No applications, just send money

I was that close–nearly made it out the back door before Elaine spotted me and inquired where I was headed.

“The retirement system/457 plan seminar over at the McConico Building,” I admitted, hastening to add, “but I’m only going to learn about investments, NOT because I’m about to retire.  Even if I were old enough any time soon, I couldn’t in the foreseeable future.”  With the door swinging shut, I called back, “You know, not until I’m eighty or ninety…” 

OK, the last part was probably exaggerated; time and the economy will tell, won’t they?   But retirement systems work best for those who remain in place for many years.  As a clergy spouse who’s relocated often enough to miss out on serious benefit accumulations anywhere, I needed all the information I could get. 

And then there’s the job market.  Due to a dearth of library jobs and an abundance of clever, accomplished library school graduates in the area, even a 10- or 20-hour library opening elicits a feeding frenzy of applications.  Speculation about a not-gonna-happen retirement was best avoided altogether.

Post-seminar, I have devised a two-point plan: read up on investment strategies and start a penny jar to fund lottery ticket purchases. 

I even have pointers for your short-term planning, but thankfully they involve fiction rather than finances.  I haven’t gotten my hands on pre-publication copies of these, so file the list under “risky strategy” if you wish.  But these forthcoming books already have booksellers and reviewers talking and thus merit a heads-up:

  • Due out in June, debut novelist Suzanne Joinson’s A Lady Cyclist’s Guide to Kashgar:  The publisher likens its appeal to Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.  Library Journal deems it “atmospheric” and “highly recommended”.

  • From Jeff Shaara, A Blaze of Glory: A Novel of the Battle of Shiloh will be published in late May:  Author and subject speak for themselves, right?

  • Capital by John Lanchester, expected in August:  Isn’t this an ominous (in a good way) premise?  The setting is 2008 in London, and residents on Pepys Road are all receiving postcards with the same message:  “We want what you have.” 

  • From Chuck Palahniuk, expect Invisible Monsters Remix in June:  Yes, the library has Invisible Monsters, and you may have read it.  But this edition promises new chapters and scenes, a “director’s cut.”  

  • Chrystle Fiedler’s new series featuring naturopathic remedies starts with Death Drops in February:  Will Dr. Willow McQuade find the killer?  Will readers agree with some critics who think less emphasis should go to homeopathic cures and more to the mystery itself?  Fans of cozy mysteries should investigate.

  • From Mark Haddon, The Red House should hit stores and libraries in June:  The author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime envisions an engaging contemporary family scenario.

  • Mary Kay Andrews’ Spring Fever sounds perfectly timed for June:  Always a Southern delight, Andrews is a favorite of mine.  Take this one to the beach or–on audio–add entertainment to your drive.

  • In late May, look for Alex Grecian’s The YardScotland Yard, that is–you’ll find the Yard’s first forensic pathologist on the trail of Jack the Ripper.

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