Tag Archives: Retirement

Review: Nomadland

Nomadland

Nomadland
By Jessica Bruder
W. W. Norton & Company, 9780393249316, September 2017, 320pp.

The Short of It:

A thoughtful look at a community that has made the best of their financial challenges by living on-the-go.

The Rest of It:

In Nomadland, Jessica Bruder joins a select group of individuals for an opportunity to be “houseless”, not homeless. These folks, mostly the 65+ crowd, find that the only way to make ends meet is to live in a van or RV and then drive to where the work is. During a time when they should be able to sit back and enjoy life, they find themselves roaming the land for that perfect opportunity. One that can afford them the basics such as food and gas for their vehicle.

I can’t say that this book opened my eyes to anything I had not heard about before, but it did emphasize the community aspect which I enjoyed very much. These folks help each other out. They come together to share food and resources and provide support when needed. Although their incomes are very limited, they are often very generous with one another.

I guess one thing that I wasn’t aware of before is how organized this way of living can be. There are websites and books and all sorts of resources on how to live this way. Yes, they are surviving but these people seem to know what’s important and that  “things” don’t make you happy. What they crave most is a place to settle down.

This book was chosen for a non-fiction club I am trying out. Our meeting was cancelled so I have yet to find out what anyone else thought but for the most part it’s a quick read and if you have any interest in how the recession impacted these folks, check it out.

Source: Borrowed
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Review: Strangers

Strangers

Strangers
By Anita Brookner
(Vintage, Paperback, 9780307472601, July 2010, 256pp.)

The Short of It:

Amusing, sharp and unusually accommodating… these characters give meaning to the term, “growing old gracefully.”

The Rest of It:

Paul Sturgis is a 70-something bachelor living in a quiet, London flat. Never married, and having only one living relative, a distant cousin named Helena, Paul finds himself wandering about looking for something but he’s not sure what. To avoid the dreaded Christmas invitation from Helena, he decides to take holiday in Venice.

In Venice, he meets Vicky Gardner. Vicky is an interesting sort. She is pretty,  recently divorced and essentially homeless since she has no permanent place to call home. She flits from place to place, seemingly happy in her travels. Paul, unusually reserved gives his number to Vicky and then immediately regrets it. How lonely does one have to be to finally realize that at the age of 72, being with someone might be better than being alone?

This was my first Brookner and I enjoyed it immensely. These characters are proper, polite and exceedingly friendly, but utterly lonely. They are “strangers” in that they have no idea how to co-exist with one another. Innocent conversations turn into something else and then before you know it, in walks awkwardness. It’s all incredibly entertaining but in a quiet, understated way.

I understand that Strangers is Brookner’s 23rd novel. I can’t believe it took me this long to read one of her books but now I want to read them all. It’s not as if there was a lot going on in this one, or that it was even a page-turner, but it’s the type of writing that I enjoy. When I writer can take every day things and make them interesting, then he/she has my attention.

Brookner fans, which of her books shall I read next?

Source: Borrowed

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