Saturday, 1 February 2014

A Book a Week - On a Budget

One of my New Years resolutions was to read more.  I used to read a couple of books a week, but since I have been at work, and been blogging more, I have been a bit slack. So now I am aiming for a book a week - and I am also aiming to build up my bookshelf on a budget.

Having just kitted out two children for primary school, one for high school, and next week one for university, I don't have too much left for myself. So my budget? I am going to aim for $52 - for the year, or $1 a week.

Sounds a bit tight, I know, but I do have a few books I haven't read, and the rest I will find at my local thrift shops.  Of course I may have to ask for books for mothers day and my birthday too!  For this first month of reading I had one gifted book and four thrift shop books -


Sunday Best  (2004) by Australian Robbi Neal was my surprise favorite book of the month. If, like me,  you have read 'Eat, Pray, Love' and found it lacking or too American, then you may appreciate this book. Robbi's book is a personal memoir, written for her children when she thought she may die from breast cancer.  It tells the story of her upbringing in a strict baptist home (the no dancing sort) with abusive parents, her loveless marriage, affairs, quest for spirituality, finding love and battling disease.  It is one of those books that help us appreciate the hope, faith and love that make our lives a worthwhile journey, whatever our beliefs.
It grabbed me quickly and I read it in one day. 10/10
A thrift shop book for me ($1), but you can find it here from $1.

Nice Work (1988) is a novel by British author David Lodge. It won the Sunday Express Book of the Year award in 1988, was also shortlisted for the Booker prize, and made into a TV series in 1989 (which I haven't seen).  The book starts like a description for blind people by an audio recorder, with each detail of the characters and their surrounds spelt out,  but moves into a more interesting narrative when we actually get into what the characters - Robyn Penrose, a feminist university teacher specializing in the industrial novel and women's writing, and Vic Wilcox, the manager of an engineering firm - are feeling . The story focus's on their relationship, and how it changes them both so that they become better and more interesting people. 
A wonderful book that has made me want to read more industrial novels! 7/10
I picked this up at the op-shop for 10 cents (yes, Vinnies has a 10c basket of hard covers!), but you can find it here from about $8.

Lizzy Harrison loses Control (2011) is an unabashed chick-lit book by Pippa Wright, similar in feel to those by Sophie Kinsella, with a warm and funny heroine whom you just can't help but like.  Lizzy has a good job in PR and is totally happy and organised, until ex-boyfriend  and now star and recovery druggie, Randy comes on the scene.  He is not designed to be loveable, but you can’t help liking him (think Russell Brand - dirty yet charming). The other characters in the book are classic chick lit personas too - man-eating best friend Lulu, loyal but overlooked Dan and, my favorite character, Lizzy’s hippie earth-mother mum. 
A great weekend read. 7/10
Another op-shop find for me (50c), but you can find it here from around $1.

I spent the two weeks holiday before Christmas re-reading the whole Phyrne fisher Series, and was delighted to get this book from my mother in law. Murder and Mendelssohn (2013) is Kerry Greenwood's latest Miss Fisher Mystery, and it did not disappoint.  Phyrne is a lady detective in 1929 Melbourne, and the descriptions of the fashions, architecture and places are just as interesting as the mysteries, especially for someone like me who grew up in Melbourne.  As usual there are two mysteries to unravel, and Phyrnes growing household helps her to unravel them.  This one does delve into the homosexual underworld (for want of a better term, as it was illegal in 1929), and Kerry Greenwood's research is as usual impeccable.
I tried to let this last the whole weekend, which was difficult as I didn't want to put it down. 10/10
Available here or most bookshops for about $ 23. 

The Best Awful (2004) just about sums up this book by Carrie Fisher. I tried really hard, but found this book hard work. There are some flashing moments of brilliance,as well as some interesting characters in this work - Thor, the Serbian and way too young for her boyfriend, the precocious but witty daughter Honey, and Craig, who gets her out of every jam - yet the work as a whole somehow falls short. Her musings on being bipolar and her moods go from 'too much information' to sugar coated nothings. 
This book took a whole week of dedicated reading to get through - only go there if you really lover Carrie Fisher or her other well-known 'Postcards from the Edge', or perhaps are studying manic depression.
This was an ex-library copy I picked up for 10 cents.  Send me postage and I will send it to you! 2/10

First months books cost total - $1.70.

Deb xx


  1. Hi, Deb! Those titles look like great finds and good reads. Like you I also wish I had more time to devour books. Thrift shops are a wonderful source even if you're not on a tight budget. Book gifting, bartering and borrowing are also good money saving ideas.

    Happy Sunday to you, dear friend!

    1. Yes, and I may even join the library again! Happy Sunday to you too - it's lovely rainy, reading weather here xx

  2. Kerry Greenwood doesn´t seem to have made it to the shelves of the Swedish bookstores, but I´ll see if I can find her in the English fiction department. She sounds really interesting!

    1. Oh yes do ask your bookshop. There is also a TV series which is wonderful. Check out Kerry's Phryne Fisher Website

  3. a book a week is quite a challenge! I have so many books I haven't read, so the budget wouldn't be hard for me either! Also the charity shop I work at sells all books for 1.00 with a buy 4 for 3.00 offer on going, plus as I am a volunteer I get a 20% discount!! can you believe that! haha!!

    1. Lucky you! Although it makes me a bit sad that books are so undervalued now.

  4. What a great idea. I tried to read 52 books last year, only made it to 42, but it was my record for most books read in a year since I started keeping track. Aiming for 52 again this year; even though I know I probably won't make it, it's nice to have an aim. What sort of books are you most interested in, I'll see if I can think of any recommendations. I read mainly classics, and historical fiction

    1. I love historical fiction, and I am trying to read more classics - any recommendations welcome!

    2. Kate Morton and Tracey Chevalier are my favourite historical fiction authors. As far as classics, Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South and the Forsyte Saga

    3. Thanks Kaitlyn, i will keep an eye out for them.


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