What we’re reading: Richard Powers, Canna Campbell & Emily Power
Each week we bring you a sample of the books we’re reading, the films and TV shows we’re watching, and the music we’re listening to.
Bronte Coates is reading The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee
I came across mention of this book when I was looking for funny YA recommendations. Drawing comparisons with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, it’s the story of 16-year-old Ivy Leage hopeful, Genie Lo, whose hometown is beset by hellspawn straight out of Chinese folklore. She soon learns that she’s at the centre of the drama (with a weirdly wonderful backstory) and must figure out how to save her home.
Genie’s self-appointed guide to demon-slaying is annoying exchange student Quentin – who also happens to be Sun Wukong, the mythological Monkey King incarnate. I had so much fun reading this book. It’s an action-packed, ass-kicking tale with lots of high drama and the friction between Genie and Quentin made me laugh. I appreciated that the book explored some heavier themes too, such as those involving Genie’s parents and why she feels so driven to succeed, and questions about using power responsibly. I also really loved learning about Chinese mythology given my lack of knowledge on this front.
This is a highly readable and engaging debut, and I’m happy that there’s a sequel on the horizon.
Mark Rubbo is reading The Overstory by Richard Powers
Last month, Readings hosted a competition where our customers could win dinner with author Tim Winton, and along with the 10 lucky winners, I attended the meal on Friday night. It was a real chore but, hey, someone had to do it… (In truth, it was the farthest from a chore I can imagine!) There was lively conversation and delicious food. At one point, Tim pulled a book out his bag and said: ‘Man, you’ve got to read this! It’s a novel about trees.’ He was holding up a copy of Richard Powers’s new novel, The Overstory, and based on his recommendation, I had to duck to the shop and grab a copy straightaway. I’m a few chapters in and enjoying it. The Overstory is a mesmerising paean to the natural world and human’s relationship with it.
Chris Gordon is reading more money books
I recently wrote about two terrific DIY financial guides for the Readings blog – The Barefoot Investor by Scott Pape, and Unf*ck Your Finances by Melissa Browne. Afterwards, I snapped up a couple of other new titles in this growing genre of ‘saving money books’. My hope is that my immersing myself into the world of frugality I will (magically) change from a person that needs fresh flowers and experiences, to someone committed to ensuring my financial security.
How to Buy a Home: From Debt to a Deposit is the first book I picked up and it’s a ripper of a read. Do not let the title distract you either, even if you already have a mortgage! This book is full of practical advice on navigating banks, asking for loans and sticking to a plan. I’m quite old but this book (sadly) taught me quite a lot about mortgages, from encumbrances to acceleration clauses. I feel like I should have known those terms, but nope, I did not. The author, Emily Power, is not a financial planner but more a person that realises her own strengths. For example, to save for her own home mortgage she organised for her parents to take her wage and only give her pocket money. It worked.
I also read The $1000 Project by financial planner Canna Campbell, who also runs the savvy online platform, Sugar Mamma. This book is a guide to ‘mindful saving’ and while the term mindfulness can make me uneasy, here it is appropriate. Campbell is all about taking small steps and keeping things achievable by following a budget. She managed to save $32,000 in just 12 months by using her techniques, and reading her book inspired me to chat to my bloke about being more diligent with our savings plan. (As in, create a savings plan.)
Looking back over all the financial books I’ve read, here are the rules I’ve taken away.
- Don’t spend more than you earn.
- Don’t buy what you don’t need.
- Make a plan and stick to it.
- Buy books.
I’m happy to move forward with these resolutions.