What Money Can’t Buy

It seems that many of today’s lifestyle tips concern a newly rediscovered thrift; a quick glance at the newsstand confirms this.  10 Ways to Save on Household Products bleats one magazine’s subhead. Five Local Vacation Hotspots! blasts the travel section.  (Or my favourite from a few months ago: an article quoted Bill Clinton that he now helps the environment by turning off the tap while brushing his teeth.  Thanks, Mr. President.) 

I gloat that when it comes to leisure pastimes since I’ve always been a pennysaver – or as my friends say, a damn cheapskate.  When I read a newly published novel, 99.9% of the time I’ve borrowed it from the library and I can count on one hand the number of times I shelled out money instead of borrowing for free.  My rule – no, law – was never to pay full price for a new book unless it was a gift and, since I shopped at used bookstores anyway, I never spent more than $10 a book.  Mass market paperbacks?  Not a penny above five bucks.  Ever. 

Continue reading

Best of 2008, Reviewer’s Choice (Part One)

Our annual staff poll for best romance is now in its eighth year, and it’s a tradition we’re continuing at a slightly different location: Our news and commentary blog.

Sadist that I am, I always enjoy watching my colleagues squirm as they narrow their favorites down to one. Over the years, we’ve had times of consensus and times when our choices were so disparate that we could hardly pick a winner. This is one of those “widespread choices” years; only two books received more than one vote, though as usual many staffers’ top picks were runners-up for others. The good news is that with so many books to choose from, there’s something (or several somethings) for everyone. To keep things suspenseful (since I enjoy torturing readers as well), this column will appear in two parts, this week and next week. First we’ll focus on contemporary romances. Eight of our reviewers picked them this year, and six of them will share their thoughts in this first entry.
Continue reading