Books, Life

the bookworm’s guide to reading on a budget

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I’m currently Saving Money For The Greater Good Of My Future. It’s a trial, but I’m just about bearing it. Here’s how …

The Open Library

for those who like to enjoy the wonder of the library from the comfort of their home (AKA those who avoid other humans at all costs)

You have to sign up for this website, but once you’ve done it – huzzah! You’ve entered a secret cult of booklovers and teadrinkers just accessed a library with zonks worth of books that are yours to read FOR FREE!

walking in bluebells

Project Gutenberg

for those who do not wish to sign up for anything. and like older books. you rebels you.

I’ve spent countless hours using this website. In fact, I read the great majority of G.A Henty’s books on Project Gutenberg and I regret nothing; for now I, too, can write a tale of an honest looking youth – not handsome, mind – around the age of fifteen who is VERY VERY COURAGEOUS! and has MUCH PLUCK! (not the kind of pluck one would do on a chicken’s feathers) and lives an exciting life interspersed with a droning, monotonous voice that says Lord So and So moved his armies to such and such a place in the year something or other.

(If you have ever read a Henty, you will appreciate the very great wit which I have just employed. Probably.)

I also read The Rose-Garden Husband, discovered what a love triangle was (SPOILERS: the heroine chose Bill. Or was his name Bob?), and found Sir Walter Scott’s The Bride of the Lammermoor to be disgustingly miserable.

Also – it’s been over eight years and I still can’t spell Gutenberg correctly. I add an extra ‘u’.

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LibriVox

for those who cannot afford Audible. and don’t mind listening to strangers talking. for hours.

LibriVox is the spoken form of Project Gutenburg Gutenberg. Some of them are awfully good. I once tried to persuade my brothers that The Scarlet Pimpernel was a magnificent book of magnificent proportions.

It is, and it was, but I didn’t realise that a) Marguerite had so. many. emotions and b) the emotions took up such a great deal of space. I had to reassure my poor brothers that the really AMAZING AND AWESOME PART was coming up soon. It did not, in fact, come up soon. It was at the end of the book. They were not overly impressed.

hitchhikers

The Library. Your Local Library.

for those who are willing to leave the shelter of their homes in search of books. introverts around the world salute you.

I have nine books out right now. Nine. One of which is the hefty five book trilogy of The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy by Douglas Adams. Do you know how much money that would have cost me to purchase? A fortune. A massive fortune.

Do you know how much money I spent? Nothing. NOTHING.

I ordered a book in the other day – instead of buying the ebook version for £4.74, I spent 45p ordering it. FORTY-FIVE PENCE.

It is a universal truth that libraries make you feel good about yourself. They are peaceful places – unless there is a mother and child group in the children’s section. In which case you will be serenaded by the sweet, sweet sounds of The Wheels On The Bus (Go ‘Round and ‘Round). 

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Since making the agonising decision to save money on books (it is painful, I can assure you) no less than THREE books have been published by authors I quite enjoy. But if one must have principles, one should probably stick to them. I am using three libraries – my personal one (if I can call my kindle collection, and bookshelves that), my local one, and the online version.

It can be done, my friends. It can be done.

happy reading!

I think I just rambled, Life

the bookworm’s guide to makeup

*** Warning: This Post is Novel Length ***

According to YouTube, you must have mountains of products and more skill than Da Vinci himself just to complete a ‘simple and everyday’ makeup look.

I do not claim to be good at makeup. I am a bookworm and I’ve always had a fear that too much makeup would make me look like a clown. However, I am now happy with what I do and wish to help you navigate the treacherous waters of the beauty world.

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allofitIngredients:

Concealer, eyeliner, eyeshadow, mascara, blush, and lipstick

brushes to apply eyeshadow and blush, fingers

courage

a clean face

Chapter One // In Which The Black Bags Disappear

The average Bookworm can often read into the wee hours of the morning. How can she combat the dire side effects? It’s quite simple. Honesty is all very well, but black bags? The Bookworm can hide it. As she hid – and devoured – those books underneath her covers when the lights were out.

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The Bookworm mustn’t feel the need to draw triangles, squares, or complex and bewildering mathematical formulas underneath her eyes. She should take a finger, put concealer on that finger and apply it. (The finger should preferably be her own). She should continue until the black bags are subdued.

eyelinerChapter Two // How The Thing Is Done With The Thing

The eyeliner should be gently applied to the waterline. The Bookworm uses her eyeballs to read, so caution should be taken. The eyeliner is not a sword, she is not a Viking, and her waterline is no monastery full of monks.

BACK UP PLAN: If the Bookworm does poke her eye out, she is reminded that audiobooks are popular nowadays.

A NOTE: The fabled ‘cat’ look, while it looks fabulous, requires plenty of practice. Without this, the liquid eyeliner will be wielded in an attempt to look like a magnificent cat, and the result will resemble a panda. A depressed panda.

eyeshadowChapter Three // Her Eyes Were Shadowed. Literally

The author used to go for the blue or green look. She was under the impression that it complimented her eyes. Today, she goes for the more neutral colours. Four of them, in fact. She likes to live dangerously.

Dabbling is advised for the Bookworm. Fun ought to be had. One can always erase one’s mistakes. The author hides the fact that her hand-eye coordination hasn’t improved since her toddler years by using the lighter colours to erase the wandering effects of the darker bronze.

de-wandsChapter Four // Wafting Spider’s Legs

Apparently, the Bookworm shouldn’t keep one wand of mascara for too long. It’s considered unhealthy. Unfortunately, the author ignores this sage advice and keeps one old mascara, and one semi-old mascara. She thinks it makes a difference. What is health when one’s eyelashes flutter like beautiful feathers in a spring breeze?

Step one: apply the thickest wand first, and – here the Bookworm is given a bit of advice from Doctor Who himself – DON’T BLINK. The Bookworm’s bootiful makeup will be ruined and she will either have to:

a) do difficult and complex damage control

or

b) pretend she was going for the ‘random bit of black on eyelid’ look the whole time.

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Step two: use the other wand next. This is logic. Pure and simple.

Step three: the Bookworm should stop before her eyelashes resemble spider’s legs. If they do, the Bookworm must pretend that she meant them to resemble spider’s legs. Spiders are part of nature and nature is beautiful. Her eyelashes are beautiful, beautiful spider’s legs.

blush2Chapter Five // The Permanent, Yet Charming, Blush

Blushing, in novels, is often considered cute. Blushing, in real life, is an evil, awkward and embarrassing thing. As a human who can turn red enough to make a tomato jealous, the author hates blushing. However, she slaps blush on her face. To be contrary is to be human.

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The Bookworm mustn’t apply over apply. The ‘oh, yes, I am not a pale hermit but am a charming person with a youthful glow’ effect is wanted. The Bookworm is not trying to convince everyone that yes, she has seen the sun recently and ‘look at this – my fabulous sunburn’.

lipstickChapter Six // The Accidentally Painted Tea Cup

The Tea Drinking Bookworm’s relationship with lipstick is a disappointing one. It’s not it, it’s her. Drinking a lot of tea is generally a deterrent to lipstick longevity. At work, however, the Tea Drinking Bookworm should give herself leave to wear a little of it.

Lipstick should be applied carefully. If the lipstick is red, the Bookworm is given leave to pretend she is a femme fatel. A mirror, or a companion, should be used to check whether any lipstick has stained her teeth.

The End

If the Bookworm wishes to branch out into foundation and highlighter and eyebrow colouring and who knows what else, she ought to do so. Experimentation can be marvelous fun.

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think of it as reading a new genre

The author will be over here, trying not to poke her eye out with a mascara wand, and being pleasantly surprised at how little she resembles a clown. A panda? Sometimes. A clown? Never.

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Books, I think I just rambled, Life

death of a bookworm

paintroom.JPGIt’s late and I’m tired. I’ve spent most of the day painting. It’s going … all right. I can’t say I’m wonderful at it, but I manage. My jeans are covered in white finger prints. My bedroom is jammed like a bad game of Tetris.

Two bookshelves have been emptied, their contents piled in corners and stacked along the radiator. Apparently, I own quite a few books. A third of which I haven’t read. (I’m pulling that figure out of thin air. It could be half. I’m not sayin’.)

What on earth is she rambling on about? you wonder. (Yes. I can hear you.) Get to the point already.

I have a book buying habit. It doesn’t matter if it’s an ebook, a second-hand book or a brand new book … all come into my possession with a quiet frequency. And so my shelves grow more packed and my to-read pile grows up and up until they’ll be using it in basic astronomy:

Question: How far is to the moon? Answer: Ness’s to-read pile.

But … that isn’t the reason of this post. (Ha. I haz mizlead you. Maniacal Laugh.) I don’t feel guilty about my to-read pile. In fact, I’m comforted by it – the books are there for me when I need them. I can pick them up right now, next week or next year. They aren’t – to my knowledge – going anywhere.

I love owning books. Love having a personal library that I can gloat over occasionally. I love being rich in words and stories.

And yet, I’ve come to a decision. It doesn’t really have much of a reason behind it. (Other than self-induced torture. Obviously.) As with most of my decisions, it is impulsive and will not be immediately regretted.

*cough*

I feel as if I need a drumroll.

I – Ness Kingsley – have decided …

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… that I am not going to buy a single book in the month of September.

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Wish me well, my friends – already do I hear the siren’s call of kindle offers, charity shops and the marvel of Amazon’s one penny books.

Books, I think I just rambled, Life, Story Time

// home again

I brought forty-six books home with me. And a pair of glorious heels and five packs of sweets, but … forty-six books … I feel like a proper bookworm.

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a properly penniless bookworm, that is

The check-in luggage weight limit was 23kg. I made it 22.8kg. I high-fived the check-in bloke and did not gush about Travel Panic, The Lift My Friends Gave Me and how so very thankful and relieved I was that the bag and my carry-on case had scraped by their weight limits.

I would never do something that undignified.

So incredibly tired and rambling a mile a minute, I arrived home at the obscene hour of eight in the morning without a wink of sleep from the night before. (I don’t sleep on planes. I do, however, talk to Grandfatherly Russians and accidently slap seatmates in the face with my jacket.)

It was an amazing six weeks across the pond, but don’t worry – I shan’t bore you with stories, though I am rather proud of fist-bumping Mickey Mouse and singing (magnificently off key, of course) ‘Country Roads’ as we went through the Blue Ridge Mountains and West Virginia.

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Also – Cup Cake Wars. ’nuff said

Oh! And I visited my happiest place on earth, and no – that’s not Disneyworld (which was fun but my word did the queues never end, did the heat never cease, and was Tinker Bell always so. astoundingly. perky?). It masquerades as ‘The Book Barn’. It is both a graveyard of trees and a magical world of endless stories. Also, it has free donuts.

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do not trust the donuts.

It’s been an epic second trip across the pond; apart from mammal riding (donkey, camel, horse, whale) I think I’ve used every form of transport there is. Oh, and guess what? My cab driver wasn’t a killer robot. And yes, I caught that first train. But the second one? To go the airport? To come home?

Ah. Yes. That one.

They had to replace the engine.

how have you been?