Annette Rost, January 1, 2010 (view all comments by Annette Rost)
Really liked the book topic as well as the author's thoughts throughout the year. It would be difficult for me to embark on a year without buying and the author seemed to struggle as well. The payoff at the end of the year must have felt great. Wish I could meet the challenge of not buying for a year!
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Jennifer Short, January 11, 2009 (view all comments by Jennifer Short)
Have you ever wondered if you could go a year without buying anything but what is needed? Well, the author of "Not Buying It" did just that. Is it easier to survive in the city or in a rural area when you aren't 'buying it'? She lives part time in New York and part time in Vermont, so you get a taste of both lifestyles. A little frugality, a little politics, and thoughts about consumerism, terrorism, and carbon footprints top off this delightful book.
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moralvintage, March 19, 2007 (view all comments by moralvintage)
One must be a brave soul, or simply 'sick to their back teeth' of seemingly irrepressible consumerism, to take on the challenge of not shopping for an entire year. Narrated in a personal and surprisingly non-dogmatic style, Levine recounts her adventure month by month, from the initial task of enlisting her partner's support (he insists that wine IS a necessity) to her frantic collapse when she thinks she might have lost her SmartWool socks and won't be able to replace them with another pair. In an era in which we know that consumerism is as bad for us as for the planet, but do not quite know what to do about it, Levine offers up the possiblity of a critical consumerism that begins with an awareness of our own habits.
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by Barbara Ehrenreich,
"I love this book."
by Paco Underhill, The Wall Street Journal,
"One of the five best books on consumer culture."
by The Christian Science Monitor,
"Sharp and witty....honest and humorous....By thinking harder about how it would feel to consume less, we might just make ourselves — and our planet — a lot better."
by Library Journal,
"[Levine] explores with refreshing doses of self-critique the emotional and social impulses that drive shopping....[A] lively, thoughtful look at consumerism and anticonsumerism."
by Kirkus Reviews,
"An entertaining exploration of personal desires and needs, with larger social and economic implications."
This cold-turkey confession by an award-winning journalist follows her progress — and inevitable relapses — over an entire year of not spending.
Shocked by the commerce in everything from pet cloning to patriotism, frightened by the downward spiral of her finances and that of the trash-strewn earth, Judith Levine enlists her partner, Paul, in a radical experiment: to forgo all but the most necessary purchases for an entire year.
Without consumer goods and experiences, Judith and Paul pursue their careers, nurture relationships, and try to keep their sanity, their identities, and their sense of humor intact. Tracking their progress — and inevitable lapses — Levine contemplates need and desire, scarcity and security, consumerism and citizenship. She asks the Big Questions: Can the economy survive without shopping? Are Q-tips necessary?
Not Buying It is the confession of a woman any reader can identify with: someone who can't live without French roast coffee or SmartWool socks but who has had it up to here with overconsumption and its effects on the earth and everyone who dwells there.
For the humor and intelligence of its insights, the refreshment of its skepticism, and the surprises of its conclusions, Not Buying It is sure to be on anyone's list of Necessities.
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