Top Ten Tuesday: My favorite websites that aren’t about books

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Image via The Broke and the Bookish

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, takes a break from books to discuss our favorite websites that have nothing to do with literature. We all spend our lives online nowadays, so it was difficult for me to limit this list to only ten sites when there are so many great sources for education and entertainment.

Below are some of my favorite websites that I visit regularly, with a short blurb of what makes them so awesome!

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1. Recipes: Pinterest

Ah, Pinterest. The go-to site for virtual hoarders everywhere. While I do have an account to publicize my blog, I primarily use it to store recipes that I’m interested in making. My Nom Noms board has a bunch of slow cooker ideas and my obsession with s’mores resulted in a separate board just for Desserts. As much as I love paper books, I don’t need them for cooking ever again!

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2. Killing time: BuzzFeed’s YouTube channel

BuzzFeed has dominated the artform of the listicle, but it’s their video team that’s really rocking it online. Whether it’s learning about other cultures or just watching people squeal over cute animals, this channel starts the vast majority of my YouTube black hole trips. And let’s face it, it’s all Eugene’s fault!

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3. Budgeting: You Need a Budget

On Black Friday of 2013, my life changed forever when I purchased You Need a Budget (YNAB). In less than three years since I began monitoring where all my money was going, I’ve managed to pay off all my student loans, buy and pay off my new Mazda3, save an emergency fund, and save for my two-week trip to Europe! YNAB has recently changed its business model to a subscription service, but I can’t think of a better way to spend $50 a year. I’m not paid by YNAB whatsoever, but I’m just so passionate about it, I recommend it constantly!

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4. Money: Financial Samurai

After you’ve become a YNAB pro and learned the basics of personal finance, check out the Financial Samurai to take your money skills to the next level. Blogger Sam abandoned Wall St. to retire early and now makes his living teaching people about entrepreneurship and wealth management. He’s a San Francisco resident with tons of knowledge of the tech industry, so I also appreciate his insight about Bay Area real estate and startup investing.

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5. Career: I Will Teach You to be Rich

Ramit Sethi, founder of I Will Teach You to be Rich, became famous in the personal finance industry for his book of the same name, which focused more on big money wins than cutting lattes. His “live rich” mantra has now expanded into an excellent platform for career advice, from job interviewing to building an online business. Much like Financial Samurai, Ramit has a no-BS, tough love personality that motivates his followers to reach their true potential.

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6. Long Form: Wait But Why

In a world where bite-size news prevails, Wait But Why is a breath of fresh air. Blogger Tim Urban doesn’t keep a regular posting schedule, but it’s worth waiting weeks or even months, because he delivers amazing long form articles about artificial intelligence, social behavior, and more. His profile on Elon Musk and TED Talk on procrastination have catapulted him into blogging stardom, but it’s his stick-figure illustrations that make him memorable.

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7. Entertainment: The Oatmeal

Matthew Inman is quite possibly the Internet’s coolest dude: his comics are crazy, colorful fun with a kickass sense of humor. He certainly isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, since he doesn’t shy away from speaking about sexism, religion, and why cats are better than babies. But he’s also a huge geek who uses his success to do amazing things, like fund a Nikola Tesla museum and protect indoor kitties that go missing. Like many fans, I discovered his work through his comics about grammar, so it also goes without saying that he’s saving the world, one semicolon at a time!

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8. Women’s Rights: Jezebel

People who are close to me know that I’m a loud and proud feminist, so it’s no surprise that my favorite place to get my news is Jezebel. This Gawker Media online publication covers politics, celebrities, and culture with an unapologetic feminist POV, despite the trolling that spills over from the mouth-breaking MRAs (men’s rights activists) on other Gawker sites. And while Jezebel’s writers are talented, I come for the commenters. It’s like the Jezebel community has pulled together the wittiest women around the world, and I only wish we could all have a meetup in real life. Bay Area Jezzies, hit me up!

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9. Relationships: Dr. Nerdlove

How do you save geeks from turning into mouth-breathing MRAs, the kind of parasites that infest sites like Reddit and 4chan? You educate them on how to navigate social situations in regards to friendship and dating. Harris O’Malley, aka Dr. Nerdlove, cross-posts his advice column to Kotaku, Gawker Media’s site for gaming and his target audience. Men who are sexually unsuccessful with women grow to hate them, so Dr. Nerdlove is serving feminists everywhere by fighting misogyny at its source.

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10. Advice Column: Dear Coquette

I guess that you could say that I’m cheating with this category, since Dr. Nerdlove also has an advice column, but Dear Coquette’s entire claim to fame is answering the internet’s questions–with unparalleled bite. She tackles the tough stuff like suicide, drug use, and existential crises with empathy, but doesn’t coddle those with relationship or attitude problems. Browse through her best-of section and start worshipping this anonymous digital therapist.

Let me know if you love these websites as well, and feel free to give shout-outs to others that didn’t make my list!

Why Aren’t More People Reading?

This month has been a flurry of celebrations–lots of birthdays (including my own!), a surprise engagement between two close friends of mine, and my company’s move into our new office in San Francisco. Last night was also the mid-season finale of Outlander, my latest TV obsession, so all in all, September has been a blast!

Now that fall is officially here, I’m taking some time catching up on literary news. Earlier this month, my favorite feminist blog Jezebel discussed a recent Facebook poll on the books that have stayed with us.

The results found that the most influential books are predominantly ones that people read during their childhood or teenage years, which begs the question: does anyone actually read past high school?

I’m not saying that books like “Harry Potter” and “A Wrinkle in Time” aren’t excellent or can’t be influential. Many of these novels mean so much precisely because we read them during our most formative years.

But honestly, most of the books listed in these Facebook responses have film or television adaptations, so I bet a good chunk of folks only read the books after watching the stories on-screen.

Jezebel says it like it is: most people just don’t read much once they reach adulthood. Whether they’re too busy or too lazy, it’s a really sad fact. They cite a Pew report, which found that 23% of people did not read a single book in 2013.

The Pew results also demonstrated that reading increases as education and income increases. It’s not that going to college and making more money gets you to read more. Quite the opposite, in fact. I have an advanced degree and make a good living because I value reading.

Unless you’re a professional gamer or TV critic, nobody becomes successful glued to a screen. Another study showed that over 20% of Americans earning less than $40,000 annually watch over five hours of TV a day. On the other hand, almost half of those earning over $150,000 watch less than one hour a day. I can guarantee you that wealthy Americans are spending more time doing productive activities, and that includes reading.

As for me, I read about 20 books every year and watch probably an hour of TV a day, sometimes more, most often less. I also take advantage of my long commute, preferring to listen to podcasts and audiobooks than playing games on my iPhone.

I truly believe that people who do not make reading a priority in their lives are missing out on opportunities to reach their true potential and achieve great levels of success. Reading (especially fiction) stimulates our minds, challenges our preconceived notions, and broadens our horizons. It makes us more knowledgeable about the world and more empathetic to others. It encourages critical thinking and boosts intelligence. All around, it makes us better people.

Odds are, if you’re reading my book blog, you already love reading, but if you know someone who hasn’t read a single book in quite some time, then share this article. I hope that I can inspire more people to put down the remote and pick up a book…not just for their sakes, but for the world’s.