Paris Letters by Janice MacLeod Review

I’m officially branching out into the “privileged white woman self help daydream” genre. There’s probably a shorter name for that, but you know exactly what I’m talking about.

I picked this book up because someone had abandoned it (and 19 others) during move in month at my apartment building. I’ll start any book. Whether or not I finish them is a different story.

Cover of Paris Letters by Janice MacLeod

I did finish Paris Letters. I’m going to give it some shit here, but it was honestly cute. It was well-written and lovely. I was wholeheartedly invested when I thought this was fiction. Janice is likeable. The idea of quitting your corporate job and mysteriously making a living while sleeping with a hot butcher is likeable. I’m down with escapism. I wanted it to happen. Please read this book through that lens.

About three chapters in I realized that this was a memoir. I was supposed to be reading this under the guise of “oh, I can do that with my life.” She even gives her money-saving tips at the end.

So can I? Can I Paris Letters my life up?

Janice’s Goals (AKA The Plot)
– Save/make $100 a day to support herself and quit her job. Tasks are enumerated in The List in the back of the book.
– Quit said job when she hits $30k and move to Europe.
– Fall in love and be utterly content, freed from her corporate hell.

She ends up saving $60k remarkably easy, which is the only number about her finances that is ever given. This book pushes the vagueness pretty hard in attempts to be more relatable. I was bummed about that. I love a girl that hustles, and this book minimizes how much work changing her life like this would have taken.

Can I live Janice’s Life?
There are 100 money tips in the back of the book. The person that previously owned this book dog eared the page for reference. Maybe they had to get rid of the book because they were moving to Europe? I hope they’re doing well.

70+ of the tips are to stop buying things and to sell what you don’t need. I’m crushing this. I’m not making a net gain of $100 a day from it. Lame.

Most of the other tips are basic financial literacy things. She paid off her credit card debt. She started dabbling in the stock market. I honestly think the reason she couldn’t immediately quit her job is because she had always lived a life that didn’t require having a handle on her finances. That’s not a cute love story, though.

There are a few things that I found useful. While she was planning her escape, she took 20 minutes a day to clean up her apartment. I’ve started doing 10 minutes a day. Not because I am actually planning to run off to Europe and find a hot butcher. My apartment just has too many things for the amount of space it is and needs some love after I spent five months working full time and taking classes.

She also journals, which I agree is immensely helpful in sorting out the thoughts in your head.

And then there are two things that are uncomfortable goals for me, but I’m going to make them. She puts a donate button up on her blog and sells some art. I’ll accept those two challenges. (There’s a Ko-Fi link in the sidebar if you’d like me to move to Paris.)

After I learn to properly paint and open an Etsy shop, I will come back and point out that it will take me over a decade to save the money that she did to move. This isn’t looking like a great plan.

Instead of faulting Janice for my inability to emulate her, I am going to point out that she has read Eat, Pray, Love and The Secret. Maybe my problem is that I just haven’t read enough of the privileged white woman self help books?

Which one should I try next? How many until I’m properly enlightened and free? Will the number of books that I’ve read directly correlate to how many years it takes for my Bachelor’s degree to start paying off? Stay tuned.

 

September 2017

This post marks twelve months of blogging! That seems wrong, but my wordpress history doesn’t lie. I started this blog to force myself to write ideas out, even if they were just lists (like this one!) of things that I liked the past month. It’s been a good exercise. I’ve branched my posts out to include pop culture commentary and weird skincare reviews. I’ve also started keeping a personal journal for the first time in close to a decade.

10/10 Do recommend blogging. Let’s see what the next year brings.

Books

Cover of Uprooted by Naomi Novik.
Uprooted by Naomi Novik
I’m not usually here for love stories between an old, emotionally unavailable man and a young woman BUT apparently I AM if you throw in magic and evil woods.
Take notes if you’re tying to get me to ignore my feminism for a little bit, I guess.

Cover of Volume 5 of Ms. Marvel.
Ms. Marvel by G. Willow Wilson, Takeshi Miyazawa, Adrian Alphona, and Nico Leon
Volume 5 and going strong! I’m also not one for weddings, but there’s a good one in here.

Cover of Volume 2 of Bitch Planet.
Bitch Planet by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro
Before volume two, my usual summary of Bitch Planet is “what you wanted Orange is the New Black to be, but in space”. This comic so much more than that.

Podcasts

Unwritten and Left Behind by Ear Hustle
Ear Hustle is still killing it. Unwritten tackles rules regarding race in prison. Left Behind discusses how people, particularly those who did not commit a violent crime, deal with life sentences.

Coal Hogs Work Safe (Episode 275) by 99% Invisible
I also love stickers. Maybe I’d make a great coal miner? We’ll never know.

Sawbones by Sydnee and Justin McElroy
Weird old-timey medical stories! Perfect for October!
I’m not listing specific episodes because I’ve listened to about twenty this month. They’re all equally good. I wonder how many episodes I’ll have to listen to before they cover something I haven’t hit in my weird, late night googling.

Lorde – Sober by Song Exploder
I need a miniseries that covers all of Melodrama. It’s such a good album and she put so much thought into it. This Song Exploder episode is perfect.

July 2017

Picture of my mom and I in front of the White House. I'm wearing the purple Bitch Planet leggings and they are awesome.
I took my mom to DC and absolutely wore my Bitch Planet leggings to the White House. It’s the little things.

Books

Squirrel Girl by Ryan North, Erica Henderson, and Rico Renzi
I’m up to volume 5. Everything about Squirrel Girl is perfect. KICK BUTTS EAT NUTS.

The Kingdom of Gods by NK Jemisin
Usually trickster characters don’t do it for me, but I had so many Sieh feels. This is the last of the Inheritance trilogy, so start with The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms.

Podcasts

Wolf 359 is in its final season. Come for the comedic space life vignettes, stay for the huge government conspiracies. I’m sad to see it ending.

59. One To Another by The Allusionist
Helen Zaltzman interviews the man translating The Memory Palace stories into a Portuguese book. I also love The Memory Palace, but I don’t do anything productive with that love. Instead, sometimes I cry a little at work.

Episode 70: The Procedure by Criminal
CHURCHES MADE A NETWORK TO HELP WOMEN GET ABORTIONS WHEN ABORTION WAS ILLEGAL. Uh, spoiler?

265- The Pool and the Stream by 99% Invisible
Skateboarding history. Suburban pool history. Don’t listen to this on a sweaty train, you’ll get really jealous.

266- Repackaging the Pill by 99% Invisible
I need Roman Mars to give me the design history of everything remotely feminist.

Games

Dream Daddy loading screen. It's got a montage of snapshots of the different dads, along with a rotating dad tip. This one reads "Dad Tip #10: If you're parking uphill, be sure to turn your tires toward the street."
Dream Daddy

I’ve been playing this one a little bit. You’re a dad that goes on dates with other dads. You’re nice to your daughter and make dad puns. There are cryptids and dogs!

Music

KESHA IS BACK.
I’m prepared to stockpile glitter the second she announces a tour.

The Long Winters
I’ve been listening to these guys on repeat, too. They have a sad song about astronauts.

June 2017

We’re late this month! I decided to be very patriotic and go to DC for July 4th. It was as busy as you’d expect.

Books

Hundred Thousand Kingdoms and The Broken Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin
I pulled out of my bad novel slump! This is the first two installments of a trilogy. The first one starts a little rough, but it was her first book. She figures it out.
Mixed race girl saves the world! (Kind of). Fantasy! Magic! Demons! Falling in love with maybe evil incarnate. Yeah, I’m here for it.

Enigma by Peter Milligan and Duncan Fegredo
I normally cannot deal with the 80s/90s dirty gritty edgy comics because I get really bored when people are irredeemably terrible and I’m supposed to want to read about them. This is my exception. It opens with this:
DBrAC8XXUAI4U4M
Recommended for fans of S-Town.

Skim by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki
I’m so happy that coming of age stories about angry goth girls exist now.

Podcasts

Just Girls: The Hidden World of Patti Smith and Judy Linn by The Kitchen Sisters
Really, really listen-able despite the fact that I know almost nothing about Patti Smith.

05 Alessandra: Lips by Mortified
I put off listening to Mortified for a really long time because I cannot. do. secondhand. embarrassment. They somehow keep the secondhand embarrassment to a minimum despite being exclusively embarrassing stories. Girl just wants a boyfriend in this one.

06 Adam: Rhyme or Reason by Mortified
Poetry camp > English teachers.

33 Erin: My Dad Read My Diary! by Mortified
Her dad read her diary, so she gave him something worth reading.

36 Tyler & Janelle: Love, America Online Style by Mortified
Remember saving AIM conversations to read back later? Remember printing out AIM conversations with your crush and then collecting them in a binder to give to them, and then reading them on stage together years later?

41 Jackie: How Not To Be Grateful by Mortified
Extreme TMI scrapbooking.

45 Emma: The Girl Who Cried Y2K by Mortified
I now need a series that explores weird adult doomsday bunker men and their reactions to Y2K. I’m calling Emma if I ever need to survive nuclear war, she was on top of stuff.

58 Forbidden Crushes Part 3: My Secret Gay Crush by Mortified
I’m pretty sure I read this story in at least 8 Xangas growing up. Happy Pride!

Moon Graffiti by The Truth
Short audio fiction exploring what may have happened if Apollo 11 hadn’t made it back home.

Eat Cake by The Truth
A love story that worked for me despite being really creepy if it were real life! Weird.