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Fiction-Non-Fiction, Economics Edition

Hi Virtually Readers! Uni has started again for me properly and I am extremely busy and trying to figure out how to keep fitting Virtually Read into my life. I’m also panicked that I’m going to stop loving reading somehow, but that seems stupid, right? Does anyone else ever feel that way? I wrote an article about how to read and study at the same time and feel like a bit of a hypocrite because I’m not very good at following this advice. Anyway, I’ve been thinking lots about the economy because it matters a lot and also needs a total restructure because capitalism really sucks (this is what you learn at university). I like to read economics books because I feel like that helps me to understand the financial system better. So this edition of Fiction-Non-Fiction recommendations is themed around the economy!

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Sacred EconomicsTess of the Road

Okay, full disclosure: I’m not actually done reading Sacred Economics. I’m about a third of the way through. It’s a book about why the economy is broken, and how it is set up in systems which perpetuates injustice and inequality. Beyond that, Sacred Economics is a book about healing the economy, understanding it enough to actually change it. I don’t know enough about policy to understand how these concepts could translate, but I really appreciate this visionary book. Tess of the Road is on the surface a very different book. But like the global economic system, Tess is shattered in hidden and blatant ways. The novel is about her quest for something larger and more mysterious–something underneath–an embodiment of the principles of the world and the way they exist. I reckon it pairs beautifully with Sacred Economics.

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Talking to My Daughter About the EconomyThe Islands at the End of the World

Talking With My Daughter About the Economy is an excellent, readable primer on fundamental principles that govern economics. If you’rs a bit intimidated by learning about the economy, I hightly recommend it. To be honest the ‘talking to my daughter’ aspect of the book was somewhat contrived in a ‘now child listen to my wisdom and I will contextualise it by entioning your iPad’ sort of way. Still, it’s a good idea. The Islands At the End of the World is similarly centred on a father daughter relationship, where a father and daughter are navigating a broen world made more frightening by their inadequacies. Together, with resoucefulness and vision, they can understand why they are so lost. Again, it sort of matches on a deepre level.

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No LogoTheir Fractured Light

Naomi Klein is a bit of a legend, and references to this tome, which I read ages ago but should probably read again, are all over the place in my reading for an Advertising critique paper I’m doing. In this book and This Changes Everything (also a great economics book!) she details some of the ways that the global economy is injust, particularly in the context of large corporations. Their Fractured Light is also about confronting massive corporations, from within and without, and seeking justice. It uses an astonishing range of characters to examine different responses to inequality. It’s also a fabulous adventure story.

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Naked EconomicsSpinning Silver

I read Naked Economics a few years ago when I was just reading non-fiction for Lent (this year I’m mostly vegan). Now I read HEAPS of non-fiction. I don’t really agree with the premise of Naked Economics; it’s very much a status-quo, liberalism-inspired approach to the economy (does anyone else find it confusing that liberal politicians don’t follow policies of economic liberalisation?). Charles Wheelan places far too much faith in the power of the trickle-down effect, for instance. Nevertheless, it’s important and useful to know how people with different economic opinions than me justify that position. Spinning Silver is a stellar book, and has a character who is venal and money focused. But as a compassionate writer, Naomi Novik gives Miriam the context to explain how she became that way, and the book is all about how money matters and how different people understand it.

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Doughnut EconomicsStation Eleven

Doughnut Economics, like Sacred Economics, is an invitation to reimagine the economy. It goes beyond identifying problems, and is quite data driven (compared to Sacred Economics, which is heavily philosophical). I really enjoyed it–although I don’t really know what I can do as a non-economics student who does not make policy. The principles of Doughnut Economics is that the systems of the world–social and cultural systems, ecological systems, climate systems, and of course financial systems, are deeply intertwined. Station Eleven demonstrates the same thing, by showing how interconnected different aspects of the world are, and what happens when they’re broken (The World Without Us is a non-fictional approach to the same thing). If you long to understand the world as interconnected in fragile and resilient ways, you’ll love both of these books.

do you understand economics? do you want to? and have you read any of these books?

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book review · shanti

Children of the Faith review

It is hard to leave a cult. Apparently. I’ve never done it. The Children of the Faith series is by iconic New Zealand children’s author Fleur Beale. I mainly read this series (which I refuse to call the I am Not Esther series because that sounds wrong to me somehow) because it was recommended in the 1001 Books You Should Read Before You Grow Up book and I always felt like I should have read it in my childhood, but I never did. It’s good to support New Zealand authors and all that. I thought the discussions of faith might be interesting too.

Continue reading “Children of the Faith review”

book review · books · discussions · features · shanti

‘Tis the Season of Rereading Strange The Dreamer

Welcome back to ‘Tis the Season of Rereading, people! I’m back where it all began (at least, this series) in India with wintry air and slow internt and a lot of gladness. It’s approprading and reviewing one of my favourite books of this year–Strange the Dreamer, and its sequel, Muse of Nightmares.

Continue reading “‘Tis the Season of Rereading Strange The Dreamer”

book review · books · shanti

Review: Tiffany Sly Lives Here Now

Tiffany Sly Lives Here Now is an incredibly complex novel, and one that fits a lot into it’s short timeframe of seven days. I loved Tiffany Sly and I love all the pieces of her that Dana L. Davis uses for her story. It’s a story about figuring stuff out, and how the process is more important than any potential answers.

Continue reading “Review: Tiffany Sly Lives Here Now”

book review · books · shanti

Unearthing (mysteries and more)

I’m convinced that Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner are two of the few people who make me amenable to sci-fi. It’s been over two years since I reviewed their last co-written novel, Their Fractured Light. Unearthed has many things similar to their previous trilogy: dual narration between a boy and girl, the worlds of space to explore, and great mystery (or perhaps even conspiracy). Unearthed is completely compelling; fast and angry and eager, just like the two characters at its’ heart. I wasn’t a huge fan of the ending and one character development thing, but apart from that, it was great. I have never watched Indiana Jones or Tomb Raider, the two comparison titles for this novel, but I loved the adventure and space setting of this novel, and the romance is a lot of fun too. Continue reading “Unearthing (mysteries and more)”

book review · books · shanti

Iron Cast’s a Spell

Iron Cast is, quite simply, a glorious novel. I’ve seen it recommended about the place, and knew I should read it, and I really liked it. It’s a story of magic and friendship and just so well woven together. It was a bit of a chore to read, because I was reading a light contemporary romance which was a bit ‘easier’ at the same time. This meant, however, that Iron Cast has time to, well, cast its sticky golden threads over me and pull me down, so I was completely immersed.

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book review · shanti

I have a foolish heart

Foolish Hearts is the first book I have ever read where I finished it and then immediately started reading it again. I do not regret doing so in the least, for Foolish Hearts is a wonderful novel, made all the better by the fact that it feature lots of Shakespeare. (I especially liked this because last week I watched a performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and got all nerdy about Shakespeare again). I’ve liked all of Emma Mills novels, particularly This Adventure Ends (which I should probably reread because I barely remember anything…it was about Art, I think), but Foolish Hearts is better by far.
Foolish Hearts is highly reminiscent of Franscesca Zappia—set in the Midwest, nerdy, friendship focused, just a little bit weird. It’s also thoroughly its own thing though, and I could appreciate that.

Continue reading “I have a foolish heart”

books · discussions · lists · Shar

Shar’s Top 5 most relatable books | Get to know me!

Hi Virtually Readers! I recently finished rereading Radio Silence, which is obviously AMAZING and started thinking about other books I found relatable. This post is going to be a combination of get-to-know-me (through said relatable books) and FANGIRLINGGG!!!! (also, I know I’ve read other relatable books. These are the first that came to mind). Note: covers link to goodreads, title texts to my review if I reviewed it)   Continue reading “Shar’s Top 5 most relatable books | Get to know me!”

book review · books · shanti · Uncategorized

8 Reasons to read Ashbury/Brookfield

Hi Virtually Readers! A few months ago I was deep in some corner of the internet (aren’t we all) and found all these posts on inside a dog that Jaclyn Moriarty had written AGES ago, about her Ashbury/Brookfield books, a series of contemporary novels told entirely in found documents. They’re more companion novels, btw, rather than sequels. And I read the series over then next few months, finishing in September, and I loved them all. The books are Feeling Sorry for Celia, Finding Cassie Crazy, The Betrayal of Bindy Mackenzie, and Dreaming of Amelia (except I got confused and read Amelia before Bindy). Those links, by the way, go to my reviews. I loved the series, and now I’m going to give you some reasons to read it.

One, the books are all hilarious.

Because it’s told in documents, there are all different styles of writing to differentiate the characters. One character, Emily, is prone to malpropism (I shall rain over everyone). Another character thinks she’s really smart, and it shows hilariously in the writing. Then there are fake court summonings (SO FUNNY) and drunk blogging. Not to mention the situations the character get into which are funny…one character is hilariously convinced that there is a ghost and another runs away to the circus.

Two, they’re all mysteries.

Now I’m an idiot and it took until the fourth book for me to figure out that all the books were mysteries. I actually really liked this though; it’s a sign that the mystery is well incorporated into the novel, and the focus stays on the characters.

Three, melodrama

All of the characters are teenagers, and like teenagers are wont too, tend to exaggerate their own circumstances to be a little more important and life changing than they really are. (especially Emily. Oh Emily, how I love you) But there are just enough instances where something ~creepy~ is actually happening that you can’t quite be sure.

Four, friendship

There are so many strong female friendships; and even just friendships in general. Finding Cassie Crazy and Dreaming of Amelia especially focus on a trio of girls, Cassie, Emily, and Lydia, and they are very funny and very supportive and generally excellent. And Amelia and Riley are very good friends to each other, and I love that Ernst is friends with Bindy (also a bit of shipping there tbh), and also all the boys in Finding Cassie Crazy are great (except for some of them). I liked Seb particularly.

Five, creative and quirky documents

Remember the fake court summonings I mentioned up above? Well, they’re part of the documents that make up the story. It’s a lot like Illuminae, but less pretty. There are also these excellent messages from various ‘societies’ in the first book which help us get into Elizabeth, the main characters head. In every book except The Betrayal of Bindy Mackenzie, you don’t know why the docements have been found and collected; but they’re there, and they’re wonderful, and you just enjoy it.

Six, compelling characters

Sometimes with document based stories, it’s hard to connect to the characters, but Jaclyn Moriarty is so clever that this never happens. I especialy connected with Bindy Mackenzie and Elizabeth Clarry, in the first and third books, which are more centred on one person. The honesty of the stories, the issues the characters have, and the way that the documents they leave can and simeltaneously cannot account for their lives; somehow, it works, and all the characters are just so true to life.

Seven, surprises

I often guess plots, but Moriarty consistently surprised me. I never knew what to expect and quite what each clue added up to, and that made such a nice change. The endings are a little ridiculous, but still perfect.

Eight, ALL CAPS.

There are a lot of ALL CAPS as emphasis in the book. Very relatable if you’re a book blogger.

I do actually have some critiques of these books, which you can see in my reviews. Overall, though, they’re very clever, very enjoyable, and very funny and I think more people need to read them so go forth and do likewise.

Have you read any of these books? And what’s your favourite document based book? let me know in the comments!