Free (or nearly free) books? Yes, please!

Sorry I haven’t written in a while. I’ve experienced something of a blog writer’s writer’s block. To make up for my absence here is a short article on where to find books for free (or nearly free). It’s astonishingly easy and I’ve even won some free books, myself!

So I was going to do the whole save the best for last thing but I wanted to make sure you all read about BookCrossing. This was an unfamiliar site for me when I first started researching this blogpost but basically the coolest thing ever and perfect for fans of Geocaching. A bit deal was made the other week when Emma Watson hid books on the NYC Subway. This is a literary trend. Check out and support: Our Shared Shelf. Follow @emmawatson and @oursharedself.

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Shylock Is My Name & Some New Words


This morning I finished reading Howard Jacobson’s new novel, a modern-day retelling of The Merchant of Venice: Shylock Is My Name. Deceptively short, 275 pages, Shylock Is My Name is a difficult read, especially if you’ve never read or seen Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, which I haven’t. I’m acquainted with Jacobson. As part of a personal challenge to read the shortlist for the 2014 Man Booker Prize, I read J. But in all honesty, I found Shylock Is My Name much harder to wrap my head around. To be fair to myself, I’ve read far more dystopian novels than I have Shakespeare or Shakespearean tales retold, unless you count 10 Things I Hate About You, She’s The Man or Clueless, of course. I’m only being honest!! I’m sure many of you are secure enough in your intellect to admit that it’s fun to have fun with Shakespeare. The bulk of Shylock Is My Name is a series of conjectural, introspective tete-a-tetes: What does it mean to be Jewish for Jews? How do Gentiles define Jewishness? Main characters (this is reductive) Shylock and Strulovitch tease out the roots of anti-Seminitism. Its a talky book rooted in conjecture, undermined by a 21st Century plot twist. Read More

Cheap Theatre – Holiday Edition!!

Covering the Holiday Season (Now – Dec. 31st) in DC is a daunting task! In my last post, I focused on regular discounts given by the professional theaters in the DC area. From now on, I’ll focus on specific shows, discounted performances and their associated FREE events: post-show/pre-show talks, happy hours, etc. Shout-out here to Mosaic Theater Company of DC! They are offering FREE post-show discussions open to anyone, even if you didn’t attend the show. I’d also like to highlight Pointless Theatre Company, offering discounts to the unemployed!

As many of you have noted, my list is a full list but not comprehensive. For this list I’ve only included theaters with productions in late November and December. If I’ve missed your favorite theatre or production – please chime in in the Comments Section of this post.

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Some pretty badass celebrity program bios…

I really had a stupendous weekend. I usually try to avoid seeing two plays in one weekend but I have a lot of downtime this week so I decided to push my luck. Saturday night I attended the Washington National Opera’s new offering, Donizetti’s The Daughter of the Regiment at The Kennedy Center. And on Sunday, my husband and I headed to Studio Theatre to see their Holiday offering, Young Jean Lee’s Straight White Men. In a happy coincidence I’ve discovered that unwittingly I’d chosen to see two shows, written 150 years apart, that explore issues of race and gender. The past week has certainly been proof positive of what I fear…perhaps the world has not changed so much after all. BUT lets stay positive here. Both shows also featured some pretty super celebrity cameos.



Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg made a cameo on the premier night of The Daughter of the Regiment as the Duchess of Krakenthorp, a role traditionally allotted to a celebrity guest. As you will see in her program bio, she has made an appearance as a supernumerary in three other WNO productions. As a woman and liberal individual last week was difficult and disheartening but Justice Ginsberg’s presence was nothing short of inspiring.


Straight White Men was a great play but what really amped me up was Michael Winters aka TAYLOR DOSEY from Gilmore Girls. Still. So. Happy.

Reviews are forthcoming….

Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi, Reviewed…and a little bit about the Presidential Election


The theme today is “Girl Power!” Now that I’ve written that down it seems a bit stupid but I’m gonna go with it. This book is about young women who suffer. Displaced at a young age, children play a central role in their character development. Fairytales, magical realism and mysticism surround and guide our heroines. Notably, their stories do not end when the book ends. Our heroines are so well-crafted, so damn real and relatable, so filled with purpose, that they will live on to fight another day. That’s my favorite part about the ladies of Boy, Snow, Bird.

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10 Books to Read if You’re Stuck in the Wrong Century

My love of historical fiction, histories and memoir is deep and abiding. Sometimes, I feel like I am stuck in the wrong century. Want to lose yourself in another time and place? Well you’re not alone. Here are 10 books ensured to transport you to another place and time. I warn you, my favorite time and place right now is England in the 19th & 20th century. At the bottom of this article is a further list, which you might find more expansive (although by now means complete)…

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