It's Your Money, Honey! An eBook for 3 measly bucks!

It's Your Money, Honey!

Just in time for graduation, a rollicking, mostly painless guide to personal finance. It's an eBook, it's $2.99 (or less) and it will, I guarantee you, convince whoever reads it to start a retirement account. Or cease considering misguided get-rich-quick schemes like hocking her vital organs for wise and easy solutions.

Ladies, this is my best impression of Suze Orman, as I am not a billionaire and I do not have a crazy person's inflections but I do have a 401(k) and I know how to use it (i.e. you don't, not for a long time). Parents, this is your opportunity to trim the apron strings. Current Girl's Guide owners, the info in here is all updated for the present day (or, wherever the economy and student loan rates were a couple months ago) so it might interest you if you've been following the advice in the book and want some fresh intel.

You can get this It's Your Money, Honey! in just about any format:

xo Melissa

The Girl's Guide Makes the Ideal Holiday Gift

Take it from Rosalind Wiseman, author of Queen Bees and Wannabes, the book that inspired the movie Mean Girls:

"It's funny, irreverent, wise, thorough, and empowering. Women of any age will find this book incredibly helpful. It's like having a guru girlfriend who won't make you feel dumb for asking the questions you don't want to admit you don't know...I laughed out loud. And couldn't agree more."

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Reviving the Lit Fest Where Ray Met Tess

L to R: Melissa Kirsch, Michael Narducci, April Wilder, student moderator Josh Duke

"It's what occupies the space of a literary life outside of New York," wrote a wistful Richard Ford in the New Yorker in 1998, remembering neither Yaddo nor Shakespeare & Co., but the 1977 Southern Methodist University Literary Festival in Dallas. This was the glittering annual colloquium where Ford first met Raymond Carver—and where Carver first met his second wife, Tess Gallagher—where Cheever, Styron and Bellow headlined readings and their liquor-soaked afterparties. Alas, due to lack of funds and other bureaucratic hurdles, the Fest has lain dormant for over a decade.

Read the rest of the story at Galleycat.

Other Things Lost In the Belly of the Plane

Is this the cargo hold? Like where the luggage goes after it's stickered at the ineptly-named self-check-in? Why belly? Is the plane's belly, as it sounds like, some strange peristaltic cavity where aviation bile and breaks down the fibers of moldering heaps of Bill Blass silk shantung suits with jaunty self-bows at the waist? Every time Palin mentions the belly of the plane, I get grossed out and confused.

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This karaoke bar called Sing Sing was actually like a prison.

Everyone sat around the small bar and didn't look at each other. They sang strange, obscure songs in warbly, coked-up voices and no one performed for anyone else. No one smiled or laughed or hit a wrong note to be funny. It was like prison in that everyone seemed to know each other but not by choice. The No Exit Karaoke Bar. A begrudging acknowledgment that there were other people there but they would get no attention, this was a night to be endured, like every night to be endured. Twenty people in a karaoke bar, the same people every single night they had probably sung every song in that catalog. There was no joy. When our number, Total Eclipse of the Heart, finally came up, after about one billion years of solitude in a crowded bar, Derick and I got the two mikes and belted. We caterwauled. There were two extra verses that don't exist in the real song. It was like "Turn around, bright eyes, Every now and then there's an adorable little boy and now he's grown up to be a man. Turn around...." What? We sang it anyway. We went for drama. As much as we could in a room full of stoics. I'd forgotten Derick is a real rock and roll singer, rock and roll star, so he could actually harmonize but I was wailing so hoarsely that his sophisticated stylings were mostly lost. The crowd didn't love us. The crowd was possibly secretly handcuffed to its stools with its jaws wired shut.

Earlier, we ate hamburgers at the Sunburnt Pig that had beets, eggs, pineapple and bacon on them. That's where we first heard the Bonnie Tyler classic on the sound system and decided it was important that we go sing (sing) karaoke. They also played "Oh Sherrie" by Steve Perry which damn I still love, that's a love song, it's so damn earnest I love it . I had a big crush on SP in that video, singing to Sherrie on the steps of like a courthouse (?), so deeply yearning and passionate and then flinging himself around a stairwell, squinting a lot with pain, the exquisite pain of ardor and Sherry and the world too much with him. I also looked a little like Steve Perry when I was a child so I think there was something there--long stringy black hair, middle part...I felt like we were kind of meant for each other. I think I need to find that video.