Sunday, August 27, 2023

House Poor No More


I started reading Romana King's House Poor No More back in mid July, and just finished it today. Because of the time it took to finish, it derailed my reading plans a bit, but that's okay - I think it was an important book to be reading right now.  I'm at a point where I'm considering home ownership, and didn't want to go into it unprepared.

King's book is not what I originally thought it would be - a book for new homeowners getting into the market.  Instead, it is about homeowners of all types being smart about owning a home.  I admit that, as a potentially first-time homeowner, I found King's book rather intimidating.  It's front loaded with all the things that can go wrong with a house, which honestly scared me quite a bit.  Yes, I know that all of these things might not happen, and that it's good to be aware that they can.  But as someone thinking about getting into the market, it's a rough start!

That said, King gives a very good overview of what home-ownership entails, looking at everything from repair costs, upgrade costs, insurance, mortgage and debt management, and taxes.  This is a Canadian book, so it looks at everything from a Canadian angle, which I was really happy to see as I am Canadian.  It's also structured in such a way that you should be able to use the book in the future even if the prices of things continue to go up.  

House Poor No More is a fairly dense read though.  I found that I couldn't just sit and read it the way I can with some other nonfiction books.  I had to read a chunk, then kind of let that settle in before I could continue reading more.  That being said, it was very much worth the read!  I got this book from the library, but am considering picking it up for myself in the future as a reference!

Monday, August 14, 2023

In An Absent Dream

While at the library, I noticed Seanan McGuire's In An Absent Dream and it sounded really interesting.  I brought the book out with me to camp last weekend, and, though it is a short book, I just finished it today.

 In An Absent Dream is the story of Lundy, a young girl who finds her way to the Goblin Market when she is eight years old. After having many adventures, she stumbles back home again to her strict father, who himself had found the Market when he was younger, but chose to remain in this world. Over the next few years, Lundy finds her way back to the Market several more times despite her father trying to stop her.  But she has to decide before she turns eighteen whether she will stay here like her father did, or return to the Market for good.  And a choice like that can be far more difficult to make than first meets the eye...

Overall, I really enjoyed reading In An Absent Dream.  The book is written much like the narrator is telling a story to an audience, which is a fun and very fitting choice for a tale like this.  I enjoyed many of the characters, but they often felt a bit flat; it works though because it fits with the fairy tale aesthetic of the story (in many fairy tales, the characters are fairly one-dimensional). I was also a big fan of how the actual world of the Goblin Market worked.  Everyone has to give fair value for goods and services, and the actual Market would punish anyone who didn't - people would get bird-features until they were turned completely into birds.  You can work off your debts though and revert back, even from full bird form (if you want - some people remain as birds).

Hilariously, the thing I liked the least was the epilogue - I felt like the book ended far better without it, though I do understand why it was there: In An Absent Dream is part of McGuire's Wayward Children series (I believe a prequel), and the epilogue tied it in with that. It just meant nothing to me because I haven't read any of the other books in the series, and had no idea who the character that showed up at the end was.  And without knowing what's really going on or who that is, the book ends on a really incomplete-feeling note which I really didn't like.

But as I said, overall I enjoyed In An Absent Dream.  It is an interesting and fast (mostly) standalone novel that is worth reading if you like fantasy books with a fairy tale feel!