- The Broke Diaries by Angela Nissel
This Penn grad puts a whole new spin on the starving-student model. Like living on $10 a week with no meal plans. While paying her way through college, Nissel began to document her broke ways in a proto-blog as a way to escape the reality of living in dire straits. She's unapologetic and brutally honest about the embarrassing, annoying, and maddening episodes of brokeness. Sound glum? Not the way Nissel writes. She is funny and sharp and takes no crap. Although I found her slang a bit harsh, it does capture the flavor of a native Philadelphian. There isn't much about her day-to-day student life, but focuses on the basic human needs of hunting (for change in sofa cushions) and gathering (with fellow broke friends in events with free food). Her adventures of ramen noodles, check cashing, and the Great Textbook Scam are hilarious and witty. Who says you don't learn anything in college?