What you should read next – August 2019

By | August 8, 2019

I know you’re surprised to hear this, but I read some more books.

John Dies at the End

by David Wong

This book is wacky, funny, and rather adorable. I recommend it as I laughed out loud several times. I’m not going to give away the plot, because I didn’t really understand the plot, but I’m still going to recommend it.

I imagine if you had aphantasia and couldn’t paint a picture in your mind, this would be a tough book. There’s a lot to picture.

It’s long, but it’s an easy and breezy read. There are two more books set in this same world that I plan to read.

An Ember in the Ashes

by Sabaa Tahir

This book is a fantasy novel that kind of reminds me of the Hunger Games if it was also told from the point of view of somebody from the Capital who also wanted to take down the evil empire. It’s a long book, but fun to read. I’d recommend. The world building is done pretty well.

Of course there are more books in the series and I’ve already ordered the second book from the library.

Scratch Beginnings: Me, $25, and the Search for the American Dream

by Adam Shepard

The author graduates college and then embarks on an experiment for a year. If he’s dropped in a random city with only the clothes on his back and $25 to his name, can he claw his way out of homelessness within a year?

He lives in a shelter and job hunts and takes advantage of the resources available to homeless people.

A shelter mate of his points out:

“We all have the same freedoms, true, but those of us born into poverty don’t necessarily have the guidance.”

Nevertheless, the author manages to have, by the end of the year, an apartment, a job, a car, and $5,000 to his name. He’s not living paycheck to paycheck, thanks to thrift and hard work and luck and staying away from drugs and not having children.

It’s an interesting read.

The Valedictorian of Being Dead: The True Story of Dying Ten Times to Live

by Heather B. Armstrong

Woman with depression writes about getting anesthesia therapy, a type of ECT. It’s funny and she gives great insight into what it means to live with depression.

We have lost all interest in doing anything, especially anything that once brought us joy–because that thing will not bring us joy, and we can’t bear the meaning of that.

I could not take it anymore–“it” being breathing air and performing any task that ensured my survival.

I’m not sure I’d recommend it, though. Depression is a bummer. Who wants to be bummed out? Also, she uses the same jokes too much. In my opinion.

But she does get better at the end, which is a nice thing to read.

Ishmael: A Novel

by Daniel Quinn

Ishmael is a gorilla who can communicate through thinking. He is seeking a student and our narrator is seeking a teacher.

In fact, of course, there is no secret knowledge; no one knows anything that can’t be found on a shelf in the public library.

Ishmael teaches us the state of the environment and Mother Culture’s lies.

It’s hard to imagine how the world could survive another century of this abuse, but nobody’s really doing anything about it. It’s a problem our children will have to solve, or their children.

Mother Culture says the world is ours for the taking and ours to conquer. We’re killing diversity and ourselves in the process.

It’s a harsh reality that humanity is going to face a reckoning sooner than anticipated. It’s never really anticipated, is it?

I don’t think I would recommend this book though as it was a slog to read and there was a bunch of stuff related to Christianity that I didn’t understand.

A Torch Against the Night

by Sabaa Tahir

This is the second book in the series I mentioned earlier (An Ember in the Ashes). It’s really good so far, but there are at least two more books, one of which hasn’t been written yet. I need to stop reading book series that aren’t finished.

18 thoughts on “What you should read next – August 2019

  1. Financial Nordic

    Wow! You read quite a lot 🙂 I haven’t read too many books outside of investing and personal development lately.. Maybe I should get back to novels, as I really enjoyed reading those when I was a kid.

    1. Thriftygal Post author

      You should! Doing what you liked to do as a kid is great. You’re almost guaranteed to like it.

  2. JR

    Niiiiice, thanks for the reviews. I’m going to add the $25 dude to my list!

  3. Brad

    Thank you for entertaining the book, Ishmael. It is definitely written from a Judeo-Christian theological perspective. I hadn’t considered what it would be like read by someone not exposed to those myths. I found it thought provoking as someone who has been exposed. Happy to read you are happy and see you engaging more with your followers. Cheers!

    1. Thriftygal Post author

      There was one part of the book where he talks about learning that the earth was not the center of the universe was a devastating blow. I remember that from history. That was a hard sell to Judeo-Christian theology.

      I’m trying to engage more. 🙂

  4. Vishnu's Virtues

    no non-fiction books? I know you weren’t a big fan of untethered soul but checked our surrender experiment? It’s hard to put down and hard to believe the the things that happened in his life.

  5. Ally

    The $25 guy had a fresh college degree when he started. I don’t think that’s starting at the same point as those who don’t have one, or the dream of one for lack of guidance. So I’m not sure about the point of his experiment . Even in the fine The Glass Castle, the author’s parents were educated, even as they lived in poverty. But I know if you have grit and a native intelligence, you can make it, as so many immigrant successes demonstrate, even without a degree.

    1. Thriftygal Post author

      You’re making an excellent point. He pretended, for the experiment, that he didn’t have a college degree, but it is a little poverty tourism.

      1. Klaas

        “it is a little poverty tourism”
        Yeah, that. Also, I wasn’t sure if by “takes advantage of the resources available to homeless people” you meant “avails himself of” or “exploits”, but given that those resources are finite and insufficient (not that they should be or need to be, but in practice they are), it seems like the latter to me.

        Other possible taglines that come to mind:
        “Kind of like an ethnography, except entirely about himself.”
        “An extended exercise in failing to understand how poverty and privilege operate.”

        Clearly that one did not strike me favorably and I will be giving it a pass…

    2. mary w

      When he got to the “conclusions” part of the book I thought he was going to say “If I can do it, any one can”. But he didn’t. He acknowledged that there were many ways for the homeless to fail (e,g, drugs, coming from a family that didn’t teach hard work or showing up on time, etc). And while he didn’t cite his college degree on applications, the ability to plan and foresee problems was critical to getting out of the shelter.

      Not the greatest book but interesting.

      1. Thriftygal Post author

        You’re so right about the ability to plan for the future being a skill you have to be (almost always) taught.

  6. Shane (from Ireland)

    I have a very very poor reading habit which I’m gradually improving page by page.

    Not a book-related suggestion but if you can watch the documentary about Leonard Cohen and his muse Marianne. I almost want to say Oh my God. My gut is still reeling.

    Leonard was a Master wordsmith so I think you will at least find him interesting if not love him (women have a tendency to fall head over heals). You’re probably already familiar with his word.

    Some of his song lyrics are works of emotional brilliance.

    And the letter he wrote to Marianne which he was told she was on her death bed.
    He has resurrected my emotional life.


Thoughts? Recommendations? Candy? Anything you can give me is highly appreciated.

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