Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut

Cat\'s Cradle: A Novel So okay, I read this for book club. I realize it’s about 40 years old, so maybe I just don’t get it, but what the heck was he trying to say? I picked up several themes, but it seemed like Vonnegut couldn’t make up his mind about which to go on about. I was confused. I liked the book okay, but that might have been relief that it was very short. I feel kind of ambivalent about it and I’m not sure why it’s on the list of “Books You Must Read Before You Die”.

But Hey, I’m another book well-read on my way to that 1%.

The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot

The Mill on the Floss (Penguin Classics) The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
It took me about 2 months to read this book. Maybe not that long, but it felt like it. Part of that was the edition I used. It had very small print.

The story was very good, though. Especially if you like long, slow narratives. The Tulliver’s are a mill owning family in a small country town in England. Maggie, the daughter, is passionate, intelligent, and impulsive. She has earned a reputation for being naughty. She spend her whole life trying not to be “naughty”.

View all my reviews.

And that is book number 1 on my way to being 10% Well-Read.

No satisfaction

So, I’ve been reading books that are supposedly about how to reduce your spending so you can save more. Not surprisingly, this is of great interest to me right now, what with the economy being what it is (circling the drain, as it were).

Anyway, so I’ve read several books on the subject, but so far I’ve learned very little of use! One book was written so long ago that the suggestions no longer make good sense. The others make such good sense that I’ve already been doing those things. And some suggestions are just beyond the realm of feasibility for me. No matter how good my intentions, I am not going to start a vegetable garden (I have a black thumb) or wash and reuse my plastic baggies.

One book suggested cutting costs for family outings. Instead of going to the movies with the family every week, you could rent a movie and save $40. Mikes response? “Who the heck takes their family to the movies ever week?” Now, I do now people who do this, but they don’t live here. We don’t even rent the movies. We get them from the library for free! Family outings? Ha! We have a family zoo membership (gift from my parents) so we can go to the zoo for free. Pretty much, if it costs money, we don’t do it. I think we’ve got the family outing thing under control. My kids think an outing is a $10 trip to QuikTrip for snacks to eat in front of the free rented movie.

We don’t have cable or satellite. We read a lot of books. Mostly free ones from the library or purchased with gift cards. I do have a cell phone, but I got it at the absolute cheapest rate I could find.

Groceries. Here’s where I could seriously cut back, I think. I feel like we spend waaaay too much on food. And no matter how much I try, I just can’t figure out where to cut corners. One book’s sole advice on cutting this bill was to use coupons on double or triple coupon days. Newsflash! None of the stores in this area do that any more. So the coupons are for expensive brands that don’t cut the prices below the cheap brands anyway. So not worth it.

Most of the books wanted to give me advice about what to do with all this extra money I’m going to have lying around, except I don’t have that because I’m already making coffee at home instead of buying a $5 cup at Rocket Brothers. I rarely pay full price for any article of clothing for anyone in the household. We don’t own a boat or a jet ski or a motorcycle or a vacation home. We take our lunches to work and school. We order in twice a month or less. We almost never eat out.

One book suggested we move to a city with a lower cost of living. Hello! I live in Oklahoma. That’s about as low as it gets as far as I can tell.

Where is the book that will give me the “aha!” I’m looking for?

Jan and Feb reads.

Cause I’m pretty sure I haven’t done this for awhile.


501 Must Read Books
Reading Oprah: How Oprah’s Book Club Changed the Way America Reads by Cecilia Konchar Farr
Codex by Lev Grossman
The Sound of Butterflies by Rachael King
The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz
Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult
Going to See the Elephant by Rodes Fishburne

501 Must Read Books is really fun if you like making lists of books you haven’t read. Since this is a British publication, I had a long list.

Going to See the Elephant wins for unexpected pleasure.

The Spellman Files gets the LOL award.


Blood From a Stone by Donna Leon
The Oxford Project by Peter Feldstein and Stephen Bloom
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Alburquerque by Rudolfo Anaya
Reading to Heal by Jacqueline Stanley
Look Me In The Eye by John Elder Robison
A Great Idea at the Time by Alex Beam
Not Quite What I Was Planning by SMITH magazine.

The Oxford Projectt gets the Why Didn’t I Think of That award.

One Hundred Years of Solitude gets the award for making me feel smart and multicultural.

Blood From A Stone get the award for greatness consistent with the rest of the series.

Because I am a glutton for punishment…

and a little crazy, I am joining the 1% Well-Read Challenge.

For this challenge we are using the book 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die. The idea is to read 10 new books of the lists(s) before December 31, 2009. One caveat, the publishers of the book revised the list last year. In response, the challenge has several challenge options. You can read 10 books from either the original list, or 10 books from the revised list, or 13 books from the combination of lists (about 1300 books).

I think I’ll read from the revised list because I understand there are more books in translation on that one and I have a desire to be more well-read in international circles.

I just counted and I am 9% well-read. Which basically means I’ve read 91 of the books on the list.