I think just about every good comments thread tends towards argument, just because a whole string of people agreeing gets boring real fast. So either a conversation finds the point where people have a reasonable disagreement (no matter how tangential to the main point) and keeps going thrashing out that disagreement, or it peters out.
I was wondering whether changes in the amount of deposit required might influence things. If all of a sudden people need a 25% deposit rather than a 5% deposit (or whatever you could get away with in 2007), that might show up as lower levels of debt vs housing value? Or is that small potatoes?
When I was 12 I loved Maurice Gee's O trilogy, and Guy Gavriel Kay's Fionavar books. Both male authors, but ones that write well from a female POV (although in hindsight perhaps there's scope for argument about that in the case of Maurice Gee). Terry Pratchett's female protagonists are also great, and something a 12 year old could grow into.
The Hunger Games books have a strong YA following, but I'm not sure I'd recommend them for a 12 year old, unless they're the sort of 12 year old who's been reading their friends' older siblings' battered copies of Stephen King or VC Andrews or Jean M Auel on the sly.
I was embarrassingly fond of the Dragonlance books when I was a lad.
I tried them but actively hated the OTTness of Raistlin. My pulp of choice at age 15 was Forgotten Realms' Dark Elf series and David Eddings.
While I was looking for something a bit better, I ran into Katharine Kerr's Deverry series, beginning with Daggerspell - the blurb billed its wizard lead Nevyn as something like Raistlin, but I quickly got to know him as a lot more real and human and likeable. And her female protagonist, Jill, is one of fantasy's best realised female characters - she hooks you in with a fairly standard kickass girl mercenary thing, but over several books and incarnations you get to see the way her social circumstances shape her personality. Kerr's a staunch lefty feminist, but her politics inform the story rather than overwhelm it.
Cordelia is one of my heroes.
Did you know there's a new Cordelia book coming out next year? Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen.
Teh orcish ladeez were not developed well enuff 4 youse?
No, the orcish ladeez were great. The "pass me another elf, this one's split" jokes were a little de trop, however.
Except for Grunts. That is a book I never should have read.
sure the book would be better with characters and good female characters,
It might have been clearer if I'd said "absence of awful female characters". Because the default setting of any female characters in traditional populist pulp genre fiction (unless you're talking romance) is awful, and that's the annoying part.
I have to say, if I were recommending authors to someone who has trouble talking to girls, I mightn't start with Sheri S Tepper. Grass is good, but some of her other works are more polemic than story.
Mary Gentle is pretty damn awesome, with lovely detailed late medieval/early modern settings.
Lois McMaster Bujold writes lovely SF. I could rant about her for hours. One of her most interesting books, Ethan of Athos, is about a planet populated entirely by males - the story follows one obstetrician's quest to replenish the planet's failing stock of ovarian cell lines.
I hesitate to try unfamiliar male sf/f authors, because there's just so much of a higher chance of their female characters being few and poorly drawn within those genres.
How much of a problem this is depends on whether you think Auckland house prices are going to stay high or come down. If they stay high, that will hurt everyone who's been shut out of the market by the price, but be ok for everyone who's in already. If they crash it's going to hurt the owners, especially the investors or anyone who might need to sell soon for whatever reason.
Wouldn't the best way to insulate the NZ economy from a property crash be to transfer as much risk as possible to overseas investors?