Reading List

January 4, 2011

In an effort to make this blog at least moderately informative, I am planning to do some research. First on my reading list is Not Buying It: My Year without Shopping by Judith Levine (which I found in the local library). Ms. Levine and her partner embarked on their no-buying project in 2004. They gave up almost all buying—not just new stuff, but also (nonstuff) entertainment, services, and used stuff. They went so far as to cut out meals in restaurants and movie rentals.

That said, like me, they started out the experiment with plenty—so in the grand scheme, “going without” wasn’t going without much. Between them Ms. Levine and her partner had two houses, one apartment, two cars, a truck, and what sounds to me like more than enough skiing equipment. (For sake of comparison, I have one condo, one car, one fancy new road bike, and enough running clothes and gear to run four or five times a week, any week of the year.) I am only three chapters into Not Buying It and not sure what conclusions Ms. Levine reached by the end of her effort, but just skimming the reviews on Amazon makes me want to reevaluate the worth of most of the items in my home.

In any case, with research in mind, I’ve created an NSE reading list. You’ll notice that it is very short at the moment. Dozens of books about American consumerism and living simply are out there, and so I’ve included on this list only books that I’ve already read or that have been recommended to me. This is a living list, folks, so please pass along your own recommendations.

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