"Check books out of the library instead of buying them. . . . New releases of hard-cover novels cost $25 and more these days. If you buy just two a month, that’s $600 a year." - From "Ten Sure Ways to Trim Your Budget," in the News.
Ian Frazier has an hysterical piece in the New Yorker riffing on that tip with quotations from a bunch of imaginary people.
A couple of my favorite bits:
Mitch Gelman, West Hempstead, New York: "As an accountant, the first thing I tell my clients is 'Get a library card!' Otherwise, you’re too subject to temptation, and liable to find yourself in over your head. Few people know that the leading cause of personal bankruptcy in the United States is the ‘Clan of the Cave Bear’ novels. You overspend on one, and, just when you begin to dig yourself out, the next installment comes along. Public libraries began during the Depression as a government measure against this very problem. They’'e there for our protection, so we should use them." [Full disclosure: I know Jean Auel, who wrote Clan of the Cave Bear. I have been to one of her houses. It had both a room with a pool in it and a room with pool tables in it. What most impressed me were the piles of brand new hardcovers.]
Melissa S., Manhattan: "Eventually, I was able to cut back on novels to one a month, then half a novel, then just a few pages. As of this week, I have not looked at a novel (except from the library) for eighteen months, knock wood. For the first time, I'm learning what it is to live within a budget. At the end of the month, I’m always surprised to find a positive balance in my checking account—it’s nice. Little by little, I've reacquainted myself with my TV. There have been some innovations in the formats of reality shows that I had known nothing about. Every morning now I make it a point to get dressed and go outside. I'm paying more attention to my hair. If I hadn't happened to pick up that copy of the News that day, I don’t know where I’d be."
This guy is extremely funny. The following has nothing to do with books, but every parent will understand:
Household Principles for Children from the Old Testament
Lamentations of the Father.
1997 Ian Frazier and The Atlantic Monthly
Laws of Forbidden Places
Of the beasts of the field, and of the fishes of the sea, and of all foods that are acceptable in my sight you may eat, but not in the living room. Of the hoofed animals, broiled or ground into burgers, you may eat, but not in the living room. Of the cloven-hoofed animal, plain or with cheese, you may eat, but not in the living room. Of the cereal grains, of the corn and of the wheat and of the oats, and of all the cereals that are of bright color and unknown provenance you may eat, but not in the living room. Of quiescently frozen dessert and of all frozen after-meal treats you may eat, but absolutely not in the living room.
Of the juices and other beverages, yes, even of those in sippy-cups, you may drink, but not in the living room, neither may you carry such therein. Indeed, when you reach the place where the living room carpet begins, of any food or beverage there you may not eat, neither may you drink. But if you are sick, and are lying down and watching something, then may you eat in the living room.