Books, Books And More Books

by Katy on September 2, 2008 · 4 comments



My name is Katy, and I am a reader. Jane Austen, Jackie Collins, non-fiction. I read it all.

Wherever I live, one of my first priorities is always to get a library card. My favorite is the one from “The Royal Borough of Kensington.” (I worked selling shoes on Sloane Street, mecca to Sloane Rangers,  but also home to a terrific library.)

With the advent of the internet, using the library has never been easier. Books can be put on hold, and then renewed, often endlessly.

Recent books that I’ve recently enjoyed have been:

She Got Up Off The Couch: And Other Heroic Acts From Mooreland, Indiana, by Haven Kimmel. 

Short personal essays about growing up poor, somewhat neglected, but happy in a very small town. The author is a glorious writer. Her writing is so good, the rest of us might as well pack in our keyboards.

One Red Paperclip, by Kyle MacDonald.

Kyle’s story of how he played the trading game of bigger and better to trade up from one red paperclip to a house in a single year. The author is a very appealing guy and a smooth writer. I read this book in a single day. And yes, I cried at the end.

Radical Simplicity: Creating An Authentic Life, by Dan Price.

This satisfyingly small book chronicles Dan’s adult life as he chooses to move from suburban Kentucky to life is an ever changing array of small outdoor spaces. From tents, to tipis, hobbit holes and domes. His wonderful line drawings add the perfect touch to his book.

Living Like Ed, by Ed Begley Jr.

I wanted to like this book, I really did. I don’t have cable, so I haven’t watched the TV show that has supposedly gotten many people talking about eco-friendly living. This book is written by Ed, but also has many small bits by his wife. She doesn’t appear to actually like her husband, and takes this as an opportunity to dig at him. Highly unappealing. Like watching another couple fight at a dinner party. The tips within the books are all obvious stuff like hanging laundry and riding your bike. I learned nothing from this book. Sorry Ed.

Heartsick by Chelsea Cain.

Portland writer Chelsea Cain set this crime novel here in Portland, Oregon, but it’s a great novel regardless of location. (Although I did appreciate that one of the murder victims was coming home from Jefferson high school — my alma mater!) The characters are great, the plot twists inventive and it’s smoothly written. There is a sequel that just came out that I need to put on hold at the library.

Helping Me Help Myself: One Skeptic, Ten Self-Help Gurus, And A Year On The Brink Of The Comfort Zone, by Beth Lisick.

One Word: Hilarious. Beth, a Bay Area performance artist undertook 12 months studying self-help books in 12 different areas of life. Her takes on the different Gurus is spot on, and there’s actually a bit to be learned through her experiences. This book is worth every page, but if a reader were to only read one chapter, the part where Beth and a friend take a Richard Simmons Cruise To Lose is worth every word/every minute/every morsel. I ended this book wishing with all my heart she would be my friend. Really though, I’m not cool enough.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, by Betty Smith.

The lessons taught about class, poverty, family and love in Brooklyn, New York stand the test of time. I have read this book three or four times in my life and hope to read it another dozen or so. Graceful, moving, timeless. If you have not read this book, get off your tuchus and do it now.

It may seem like I read a tremendous amount, and yes — I suppose I do. For fiction, I mostly read by way of the audio book. I listen to books while commuting, hanging laundry, doing dishes, cooking, cleaning. Essentially all the mindless tasks, which are many. I don’t have an iPod, just a CD Walkman, and a not-so flattering neoprene waist belt. 

And it’s all from the library. The wonderful, fabulous library.

What have you been reading?

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Alexis September 3, 2008 at 4:36 pm

OMG – I LOVE Haven Kimmel! Have you read her book, A Girl Named Zippy? It’s pee-your-pants-funny. I have to put She Got Up Off the Couch on hold at my library.

I just finished reading Unconditional Parenting, by Alfie Kohn. I think it’s the most important parenting book I’ll ever read, citing a pile of little-known research that sheds light on how most common parenting philosophies are undermining our greatest goals for our children. Very interesting read!


lynn September 5, 2008 at 3:08 pm

Thank you very much for sharing some of the books you enjoyed! I just ordered several of your reads from the library (it would be so wierd to PAY for a book). I would love it if you would continue to let us know about books you’ve enjoyed reading, because I’m too lazy to look very hard myself. By the way, I really look forward to starting my day with a good cup of coffee and reading your blog. You’re a wonderful writer.


Kristen@TheFrugalGirl October 20, 2011 at 5:20 pm

Nuts. My library doesn’t have the simplicity book. I put a few others from your list on hold, though!


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