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Friday, May 15, 2009

Finance Writer: Heal Thyself, with some Trollope

Has everyone seen this? A New York Times finance writer has a piece on how he got sucked into the subprime mortgage mess. This is part of a forthcoming book. Lucky writer: he can get plenty of publicity for his forthcoming volume.

You can read the article yourself. I blasted through it last night. I cannot read it again. This is why. As I read, I began to have all sorts of physical symptoms: dizziness, shortness of breath, constricted feeling in the chest. Hmmmm. All the signs of a heart attack???

I had a similar set of symptoms as I read a volume of Trollope last summer. My father-in-law gave me a complete hardcover set of the Chronicles of Barset. What a pleasure! How had I missed these all my life? The perfect level book for my summer reading and to have six of them was a pleasure beyond the norm.

Anyway, the book that set off the feelings of a heart attack was Framley Parsonage. Here is the Amazon summary.

Mark Robarts is a clergyman with ambitions beyond his small country parish of Framley. In a naive attempt to mix in influential circles, he agrees to guarantee a bill for a large sum of money for the disreputable local Member of Parliament, while being helped in his career in the Church by the same hand. But the unscrupulous politician reneges on his financial obligations, and Mark must face the consequences this debt may bring to his family. One of Trollope's most enduringly popular novels since it appeared in 1860, Framley Parsonage is an evocative depiction of country life in nineteenth-century England, told with great compassion and acute insight into human nature.

From the second Mark Robarts guarantees that debt, you can see what is coming. Ditto for the New York Times writer.

I remarked a few posts ago that I seem to be frugal by chance (that is, nature), rather than by choice. My physical response to stories of debt--one of which is, let us remember, fictional--suggests why I am so debt-averse. If I get into debt, I will surely die of a heart attack. I should not receive any plaudits for paying off our mortgage early. Once again, dear Readers, it is my nature.

Dear Readers, any good summer reads for me? With a financial focus or not, I'm always looking.


FB @ said...

Wow, what a reaction.

I don't feel that way about debt or lines of credit or mortgages at all. I'm not sure if I am considered lucky in that respect but at least that's one way of staying out of debt

I'd hate to be so physically sick over debt. Did it once and am never doing it again.

FB @ said...

That is, never doing it again in the sense that if I get into debt or have a mortage (With good reason) I won't lose sleep over it any longer.

Duchesse said...

Once, when I was young and single, I ran up a $4,000 credit card debt. I hated it, so I made a graph and stuck it to my refrigerator. I sent payments every week even if only $5-$20, as well as monthly payments well over the required minimum. As I recall it took 6-7 months, and seeing the line going down steadily was essential to my well-being. That feeling was so repugnant I have never owned a nickel again.

Duchesse said...

Freudian slip! I have never OWED a nickel again.

Over the Cubicle Wall said...

Summer reads - you may like Dan Simmons Ilium, and the sequel Olympos. He manages to blend Shakespeare, Browning, Proust, Nabakov, and Homer together into an incredible story line. Beware, it is scifi (sort of), but he manages to bring it all together.

Funny about Money said...

What a horrifying story!

It's easy to sink yourself in debt, though. My ex- and I were three-quarters of a million dollars in the hole (down from a full million) at the time I split. And we didn't have any wacko rapacious mortgage schemes. Just more credit card debt than the human mind can conceive and a couple of crooked law partners.

Enjoyed reading William Least Heat-Moon's Road to Quoz, which has now been out for a while.

Frugal Scholar said...

@FB--You are very young to be a role model--but youare!

@Duchesse--Loved the Freudian slip.

@Cubicle--I love all the writers your writer likes, but I am so not sci-fi. I will give it a try though (and maybe read Watership Down, as you were a while ago).

@Funny--Thanks for the recommendation. I've also not read his other book--Blue Highways--though I know it's around here somewhere.

Suzy said...

Well I've been through a lot of debt - twice- and while I didn't die it was so beyond stressful that just the thought of being like that again makes me feel sick. I know it won't kill me - at least not directly!-but it's an awful feeling. I do have a mortgage and car payment but so long as I have a job they're manageable and I plan on driving the car a long time. I got tense just reading the description of that book!

Afraid I can't help you with reading material - I've never heard of any of these authors. I stick with light reading. I was checking out your list of kids' books on an older post thinking I'd make a trip to the library and read some! I love kid books!

Frugal Scholar said...

@Suzy--Thanks for stopping by and sharing your story. If you want more recommendations of children's books--just ask! My children and I love to talk about children's books.