books

How Wizards Do Money: Blaise Zabini

When Blaise was a young Hogwarts student, many classmates automatically assumed Blaise was female. Blaise at that time identified as male, although they identified as male primarily because nobody had presented any other option.

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The Billfold Book Club: Elizabeth Gaskell’s ‘North and South’ (Chapters 26-52)

Reader, she married him. But we all knew that was coming. Let’s talk about the economics.

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“I Don’t Believe in Owing”: How James McBride Does Money

I knew I was rich when I said I wanted a pair of jeans and I went to the store and I said, give me two of them.

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$16 Then And Now

According to an inflation calculator, my $16 twenty years ago has the buying power of $25.70 today, a difference that my eight-year-old self would have viewed with the same reverence, and my current self would have probably turned into laundry quarters.

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How Wizards Do Money: Lee Jordan

Lee did not know how to say to his children that the future would bring them careers they had never heard of, working on things that did not currently exist.

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Morning Reminder: The Billfold Book Club is Discussing the Second Half of ‘North and South’ Next Thursday

This is a reminder that one week from today, the Billfold Book Club will be discussing Chapters 26-52 of Elizabeth Gaskell’s ‘North and South.’

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How Wizards Do Money: Pansy Parkinson

Pansy always walks quickly, her shoes calibrated to both catch the eye and propel her forward. If you weren’t looking at her shoes, you were looking at her bag, her robes, her hair. Pansy used to watch to see if people were watching her. Now she just assumes it.

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Spend More on an Austen than Austen Herself Made in her Life!

Until recently, the poster languished in the bedroom, leaning against a wall like Jordan Catalano. Then Ben decided that Something Should Be Done and started emailing auction houses.

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Welcome to Guilty Pleasure Season

Every time I finish one of the Diana Gabaldon Outlander books, I take a moment to rejoice, and to read the Acknowledgements because they are full of fun thank yous such as this one, to her husband, for “his marginal notes (e.g., “nipples again?”).” Then I order myself the next installment in the series for $4.99. I don’t know how many books there are still to come: eight? eight hundred? Unless there is a marked downturn in quality, I will read them all, just as I did with Game of Thrones, His Dark Materials, Harry Potter, Hunger Games, and Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. These series appeal to something primal inside me: like video games, they offer a blend of simplicity and transcendence. Plus, at the end, resolution.

I feel guilty about shelling out $5 per fix, though, because 1) the e-books come from Amazon, and remember when I was going to boycott Amazon? hahahaha I am so good at having principles, and 2) Money! Spending money. And not on high-brow literature by serious and/or debut writers, either, but on an efficient pleasure delivery system. Here I am wearing clothes with holes in them and not going to the gym. How much sacrifice is too much? Which small indulgences are worth it? If it’s not that expensive and it makes me feel better, is that a good enough reason to press “buy”?

Especially because it’s fall. Season of cold winds and hot cider, of family and holidays and the guilty pleasures we lean on in order to get us through, like binge-watching network TV, or buying two coats at once at Nordstrom Rack, or mainlining a whole bag of candy corn. Maybe in the summertime, bolstered by long, sweet, sunshine-y days, I would like to start The Drums of Autumn as soon as I’m done with Voyager, but I wouldn’t need to. In the fall, though, I feel like Barney offered Duff beer: “Just hook it to my veins!

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Career Advice from Amy Poehler: Practice Ambivalence, Let Go

God bless the genius Amy Poehler. Her advice to all of us — especially the ladies — is not lean in but rather take a deep breath, hang back, cool down. We do not have as much control over whether we succeed in our passions or our careers as we might like, so the only thing we can do is focus on the process.

If you are a reader who is not exactly sure what Sandberg actually does for a living, but knows it doesn’t sound like any fun, books like Lean In can feel less than helpful. If, in other words, you are more interested in a life of creativity than corporate dominance, you may find more to take away from Poehler’s advice to, as she writes, “treat your career like a bad boyfriend.”

What’s refreshing about Yes, Please, and a tiny bit radical, is the way Poehler doesn’t assume career follows passion. In fact, she writes, “your career and your passion don’t always match up.” Still, she counsels, you should work as hard as you can to follow your passion, and even then, “hard work doesn’t always matter.” So you should just let go. “Try to care less,” Poehler writes. “Practice ambivalence. Learn to let go of wanting it.” Because “career is the thing that will not fill you up and will never make you truly whole. Depending on your career is like eating cake for breakfast and wondering why you start crying an hour later.”

I would cry an hour later out of pure happiness and wishing I could have more cake, but that’s just me. Poehler sums up her philosophy this way: “You have to care about your work but not about the result.”

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How Wizards Do Money: Dean Thomas

When he flipped the coin, he knew how it would land.

Dean Thomas didn’t know a lot of things, but he did know that. It was a simple spell.

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