This highly accessible and easy-to-read synthesis of complex subjects asks some of the obvious questions about money and finance that few of us stop to think about.
For instance, what is the real “value” of money? Well, astonishingly, nobody agrees. But most people seem to accept that it is lent into existence by the commercial banks. When you stash money in the bank, they must keep around 8 percent of that loan on deposit—in case there's a run on the bank—but all the rest is lent out again many times over. In other words, most of our mortgages and bank loans are created as if by magic by a stroke of the pen.
That's the strange truth behind modern money. We don't mine it, we don't find it on a beach, it bears no relation to anything real, but still some people have vast amounts of it and some people have none at all. And we hardly ever talk about it.
In her inimitable style, Sarah Bird pays tribute to the Texas Woman in all her glory and all her contradictions. She humorously recalls her own early bewildered attempts to understand Lone Star gals, from the big-haired, perfectly made-up ladies at the Hyde Park Beauty Salon to her intellectual, quinoa-eating roommates at Seneca House Co-op for Graduate Women. After decades of observing Texas women, Bird knows the species as few others do. A Love Letter to Texas Women is a must-have guide for newcomers to the state and the ideal gift to tell any Yellow Rose how special she is.
Luz James, a contemporary U.S. Air Force brat, lives with her strictly-by-the-rules sergeant mother at Kadena Air Base in Okianawa. Luz’s older sister, her best friend and emotional center, has just been killed in the Afghan war. Unmoored by her sister’s death and a lifetime of constant moving from base to base, Luz turns for the comfort her service-hardened mother cannot offer to the “Smokinawans,” the “waste cases,” who gather to get high every night in a deserted cove. When even pills, one-hitters, Cuervo Gold, and a growing crush on Jake Furusato aren’t enough to soften the unbearable edge, the desolate girl contemplates taking her own life.
In 1945, Tamiko Kokuba, along with two hundred of her classmates, is plucked out of her elite girls’ high school and trained to work in the Imperial Army’s horrific cave hospitals. With defeat certain, Tamiko finds herself squeezed between the occupying Japanese and the invading Americans. She believes she has lost her entire family, as well as the island paradise she so loved, and, like Luz, she aches with a desire to be reunited with her beloved sister.
On an island where the spirits of the dead are part of life and your entire clan waits for you in the afterworld, suicide offers Tamiko the promise of peace. As Luz tracks down the story of her own Okinawan grandmother, she discovers that, if she surrenders to the most unbrat impulse and allows herself to connect completely with a place and its people, the ancestral spirits will save not only Tamiko but her as well.
Propelled by a riveting narrative and set at the very epicenter of the headline-grabbing clash now emerging between the great powers, Above the East China Sea is at once a remarkable chronicle of how war shapes the lives of conquerors as well as the conquered and a deeply moving account of family, friendship, and love that transcends time.
This eBook edition includes a Reading Group Guide.
Bernadette "Bernie" Root, military brat, speaks. She has never really noticed what a peculiar bunch of nomads her eight-member Air Force family is (with the exception of her Post Princess sister, Kit), until the summer after her first year of college when she joins them at their new assignment: Kadena Air Base, Okinawa.
Just as Okinawa turns out to be a sorry version of the Japanese paradise Bernie knew in her childhood at Yokota Air Base, her family, especially her once-beautiful mother, Moe, and her former spy-pilot father, Mace, seems to have been in decline since those glory days of the American Raj. Days when her mother was happy and their best friend, Fumiko, now lost to them, was the family’s maid. The worst part of Okinawa for Bernie, though, is realizing how perfectly she fits with her oddball family and how badly she needs to get out.
So when a dance contest first prize, a trip to Japan,offers a chance to escape, she takes it, playing second banana to a third-rate comedian on a tour of Japan’s military bases. At their grand finale at the Yokota Officers’ Club, Fumiko finally reappears, and Bernie discovers the terrible price that is paid when the secrets nations hide end up buried within families.
A brilliantly appealing novel whose energy, wit, and feeling have won for it (see back of the jacket) extraordinary advance praise.
From the Hardcover edition.
Though Blythe cares much more about the ravaged state of her nails, and how to get the ingredients for Code Warrior—Blythe’s proprietary blend of Stoli, Ativan, and Red Bull that keeps everything in focus—her soul is hanging in the balance. Only when she is in danger of losing the one friend who’s been her true moral center is she ready to face her sins and make amends.
And her penance is merciless: she must find a way to lure her former socialite friends into the tofu tenement she has been reduced to. Little does Blythe know that the ensuing collision between the pierced, tattooed, and dreadlocked inhabitants and the pampered, Kir-sipping socialites offers the only hope of finding a way out of her moral quagmire.
Funny, fast-paced, sharp-eyed, an old-fashioned morality tale with an appropriately twenty-first-century ending, How Perfect Is That is a comic triumph of a novel.
From the Hardcover edition.
Both mourn the gap that has grown between them, but Cam and Aubrey seem locked in a fight without a winner. Can they both learn how to hold onto dreams . . . and when to let go to grasp something better? Sarah Bird’s trademark laugh-out-loud humor joins with the tears that accompany love in a combination that reveals the fragile yet tough bonds of mother and daughter.
Why are we still addicted to oil and petrol despite the disastrous consequences? Why, three generations after the Beveridge Report, are his Five Giants – Want, Disease, Idleness, Ignorance and Squalor – still so much with us? Why did teenage pregnancies go up despite the UK government spending up to £100 million over a decade to prevent them? Why do so few of the public clocks tell the right time or train lavatories have water in their taps?
There is a growing understanding, not that people are infallible, or that they are endlessly trustworthy and benevolent – but they are nonetheless what makes change possible. This book uses this idea to set out the Ten New Rules for organizations, reveals where they are working already – with the latest developments in ideas like system thinking and co-production. It explains the future in terms of the People Principle: If you employ imaginative and effective people, especially on the frontline, and give them the freedom to innovate, they will succeed. If you don't, they will fail.