requested a copy from the publisher.* I was hoping as the 200th anniversary of Austen’s death rapidly approaches there’d be something completely new and innovative to talk about, but there wasn’t.

Sure Kelly highlighted a few things that I missed when reading Austen, but really she just expounded upon the things that those of us who don’t read Austen ONLY as a romance novelist, but as a social commentator hopefully picked up on. She provided more detail of course, especially when it came to names and places, but overall there just weren’t a lot of revelations.

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Books, Personal Project

Book 501: The Automatic Millionaire – David Bach

I came across this book when I started listening to the Better Off podcast (iTunes link) , which is sponsored by Betterment (more on that later – including a referral link ;-D). David Bach, the author, was the guest on the very first episode. I was intrigued enough by his interview that I wanted to read the book. It sounded a lot like what I discovered on my own, but I wanted to verify and see what other tips or tricks he offered. But before I talk about the book, first the back story:

After completing my 30×30 a few years ago and getting rid of my credit card debt, I’ve become much more interested in personal finance and making sure that I am planning for the future, whether it’s mine, that of any future children I have, or the fact that my mom, dad and step-mom (and at least one aunt) are all rapidly approaching retirement age.

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Books

Book 393: Sense & Sensibility (Marvel Illustrated) – Nancy Butler and Sonny Liew

Butler, Nancy, Jane Austen and Sony Liew - Sense & SensibilityI have finally made up for lost time. The downside is I’ve read them all now 😦 The upside is that I now want to turn around and re-read them, but I will wait a bit. It’s not like I don’t have a full shelf of Austen fan-fiction waiting on me, or that I still get to read Pride and Prejudice for Jane Austen Book Group this year.

With Marvel Illustrated’s Jane Austen books, this was the third and final illustration style. I’m not sure which is my favorite because they were all unique and each had their own drawbacks, so maybe I don’t need to pick one. I will say Marvel Illustrated and Butler got it right with all of the covers except Northanger Abbey. Which is even stranger because the cover I like the most, #4, from Sense & Sensibility doesn’t look like the illustration style inside!? It probably doesn’t hurt that the illustration cover for #4 makes me think of Wuthering Heights instead, or at least the idea of the Brontë sisters on the moors. The rest of the covers are more representative of Liew’s illustration style.

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Books

Book 381: Northanger Abbey (Marvel Illustrated) – Nancy Butler & Janet Lee

Butler, Nancy, Jane Austen and Janet Lee - Northanger AbbeyI’m so glad I’m on Austen overload this year. I’m not really sure what I do on the years I don’t read this much Austen. Does that actually happen? I should start tracking my Austen reads in addition to everything else I track.

This is the second of the Marvel Illustrated Jane Austen series and I have to say I’m impressed so far. Butler knows how to reduce down the stories to their key elements without losing any of the wit and humor Austen infuses into her work. I preferred the illustration style of Hugo Petrus from Pride & Prejudice versus Janet Lee of Northanger Abbey. Which is interesting because I know it took me a while to adjust to that style, maybe when I read Emma, also illustrated by Lee, I won’t have as many issues. All of this being said, I really enjoyed this adaptation.

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Book Group, Books, The Classics Club

Book 331: Northanger Abbey – Jane Austen

Austen, Jane - Northanger AbbeyContinuing my “Jane-uary” theme, I’ve just finished Northanger Abbey in time for our Jane Austen Book Club (JABC) discussion, which was unfortunately postponed due to a blizzard here in Boston. In addition, this acts as my revitalization of my Classics Club attempt. I apparently only read two books last year. How embarrassing! I’ll read at least six this year with the JABC so that’s a bonus.

Let’s start with I’m ashamed to admit I forgot how absolutely lovable and amazing Henry Tilney is! This is one of the two Austen books I’ve only read once and that is will most definitely change in the future. On the scale of Austen heroes he’s always been lost in the non-Mr. Darcy fray for me. I think he is still behind Darcy, but his bookishness and (what I see as his) disdain for social norms made me laugh on numerous occasions!

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30x30

30 x 30: #28 – Get out of non-student loan debt

2014 10-31 No More CC DebtI’m down to 11 and after this weekend I’ll be down to 10 and will have started two more with a third one on-going. I’m going to kick this list’s butt! I’m not sure I’ve ever been happier seeing a bar chart (and I really like bar charts), but watching that little debt bar on Mint.com slowly dwindle away and actually turn green (whoops I overpaid :-D) this year has been AWESOME!

If there was one I was most scared of not accomplishing and one that I will forever be most proud of accomplishing it is getting out of non-student loan debt (AKA credit card debt). Now don’t get me wrong, I didn’t have an outrageous amount of debt, however, it was enough to make me wonder why I’d accrued it. And I know exactly why, but I’m not going into that, this is about the excitement of paying it off.

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