Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth by Margaret Atwood

ImageFar from a financial self-help, in fact hardly about money at all, Atwood’s Payback looks at the concept of debt, and how various debts have been viewed culturally since the beginning of time. She looks at debts of  honour, service, friendship and money. She looks at the moral issues, debts to society, and the concept of debt as a sin. And she explores the consequences of not paying a debt, and the idea of justified revenge.

I have had this book on my shelf for years. The idea of it fascinated me. But I kept passing it by in favour of whatever new and trendy novel came my way. I have said it many times – non-fiction is not my thing. It just doesn’t capture me the way a story does. This one did. Yes, I had to get past the first 0 pages or so, and let myself adjust to the pace.

The great part was – I was still reading Margaret Atwood. This was no boring academic essay. Drawing on examples from myth and literature, ranging from  Eumenides to Doctor Faustus to A Christmas Carol, Atwood makes you rethink the very idea of debt. It may not have been the main objective, but she will also make you reconsider charging another pair of shoes to your credit card as well.

Paperback: 280 pages
Publisher: House of Anansi Press; Second Impression edition (October 7, 2008)
ISBN-10: 0887848001
ISBN-13: 978-0887848001


The year in review, and the year to come

What a year it has been. With a total of 59 posts, I still did not quite make my goal of reviewing “one book per week.” I was also perhaps a bit over-confidant at the beginning, reviewing the three Emily books, the Sevenwaters trilogy and the Hunger Games trilogy in single posts. It made sense at the time, as they were easier to review together. But I then missed 11 weeks though the year, three in a row while sick in March, and the others while reading the two killer books of the year: Moby Dick and Anna Karenina. Suddenly, the idea of banking a few reviews on books like those seemed smarter, and would have left me only five reviews short of my goal.
The most popular reviews of 2011, in order of popularity, were:
  1. Review: Barney’s Version
  2. The Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follet
  3. Book Review and Giveaway: The Nymph and the Lamp
  4. Jane Eyre: book & film review
  5. Review: The Bishop’s Man by Linden MacIntyre
  6. Drive by Saviours by Chris Benjamin
  7. Come Thou, Tortoise
  8. The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood
  9. Water for Elephants by Sarah Gruen
  10. A Storm of Swords by George R R Martin

I will again be attempting to post one book review per week through 2012 – with a better appreciation for how difficult it can be when other factions of life get busy. I have also taken the #50BookPledge through Harper Collins – which is exactly as it sounds, a pledge to read 50 books through the year.

To help me out with the blogging side, I am hoping to recruit a few guest bloggers. If you are interested in submitting a book review (or a few) please leave a comment below. You can do it right away, on a book you have already read or are currently reading, or set a deadline for yourself later in the year. I am happy to link back to your blog, if you have one.

Cheers, and happy new year!