Broke Bookworm


Books cost money. This simple fact is one that I didn’t much consider when I decided to become a book blogger. At the time, I was just coming to the end of being a student, and while anticipating some, was not ready for quite the level of difficulty I would go on to have securing any kind of full time, permanent employment.

I am just starting my fifth job since graduation, in all its minimum wage glory.

When you’re working your way out of your overdraft, buying books gets difficult to justify.

This post is for any of the other broke bookworms out there.

I share your frustration.

I understand the intense feelings of book-related FOMO you experience when you log on to WordPress and see the new releases everyone is losing their shit over. I too have considered adding many a shiny new tome to my already spiralling credit card debt.

(Don’t do it. Trust me.)

I get the panic that nobody will visit your blog anymore because you’re writing about that random book from the library you’d never heard of rather than the latest time travelling romance.

I suggest using financial difficulties as reading opportunities. I, for example, picked up To Kill A Mockingbird at the library a couple weeks ago out of sheer desperation and now when the next person asks me what my favourite book is, I think I have an answer for them. To be totally honest, I would not have read it if it weren’t for a lack of other, newer options.


I also totally get how annoying it is when you go to the library and all they have is sequels. What is with that anyway? Did they just never get the first book or did someone like it so much they decided to keep it forever, fines be damned? Also, why is the YA section all at least 5 years old? And why is so much of it by Andy McNab?

These are all questions the poorly funded library system is ill equipped to answer.

My technique for getting through this trying time so far is to reread everything. Books were not designed to be read once and filed away. They always have more secrets to share, if only you’re willing to take a second, third, fourth look. The book you really liked when you were 15 might even change your life at 23. All those books you spent your better funded years accumulating aren’t just decorations, after all.

Rereading The Princess Diaries #1

The Princess Diaries were the books of my teens. Mia was my fictional best friend. She was a tall, nerdy worrier fighting a continual battle with her hair. When I was fourteen this was exactly like me. Even now I’m 22, me and Mia are still on the same page*.


The Princess Diaries #1 sees us introduced to Mia through the journal her mother has given her to work out her anxieties in. Her anxieties are as follows:

  • She’s flat chested.
  • She’s failing algebra.
  • Her mom has just started dating the algebra teacher who’s class she’s failing.
  • Josh Richter doesn’t even know she exists.

And that’s before she even finds out about the whole princess thing. Then on top of that there are princess lessons with her heinous Grandmere, who’s determined to make her life a total misery under the guise of teaching her how not to cause an international incident. And there’s keeping the whole princess thing a secret from her best friend Lilly Moscovitz, who is a pretty passionate anti-royalist and teenaged genius. Lilly and her brother, Michael are both teenaged geniuses, actually.

This book came out in 2000. I remember my mum picking it up and reading the part where Lilly talks about how she would only have sex with a guy if he was wearing at least two condoms (younger readers: don’t do this!!) and being slightly horrified that her nine year old was reading them (though in my defence they were in the bookshelf at my primary school).

I was probably thirteen or fourteen when these books became the great comfort and influence they have been in my life.

One of the biggest takeaways from this book (and the whole series, actually) is the sense that ultimately, a person can deal with most of what is thrown at them. Mia deals with learning that when she grows up she will have to rule over the country of Genovia. She deals with her terrifying Grandmere. She deals with everyone finding out that she’s a princess, and the bodyguard and press scrutiny that come with that.

Don’t get me wrong – the girl is freaking out plenty – but there is never a moment where something happens that she can’t cope with. Even when she feels like she isn’t, she is.

Nostalgia for the Nineties kids

– Dial-up internet is a big presence in this book. Mia is always having to go online and ask Lilly’s brother Michael to go offline so that she can call her. Remember when you couldn’t have the phone and the internet at the same time?

– Britney Spears comes up a few times.  I’d forgotten what a looming presence she was in my childhood. It makes me think of the days before we had Taylor and realise how much better things are now.

*Yes, that is a book pun thank you.