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Children today are more anxious and depressed than ever before. Which is why they should read Animorphs.

Why Animorphs is Frighteningly Relevant in Contemporary Trumpian America

Not too long ago, I found myself in a room full of Olde Millennials. And I casually made a deep-cut joke that was only understandable to those who’d read the Animorphs series. I think it was something about Yeerks? Or Andalites? Possibly it was just the admission that Cinnabon is the peak of human all human arts and sciences!

The reaction in the room was instantaneous: gasps of recognition, faces lit with excitement. Ohhhhh my god, Animorphs, my childhooooooood! But the joke bounced harmlessly off my husband, who’d never read them. I’m not going to lie: it crushed my soul and I considered divorce.

My partner has never been much of a reader. I’m honestly not sure why, because he is exactly the kind of person you would expect to have been a voracious reader in childhood: a contemplative, dreamy person who imagines deeply and curiously. I seethe with quiet rage when I watch him watch his twentieth hour of YouTube videos exploring Dark Souls lore. How is it possible that no one pressed Garth Nix novels into your hands?

Reading was always a refuge for me. When my life wasn’t what I wanted it to be, I could climb inside someone else’s. As George R. R. Martin says: “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.” I can’t imagine what kind of person I would be if I hadn’t read the books I did.

Today I want to talk about six lives I climbed inside again and again when I was a child: Jake, Rachel, Marco, Tobias, Cassie, and Aximili-Esgarrouth-Isthill. AKA (ah, Katherine Applegate) the Animorphs.

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Early retirement didn't make my depression go away. That's not how life works.

Bitchtastic Book Review: Tanja Hester on Early Retirement, Privilege, and Her Book, Work Optional

Dear readers, we’ve been holding out on you. For there is something beyond the basic financial literacy we strive to teach you here at Bitches Get Riches. Something that comes after you level up as far as you go with your money.

It’s called FIRE, or “financial independence, retire early.” And it’s something a lot of our esteemed colleagues in the money-writin’ biz are fighting tooth and nail to achieve.

One of the beacons of light in the conversation about financial independence and early retirement is Tanja Hester, author of the brand new book Work Optional: Retire Early the Non-Penny-Pinching Way.

Tanja is awesome. Her book is awesome. Her advice is awesome.

She’s like the result of a long, fulfilling, romantic relationship between a timelessly wise Amazon warrior and your favorite cool aunt, the one who both comforted you about the mean kids at school and bought you your first box of condoms. I’d trust her both to carry my body to Valhalla from the field of battle and to give me sound financial advice, is what I’m saying.

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The feminist financial handbook details how to work within the system to beat the game.

Bitchtastic Book Review: The Feminist Financial Handbook by Brynne Conroy

Gentle readers, it’s time we discussed the F-word.

It’s one we use often here on the blog, and it’s probably the most controversial part of Bitches Get Riches. It’s certainly the thing that brings us the most criticism crawling out of the woodwork of the Internet.

I’m talking, of course, about feminism. (What other F-word did you think I fucking meant?)

We firmly believe that personal finance has everything to do with feminism. This is partially because of super fun stuff like the wage gap, financial abuse, the opportunity gap, and other money inequities that have historically left women at an economic disadvantage.

But it’s also because feminism, at its core, is about equality. And one of the surest routes to equality—or at least equity—is by spreading around economic power to those for whom it’s been tantalizingly out of reach.

Enter the hot-off-the-presses book The Feminist Financial Handbook: A Modern Woman’s Guide to a Wealthy Life by Brynne Conroy.

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An unusual amount of effort has been expended tearing this author down.

Bitchtastic Book Review: Hand to Mouth by Linda Tirado

“Pulling yourself up by your bootstraps” originally meant “impossible.” Think of it: you can’t defy gravity just by pulling up on your shoes. It can’t be done.

And yet this phrase has become both a command and an insult wielded by those who insist that anyone can make it in America. “Quit whining and pull yourself up by your bootstraps!” is the refrain from news anchors and radio hosts who seem to think that being poor is a choice and poverty an indication of moral failing.

Enter Hand to Mouth: Living in Bootstrap America by Linda Tirado. I was pretty psyched to read this one, as most of the books on economics and inequality I’ve read recently have been written by academics or historians.

Linda Tirado is neither. She’s a person who has lived the reality of being poor in this country. She’s one of the millions of Americans who lives hand to mouth, told to pull herself up by her bootstraps, who has fought to navigate the maddening labyrinth of government welfare, been mistreated and shat upon in minimum wage jobs, whose life has been stressful and precarious because of a lack of money, and whose health and quality of life has therefore suffered.

This story on poverty in America is from the horse’s mouth.

Tirado answered a question on an online forum about what life was like for the poor and her post went viral. From there, she was offered a book deal. This book is basically an expansion on her original blog post. It is angry, frustrated, passionate, filled with the pent-up rage of years of being downtrodden.

Here’s what I learned.

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Can it be doubted that three-kilogramme brains were once a nearly fatal defect in the evolution of the human race?"

Bitchtastic Book Review: Kurt Vonnegut’s Galapagos and Your Big Brain

This post discusses depression, anxiety, addiction, suicide, and self-harm. I think it does so in a pretty constructive and helpful way? But I wrote it, so here are some large grains of kosher salt.

Boy howdy do I love this gif.

Reading! It’s just like they said it would be! “I can go anywhere. Friends to know. Ways to grow.”

Today I want to share with you my favorite book about mental health. It’s not a memoir or a self-help book. It’s not even nonfiction! No, it’s a little ditty from 1985 about evolution, ghosts, Armageddon, and nubbins. Kurt Vonnegut’s Galapagos is a brilliant satire on the evolutionary advantages and disadvantages of the human brain. And it completely changed the way I think about mental health, including my own depression.

The opening scene follows a woman as she attempts suicide, and it’s narrated by the dispassionate ghost of a Richard Attenborough nature documentarian type. Here’s a brief excerpt, with a few plot things trimmed out:

“Mary taught that the human brain was the most admirable survival device yet produced by evolution. But now her own big brain was urging her to take the polyethylene garment bag from around a red evening dress in her closet, and to wrap it around her head, thus depriving her cells of oxygen.

“Before that, her wonderful brain had entrusted a thief at the airport with a suitcase containing all her toilet articles and clothes which would have been suitable for the hotel.

“Her colossal thinking machine could be so petty, too. It would not let her go downstairs in her combat fatigues on the grounds that everybody, even though there was practically nobody in the hotel, would find her comical in such a costume. Her brain told her: ‘They’ll laugh at you behind your back, and think you’re crazy and pitiful, and your life is over anyway. You’ve lost your husband and your teaching job, and you don’t have any children or anything else to live for, so just put yourself out of your misery with the garment bag. What could be easier? What could be more painless? What could make more sense?’

“Just about every adult human being back then had a brain weighing about three kilogrammes! There was no end to the evil schemes that a thought machine that oversized couldn’t imagine and execute. 

“So I raise this question, although there is nobody around to answer it: Can it be doubted that three-kilogramme brains were once nearly fatal defects in the evolution of the human race?”

Yeah. This novel completely changed the way I thought about the human mind.

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Here's what I learned.

Bitchtastic Book Review: The Financial Diet by Chelsea Fagan

Listen, it’s no secret we’re hardcore BFFs with The Financial Diet. They epitomize all that is good and just about financial blogging for millennial women, and they were one of our early influences in creating BGR. Plus, we have a monthly syndication deal.

What I’m saying is, if you’re looking for an unbiased review of Chelsea Fagan and Lauren Ver Hage’s new book, The Financial Diet: A Total Beginner’s Guide to Getting Good with Money, based on their amazing website… you can fuck right off because this is not that review.

The Financial Diet The Book is a gorgeously designed, delightfully written boost of financial inspiration and motivation. Each chapter is a mix of personal narrative by Chelsea, interviews with experts, and super useful resources like checklists, recipes, and how-to guides.

While the website serves as an exhaustive resource for all financial topics under the sun, the book functions as a primer. It’s a shiny golden key to a mysterious door in the garden wall of all things #adulting and #girlboss.

Here’s what I learned.

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Bitchtastic Book Review: The New Jim Crow, by Michelle Alexander

It’s no secret that I’m interested in economic injustice. That’s why I wax grumpy and bitter about things like gentrification, fast fashion, clean water, and environmentalism. But I have a lot to learn about the kind of systemic inequality that keeps some people down while others float above.

Which is why I read The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander.

Alexander’s premise is simple on its surface: since its inception, the War on Drugs has targeted black and brown people at disproportionately high rates. This has led to a new racial caste system in the United States.

But of course, like anything to do with race in America, it’s far from simple. And Alexander seems to realize how far-fetched some might consider her findings because she spends, like, 20% of every chapter going “I know this sounds crazy but seriously, stick with me. Just look at this data.”

While I wasn’t completely ignorant of the racism inherent in our justice system before reading The New Jim Crow I am now completely overwhelmed with new and damning knowledge. The rules of this new and insidious Jim Crow state affect people socially and economically in disastrous, life-ruining ways, through every stage of the justice process from arrest through trial, punishment, and release.

Here’s some of what I learned.

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I don't know why I've never thought about the Theory of Compounding Interest in this way before, but it's genius.

I Read a Book About Warren Buffett. Here’s What I Learned.

So I read The Snowball by Alice Schroeder. It’s an absurdly long, absurdly detailed book about one of the most famously wealthy people in the world: Warren Buffett. Notorious for his frugal ways and uncanny ability to predict the future of the stock market (no seriously), Buffett’s name has become synonymous with financial success. Which is why I read the book.

I wanted to see if the Wizard of Omaha (I know—not nearly as sexy as the Wolf of Wall Street) had anything to teach me about making lots of money.

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Go to the goddamn library, you fool.

The Library Is a Magical Place and You Should Fucking Go There

Back when I lived in a hippie commune with approximately nine humans and 37 dogs, I would bike to the library on a regular basis to keep myself in reading material without spending all of my meager paycheck on books. As I was leaving one day, I asked one of my roommates if she wanted me to pick up anything at the library for her. Her response: “Is it free?”

Is it free? Is it free?

Let’s pretend for a minute that it’s not completely weird and unbelievable that an adult human being could grow up in the United States without ever having learned the first thing (literally, the very first thing) about the public library. Let’s also set aside the fact that this particular person was an English major. I’ll just state, definitively and for the record:

The library is fucking free, you fool. So why the hell wouldn’t you use it? Especially if you’re trying to save money or you’re already on a tight budget?

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