Saturday, September 21, 2013

Two Summer Reads

It was not that good of a summer for reading until the end when I stumbled upon Walden on Wheels: On The Open Road from Debt to Freedom and My Korean Deli: Risking It All for a Convenience Store, two memoirs by young guys taking roads less taken.

Ken Ilgunas's story takes us from the 'burbs of WNY to Alaska to living in a van while going to grad school, all motivated by the thrifty desire to eliminate his student debt. I'm tempted to say it's a bit better than its namesake. It was circumstances that lead to the author's philosophy, and not vice versa. Thus, it's more authentic.

Ben Ryder Howe's story is of a WASP, a real one who can trace his ancestry back to 1620, marrying a Korean-American and opening a corner store for his mother-in-law in Brooklyn, and being drawn into the immigrant experience in a gentrifying New York neighborhood with lots of pithy observations. I liked the bit about his liberal anthropology professor father understanding cannibalism but being utterly baffled by Korean filial piety and the desire for a multi-generational home.

Perhaps I should write a memoir about my newlywed Korean bride being horrified at my student debt (very modest by today's standards) and convincing me to implement an austerity program in our first 18 months of marriage which left us debt-free.

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Blogger Mark in Spokane said...

When I married my Chinese-Filipina-Chammora wife, I was still carrying a relatively small amount of student loan debt from law school. By law school debt standards, it was laughable. She immediately insisted that we forgo a honeymoon trip until the debt was paid off, in full. She also put us on an austerity budget until it was paid off. Her motto is: "No Debt."

September 24, 2013 at 1:39 PM  

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