You’ve done it before: spent money on something you didn’t need, didn’t want, and later regretted. Maybe you’ve looked at your wallet on Friday afternoon and thought, “Did I really spend thirty dollars this week on tall triple mocha breve lattes with an extra shot of almond flavoring and multi-colored sprinkles?”
In the present austerity economy, fifteen dollars is a lot of money. Here at Atticus Books, we believe in getting the most bang for your buck. That’s why we’ve created a handy cheat sheet of fifteen ways you routinely blow fifteen dollars—and our recommendations for a more satisfying use of your time and money.
You Routinely Blow Fifteen Dollars On….
- Snooki’s A Shore Thing
- Fifteen bars of soap on a rope from the Dollar Store
- Four McRib sandwiches
- Five Powerball lottery tickets
- Three happy hour priced rum and Cokes that aren’t nearly as good as a Tom Collins.
- One ticket to the movie “Twilight: Breaking Dawn, Part 1”
- Three Starbucks lattes
- Fifteen different versions of “The House of the Rising Sun” on iTunes
- A Netflix subscription you don’t need because now you’ve got Hulu
- Two pounds of warmed over, pre-made food from the hot bar at Whole Foods
- Dry cleaning a sweater you could have hand washed at home
- Paying a thirteen-year-old for two and a half hours of mediocre childcare when you could have let Dora the Explorer do all the work for free
- Forever Lazy®
- Writing and mailing 34 letters via USPS
- Justin Bieber’s Christmas album “Under the Mistletoe”
…When You Could Spend Your Fifteen Dollars Wisely
1. Send the Midwest Some Lovin’
Pre-order Matt Mullins Three Ways of the Saw, a haunting debut collection of short stories that Stuart Dybek (The Coast of Chicago) describes as “brooding, raw, rustbelt, [and] jazzy.” Peter Markus (We Make Mud) adds, “This book is lit from within, the pages dunked in the holy water of booze and kerosene.” Gritty, tough, and tender–what reading could better prepare you for the holiday season ahead?
2. Unite History Buffs and Film Aficionados
German-American writer Jürgen Fauth’s debut novel KINO shifts between Germany during the Weimar Republic and the United States post-911 to tell the story of a famous film director swept into the Nazi Propaganda machine and his granddaughter’s efforts to clear his name. Frederick Barthelme (Tracer and Elroy Nights) calls KINO a “fast, complex exhilarating roadster ride through history and time.”
3. Reclaim Your Rightful Heritage
When John Jacobs, a mild-mannered suburban office worker, takes a DNA test and discovers that he is part-Inuit, he so embraces his new identity that he declares it his Inupiat tribal right to set forth on a whale hunt. Described by the Los Angeles Times as “wry, dry, pure hilarity all around,” John Minichillo’s The Snow Whale is a postmodern satire and twist on Melville’s classic that re-examines identity, race, and our connection to nature, all while poking fun at our contentment with heated socks in an era defined by global warming.
4. Fake Your Death
A ravishing young British woman’s falsely reported death gives her the opportunity to begin a new life. Before Lenore can disappear for good, however, she longs to know the reaction of her two-timing husband and his aristocratic family. To find out, she enlists Richard—an outsider in the money-and-booze sodden landscape of Nantucket high society—to be her eyes and ears in the secretive world of money and duplicity. The New York Journal of Books calls JM Tohline’s The Great Lenore “beautiful in the same way that J. D. Salinger’s books are beautiful. Lyrical without being pretentious or self-absorbed, melodic without being baroque.”
Karma Points: Pay It Forward and Win a $200 Gift Card to the Independent Bookstore of Your Choice
Enter to win a drawing for a $200 gift card to your favorite indie bookstore, a signed copy of The Great Lenore, curated wall art, and more! All you need to do is tell your family, friends, and enemies how much you loved The Great Lenore–and earn multiple entries for each person you tell! Details are here.
5. Ride the Rails
They are the strangers we encounter every day: a soldier returned from war, a traveling salesman, a computer geek, a Holocaust survivor, a couple in love, a poet, a hit man. On a train from Baltimore to Chicago, our lives intersect with theirs, altering the path ahead and casting past experiences and choices in new light. Eric D. Goodman’s Tracks is “a most cunningly crafted tale” (Madison Smartt Bell, All Souls’ Rising) by “an exciting talent” (Thomas Steinbeck, Down to a Soundless Sea).
6. Drop out of Society. Become a Hermit.
When laid-off office drone and daydreamer Finch responds to what he thinks is innocuous spam, he’s unexpectedly swept into the world of billionaire Mr. Crane, who offers him the job of a lifetime—to live and work as a decorative hermit in a cave on Crane’s estate. Darkly comic and refreshingly playful, The Bee-Loud Glade delves deep into the nature of work, relationships, society and what happens in their absence, begging the question: Can we ever truly escape? Tom McCarthy (Remainder and C) calls The Bee-Loud Glade “an allegorical novel that seems eerily contemporary. Thoreau meets Ballard, meets Huysmans and many more.”
7. Put Christ Back in Christmas
When Roxy is left with an abandoned newborn after a shootout at the Motel de Love No. 3, there’s no way for her to know that the boy she names Sam just might be her savior in more ways than one. But as Sam and his hippie cousin John soon learn, challenging the status quo in a small town is no way to get popular, whether you’re in Israel or North Dakota. Take a quirky, dirt-kicking ride through the 1980s Badlands in Tommy Zurhellen’s debut Nazareth, North Dakota, a splendidly funny and modern take on the story of the young messiah that Ron Carlson (Five Skies and The Signal) calls “a large-hearted book about the everpresent fundamental human verities written with empathy, force, and verve.”
8. Forgo Health Insurance
Meet Cyrus “Duffy” Duffleman, an adjunct professor who can barely afford his two-room apartment. Forget about an unfinished novel: he’d be thrilled with health insurance. Still, he gamely shuffles to four urban universities each day to teach, and works a security guard graveyard shift once a week. Cobbled together, he can almost make a living. Part A Confederacy of Dunces (John Kennedy Toole) and part Straight Man (Richard Russo), Alex Kudera introduces a beloved, frazzled, wholly magnetic character in his 2011 IPPY Gold Medal Award for Best Fiction, Fight For Your Long Day.
9. Add Fruit to Your Diet
Denton Pike is stuck: divorced, his translation work floundering, trapped inside the status quo of his life. The reappearance of an old friend sets into motion a series of watershed events and conflicting forces that will change Denton’s life forever. With an economy of language reminiscent of Raymond Carver, Joseph Zeppetello’s Daring to Eat a Peach illuminates our daily struggles to interpret history and to translate the language of our relationships.
10. Take a Trip
Charles Lime eats, breathes, and sleeps the romantic idea of leaving Small Town, USA. In reality, Charles is a dazed and bemused misfit bewitched by a girl and bewildered by a string of misfortunes. Gradually, Charles creates a parallel life filled with overseas travel, adventure and Serbian pop music—except it exists solely within in his imagination. Randall DeVallance’s The Absent Traveler “simply exudes talent from its pages” (Deb Fowler, National Book Critics Circle member).