Friday, March 26, 2010

Catching Up! Falling Behind!

Right. I don't even want to think about how long it's been since I blogged, and I especially don't want to think about how far behind I am on my reading challenge, or how little time I have left to catch up.

The good news is, even if I haven't been writing, I have been doing some reading, at least, so herewith I present some capsule reviews:

The Financial Lives of the Poets, by Jess Walter: An overleveraged man makes a series of bad decisions, like quitting his job to start a financial haiku website called, and in an effort to keep himself and his family solvent, makes a series of even worse decisions. Absolutely hilarious, following the trajectory of one family's financial life through the past decade - from ebay riches to venture capital to home mortgage debt.

The Monstrumologist, by Richard Yancey: Headless monsters run amok in a New England town; only one scientist and his young assistant know of their existence and can stop them, but nobody believes them - they're on their own. This is supposed to be a kids' book, but I'm a grownup (at least, according to my driver's license, I am), and this book scared the crap out of me. I loved it, but would definitely think twice about giving it to a younger kid, unless we're talking about the kind of kid who can sit through Saw movies.

The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine, by Michael Lewis: Well-suited monsters run amok on Wall Street, making a series a bad financial decisions that result in financial ruin for many. Only a few people figure it out ahead of time, and they make a fortune shorting the market, but don't feel good about it. This book was billed to me as explaining the mortgage crisis in layman's terms, which may be true, if the layman in question is really, really good with acronyms. Excellent, quick read for geeky financial types.

Now, inspired by The Big Short and Financial Lives of the Poets, it occurs to me that there are probably a lot of ways for me to game the system and allow myself to declare victory in my 50-book-challenge. After all, I made the rules, so surely I know where the loopholes are and can exploit them. But, having finished both books, I also know it's probably not going to end well for me if I try. I'm not sure how but I'm not sure I want to find out, either - librarians have always scared me, and I'm sleep-deprived as it is.

So, having read 29 books, I have 21 books to go, but only until June to do it - two months. Eight measly weeks. The good news is I have one week-long vacation coming up with a long plane ride there and back; the bad news is we are trying to get ready to sell our house so I'm super busy with that when I'm not super-busy at work or helping the kid with homework or paying the bills or whining to you, my dear readers, about how busy I am.

Does anyone have any brilliant ideas for me?

Because failure is not an option.


  1. Glad you liked Financial Lives. It will be one of my favorites of 2010, definitely.

    As for any brilliant ideas? Just the one you might ... maybe ... not want to hear. Let it go. For now. Because that way, it's not a failure and you're not selecting that option. It's just ... on hold. No use beating yourself up when life gives us more than enough ample opportunities to do so, y'know? ((hugs)), my friend ...

  2. I agree with Melissa - and achieving reading 30 books in a year is impressive in itself. That's probably more than you would've read without the goal.

    What I've found really helpful in motivating my reading is Amazon's Kindle 2. I saw several folks with one in the past months and finally joined the club. It makes it so easy to have whatever you want to read be right there at hand without any bulk.

  3. It sounds to me like you're doing fine. I have an ereader too and I like it but you have to worry about batteries and stuff. anyway I'm sure you'll do well :-)

  4. The Monstrumologist is already on my TBR, but will add the other 2 as well since it sounds interesting!

    As for trying to finish 21 books in 2 months - like the other said, it's okay if you can't finish. It's just a number... but if you really want to try, you can read lighter reads - e.g. I can finish YA much faster than non-fiction books (which requires more attention to digest).

    I just came back from a 3 weeks trip with a very long plane ride, so am busy catching up also! Good luck with the house selling!


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