Product Review

I first wrote about Out of Print two years ago, after my brother bought me a shirt as a belated Christmas present. I loved my To Kill a Mockingbird shirt so much I’ve now bought several other items from Out of Print and thought I should write an update.

Little Women bag

Little Women bag

Out of Print has continued to be one of my favorite places to get cute shirts for the weekend. In addition to my To Kill a Mockingbird shirt I now also have this Catch 22 shirt, this Wizard of Oz shirt, this Pride and Prejudice shirt, and this adorable Little Women bag. Their shirts are super soft and have held up fine with my constant wearing and washing. I’ve been using the small bag to hold all the items I transfer from my larger work bag to my purse on the weekends, and it works great for when I want to run errands on my lunch break without bringing my large bag.

All the things I mentioned in my original review still stand–their mission is great, their products are solid, and shipping times are fast. I only buy when there is a sale (yay for budges), but if you sign up for their newsletter they have semi-regular sales and promotions. They also rotate designs fairly often, which I like; I just wish they would offer more shirts with the wide scoop or deep v neckline because I prefer those styles.

Out of Print shirts and accessories make great gifts (we got my sister-in-law a gift card for graduation), and have been a great conversation starter when I’m out and about. I’ve continued to have great experiences with this company, and highly recommend them.


**The opinions expressed in this post are entirely my own. I was not contacted by Out Of Print Clothing or solicited in any way. This post was written because I had a good experience with a company and I wanted to share it with my readers.**

Way back in November 2010 I reviewed an older Sony Reader, and I was not sold on the whole e-reader thing. It only took two years, but I’ve finally given in and bought a Kindle and I have to admit it’s pretty awesome!

Over the summer I made a new life goal to travel more and I knew from flying across the country multiple times per year in college that a purse small enough to be a carry on + a voracious reader who can’t stick to one genre = one overstuffed and heavy bag. So with the goal of travel to motivate me, I bough the cheapest Kindle I could (hey, if I wasn’t going to like this thing, I wasn’t going to spend lots of money on it!) and a cover to protect it.

After three weeks with my new Kindle and four finished books, I have to admit I’m in love. E-readers don’t give me head aches, it hasn’t completely replaced my physical books, and the significant decrease in my purse weight has really helped my back. The battery life has also been great so far–I’ve only charged it twice in three weeks (which included two multi-hour train trips of almost solid reading). The books I’ve read have all been shorter books between 200 and 300 pages so I’ve yet to tackle a super long project…although I do have War and Peace on there…but it has been a great change of pace to read so many short books while I’m also reading some longer/more dense books without increasing the piles of random books in the house.

The other thing I love is my adorable cover. Ordered from eKover on Etsy, the cover has been just as fun as the Kindle. I’ll be the first to admit I can be rough on my books, and even with the cheapest Kindle model I was worried about scratches and general wear. My cover is a floral/bird blue and gray print and sturdy enough that I feel comfortable throwing my Kindle back in my bag when I’ve got to rush off to judge a debate round (doesn’t everyone spend their weekends volunteering as a judge for high school speech tournaments?)  but still light enough that the benefits of the Kindle aren’t lost. I do find it a bit amusing that the cover was half the cost of the Kindle, but I’ve already gotten compliments on it so I think it’s money well spent!

Will my Kindle ever completely replace physical books? Not a chance, if my three overflowing bookshelves have anything to say about it! But I am excited by how much this one change has revitalized my reading habits, and for that I’m now a huge advocate for adding an e-reader to your collection.

Has anyone else held out longer than seems logical, only to be sucked into the e-reader world like me? Anyone else still staying strong in the no e-reader camp? Any suggestions of good places to find free or cheap Kindle books?!

Ever since I was a child, I’ve loved National Geographic magazine. At the library there was a magazine rack when you could trade used magazines, and I would trade my Highlights and American Girl magazines for an issue of National Geographic I hadn’t read yet. So in January, after reviewing my budget from last year and realizing there would be a bit extra this year, I bought a subscription to the magazine.

The National Geographic Society, which has been around since 1888, is a non-profit dedicated to science and education. Their interests, as listed on the website, include geography, archaeology, natural science, and the promotion of environmental and historical conservation. The National Geographic Society encompass all things I loved as a kid (my favorite issue from childhood focused on an archaeological dig in the city of Pompeii), and hope to renew my interest in as an adult.

The four magazines I’ve received this year have been just as interesting as I remember. April’s cover story is the Titanic, so I can’t wait to read it once I finish March’s issue. All my magazines have arrived on time and I have to pace myself of I’ll sit down and read the whole thing in one go–which is fine, unless I’ve got other things to do like eating dinner. The $15 I spent on a year subscription (that deal is still going on, by the way!) has been completely worth it so far, and pending major financial disasters, I’ll renew again next year.

I’m curious, do you subscribe to any magazines? This is my only one, and I don’t see that changing any time soon.

Fun and comfortable t-shirts are my favorite article of clothing so I was excited to learn about Out Of Print Clothing, a company that designs shirts with vintage book covers. The company motto is “Books on shirts. Shirts on a mission,” with the aim of celebrating great books. Their shirts (which come in men’s, women’s, and children’s sizes) are wonderfully colorful and soft–what more could you ask for in a t-shirt? As stated on their website, “How we read is changing as we move further into the digital age. It’s unclear what the role of the book cover will be in this new era, but we feel it’s more important than ever to reflect our own individual experiences with great literary art before it’s forever changed.”

Along with designing great shirts, they are also actively involved in giving back to the community. For every shirt sold, Out Of Print Clothing donates a book to their partner charity Books For Africa to help communities in need. Doing good for my fellow readers just by buying a book? I was sold!

My new favorite shirt

As a very belated Christmas present, my brother bought me the To Kill A Mockingbird shirt. I first read To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee in 7th grade, and fell completely in love with Scout. I’ve read the book several times since I was 14, and every time I read the courtroom speeches scenes I get chills. While there are several other Out Of Print shirts I want, I knew the To Kill A Mockingbird one would be my first purchase. I’ve only had the shirt for a week and I’ve worn in twice, I love it so much!

Adult size t-shirts are $28, and kid’s shirts are $22. While I normally wouldn’t pay (or ask my brother to pay) $28 for a t-shirt, the fact that the cost of the shirt also pays for a donation to Books For Africa, so For $28 I got a shirt and a book, which I thought was a good deal. The shirts are super soft, and thin enough to be comfortable in summer and easily layered in winter. The description on the To Kill A Mockingbird shirt said it ran small, so I sized up to a medium to be safe–I probably could have worn a small, but it was easier to shrink the shirt in the dryer to make it just an inch or two shorter. The shipping was fast, as my shirt arrived less than a week after my brother ordered it. The shirt is 100% cotton, and can be washed in cold water and tumble dried on low, so it’s easy to care for. They also offer iPhone cases and eReader jackets, along with gift cards.

I love sharing my passion for reading with people, so Out Of Print Clothing is my ideal store. For anyone who loves fun t-shirts and reading, I would highly recommend Out Of Print Clothing.

The opinions expressed in this post are entirely my own. I was not contacted by Out Of Print Clothing or solicited in any way. This post was written because I had a good experience with a company, and I wanted to share it with my readers.

I resisted digital books as long as I could. I grumbled when people on the subway in Boston had them, and laughed at people in airports frantically trying to charge their “book” before boarding their flights. As much as I love computers, I could not understand why anyone would want to read off a screen. Bad experiences in the past (100 page PDF documents that I had to read for class in a night, despite the fact that reading off a computer for long periods of times gives me horrible headaches) made me extremely nervous to actually use one.  But I could not in good faith continue to avoid digital books without actually trying one, so I finally gave in and borrowed a Sony Reader Digital Book.

Pros of the Digital Book:

  • The digital book is surprisingly light weight and comfortable to read with and is especially convenient for reading with a blanket because there are no pages to turn, just a button, meaning my hands never had to leave the comfort of their warm cave within my blanket.
  • The reader has three different font sizes (Large, Medium, and Small), so the text can be adjusted to fit any eyesight. I could read most books fine on Medium, while my dad loved being able to change the font to Large.
  • You can bookmark multiple pages in a book to easily keep track of stuff you wanted to go back and look at again later, or easily keep your place in several books at once. The menu to navigate all the bookmarks is easy to access.

Cons of the Digital Book:

  • The screen reflected the light from my lap at night, making it awkward to read when sitting directly under or next to the light, so I mostly used it during the day with natural light.
  • You can only turn one page at a time, or enter in a page number to jump to a specific page, so skimming through a book to find a specific sentence or example when you don’t know what page it was on takes a long time.
  • The digital book did not always work well for oddly formatted pages; for example, the book I read, Beatrice and Virgil by Yann Martel, had very long paragraphs, and the digital book would not split long paragraphs into two pages. The only way I could read the second half of some paragraphs was to change the font size to small, which was incredibly small and awkward to read and took a long time to load.

Final Impressions of the Digital Book

I love playing with new technology, so I am glad I finally had a chance to use a digital book. The model that I used, a Sony PRS-505 Reader Digital Book (linked above, but no longer available from Sony because of newer models that have been released more recently) was incredibly lightweight and portable. I can see why people love digital books for travel, but I felt silly sitting at home reading on it. Because I did not buy it, but borrowed it instead, there was no cost; because of the steep price of digital readers, however, it would take a long time after buying the thing to balance out the cost of cheap eBooks against their paper companions or the ease of lending free books from a library. Digital readers can hold many more books than a suitcase or backpack, so I can appreciate what many digital reader owner’s see as their largest advantage. Despite all of these great things, however, I do not think I would ever buy one because the convenience does not outweigh how much I love the smell and feel of a paper book. I would not turn down the chance to borrow this Sony Reader again for travel, but I would not advocate that people throw out all their books and do all their reading online.

The opinions expressed in this post are my own, and were not solicited by Sony or any other company.