Friday, October 3, 2008

book review: not buying it

every night this week after the babes have gone to sleep i've settled down on the couch with my knitting and not buying it: my year without shopping by judith levine.
i like it. it's honest, witty, cohesive, applicable - all the things i like in a book, and i tend to agree with her fairly constantly. judith and her partner, paul, go a year without shopping. they buy groceries, home repair stuff, etc, but the endeavour (with varying success) to not spend money as entertainment. they don't go to movies, don't eat out, and don't indulge in 'retail therapy'. judith is a politically active non-republican and the book is written about the year that bush was re-elected. she is passionate about ousting bush from his (usurped) role and deeply affected by his election. (not reelection)

she is excellent at articulating something that i have felt for a while about opting out of consumerism. it's green party fundraisers, vegan collective job applications (declined) and fitting in with the geez and adbusters crowd. (which i probably would, if i ever left the house) it's occasionally raising one's voice with rev. billy and the church of stop shopping on buy nothing day. (which she does) but 99% of the time it is boring and inconvenient and a real drag. it's walking in car-centric strip malls. it's arriving home starving and having to actually cook dinner, instead of pulling out a tv dinner or picking up some mcdonald's on the way home. it's scouring the earth for the least harmful way to clothe, feed, shelter and entertain oneself instead of turning on the tv and zoning out. it is tedious. but i'm not going to stop.

the nonconsumerism and politics combine to make it an informative, enjoyable read, one i can really relate to. i'm definitley borrowing her other books from the library.

but reading about not buying frivolities has had an unexplainable effect on me. each evening as i have enjoyed the book, the knitting, and the silence, i have had a nearly uncontrollable urge to order pizza. i can't get it out of my head. it's like that youtube video - clinging to my brain like a toddler with illicit candy - i can't pry it loose. i'm not hungry. i can't afford pizza. i don't even really like pizza that much. there is no good reason for this pizza fixation, but i desperately want a pizza guy to show up at my house with a fragrant box of grease. in an effort not to delve deeper into my psyche, i am going to just blame the book. all this talk of not buying has made me crave pointless consumerism. damn you, judith levine.

well, not really. actually, i think you kick ass. come for coffee sometime.


  1. Why does anti-consumerism lead back to wanting things? The more I get enthusiastic about making my own stuff, the more insidious the 'buy me' impulse gets...
    On a similar note, I just bought a MCC T-shirt that says 'I am revolting' on the front. This is also a anti-consumerism, pro-peace website that the Mennos have created to exhort us to join the peaceful revolution. It tickles my irony bone that I bought a tshirt promoting simple living and anti-consumerism.

  2. I just have to say I am a loyal reader of your blog and I love what you have to say. thanks for the book reviews.