Books read in September 2019

Well this is interesting. Only seven books read in September? [Pause to uncover journal where all books read are listed] Yep. Only seven.

Picture Books

Field Trip to the Moon
John Hare
Read for Librarian Book Group

A wordless picture book of a field trip gone awry with delightful consequences for one student.

Middle Grade

Jen Wang
Read for Librarian Book Group

Great depiction of a friendship when the parents don’t entirely approve of the friend. I also enjoyed Moon’s gasp-worthy bursts of anger, as well as her belief she came from the stars.

Young Adult

The Things She’s Seen
Ambelin & Ezekiel Kwaymullina
Read for Librarian Book Group

Very mysterious novel set in Australia with a dead girl as the main character. She’s hanging around keeping her father, a police detective, company. He’s still pretty sad she’s gone.

While she is helping him solve a case, many things unfold. There are some poem bits here and there that I found cringy, but other than that, this is a good book. It’s also quite short.

Grownup Fiction

Where the Crawdads Sing
Delia Owens

This book has wonderful descriptions of the marsh and Kya. There’s also a lot of rooting for Kya, given her terrible upbringing. I can see why so many people are reading this book.

Aside from those things, I cannot understand why they are still excited when they get to the end of the book. The dialogue is wooden, especially anytime anyone is in love. The physical descriptions of sex had me cringing. Also, the mystery is solved one way, and then resolved in a different way in the last few pages, which I did not at all find satisfying. It felt like the author finished the book and the publisher wanted a different ending, so we ended up with a “but what really happened was…” debacle.

The Goldfinch
Donna Tartt

While I found the prose of this book serviceable, never have I ever worried about a character as much as I have Theo. Tartt excels at characters: Boris, Hobie, Pippa, and even minor characters are complex and compelling.

I read seven-eighths of this book in four days and then it took me another four days to get through that last little bit because I was so very worried about Theo.

Grownup Nonfiction

The Millionaire Teacher
Andrew Hallam

Hallam got to his millionaire status by implementing standard FIRE techniques (extreme frugality and index fund investing) before there even was a FIRE movement.

Here he presents nine lessons, eight of which have to do with investing.

The Effortless Sleep Method
Sasha Stephens

The author recovered from chronic insomnia and walks us through what she did to get to better sleep. She shares mistakes and makes suggestions.

I really liked what she had to say about Sleep Restriction, as I have been trying that for a few years now and find it to be the torture she describes.

New Phone! Google Pixel 3a

I made the switch from Virgin Mobile to Google FI. Both plans are similar: low monthly cost and you buy your own phone. Google FI has a variable rate for data and I might be able to lower my monthly charge slightly.

On the left, the new phone. On the right, the old phone.

I gave my usual three-minute search for a case. The new case (left) isn’t as good as the old one.

We shall see what the Google Pixel has in store for me.

Last Days for this Fire Escape

The window outside the kitchen area at my work is the one that goes to the fire escape. This is the same fire escape that the robbers came in through to steal three computers, a projector and a throw rug to carry them all out with. But they’ve put a better lock on it since then.

They are removing this fire escape as part of the building remodel. I’ve never sat on it, myself, but a coworker did on a regular basis.

Still, I’ve enjoyed having it and will miss it when it is gone.

Update from the future. For reasons unknown, they did not remove the fire escape!

Discovered on Walk: Little Free LEGO Library

Little Free Libraries abound in Portland. But this was a unique find!

My walking companion and I decided the “you’re on camera” sticker wasn’t really a real thing. We saw no cameras.

The note says:

Hi! Take a minifigure and leave a minifigure that someone else would like. [Illegible] a note in the little log if you want. Have fun!

Matt Sells His Car

Matt’s mom offered him a great deal. He could sell his 2015 Honda Civic and keep the money, and then have her 2017 Honda Civic which she no longer drives.

Here his is with all his documents in order.

This was a great deal as his 2015 Civic was just under the 75,000-mile threshold. (Which works out to about 18,750 miles per year owned). His mom’s 2017 Civic had just under 10,000 miles on it. (Less than 5,000 miles per year.)

“Ten-thousand miles!” Matt exclaimed more than once.

The other good news is that Matt’s job that caused him to put so many miles on his car has ended. So hopefully this can stay a low-mileage car.