I’ve just finished the book I picked up at Barnes & Noble when I was home in Maine two weeks ago. I plowed through it as I generally plow through anything on a subject I’ve been wanting to get my hands on for a while. It was a memoir called Stalin’s Children, chronicling “three generations of love, war and survival”. It was mediocre, but it’s got me hungering for my next something on Russia, the KGB, the Purges and the last Tzar and his family. Trouble is, I don’t know how to buy my next book.
I’m in a moral dilemma whether to get a Kindle or not.
- Massively reduced packing space when traveling abroad
- Ability to buy any book I want, wherever I am in the world, and not have to cart it around with me afterward or feel bad about discarding it.
- Less paper waste. I know we’ve been printing books for hundreds of thousands of years, but it seems to me that the world doesn’t need to keep using all that paper.
- Perhaps a slight discount in price for Kindle titles. Not 100% sure.
- Putting booksellers out of business? It’s a real fear of mine. I don’t want to have a hand in their downfall. And after pawing around in the non-fiction section at Porter Square Books today, I’ve got a new-found appreciation for the art of book selling and their ability to choose good titles to put on the shelf that will stand up and speak to me.
- Another gadget. Another thing that needs charging and replacing eventually. Another thing to insure as well as try not to break or lose.
- Old-fashioned me. There’s still something about holding the paper in your hands. And I worry about my eyes staring at the screen all those hours too. Plus, I can’t dog-ear a Kindle or scribble notes in the margins. (At least I don’t think I can…)
So now I’m going to start going through my friend’s rather tempting bookshelf for titles to borrow until I can make up my mind if I should invest in a Kindle or not. Back to the Middle East for a bit with Reading Lolita in Tehran but I’m also just dying to find something good on the jewels of the Romanovs.
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Oh my god, it feels so goooood! And it’s ironic in a way: You see, I was reading O Magazine yesterday in Barnes & Noble while my mom was browsing the books, and I read an article on Simple Living. It’s a concept that really doesn’t need a whole lot of explanation, and it’s a concept I actually formally stumbled upon this past summer. Basically, overwhelmed by consumerism and sobered by the economy, more Americans are embracing the less-is-more philosophy of voluntary simplicity, trading possession obsession for personal fulfillment (Sited here). It’s a concept I embrace whole-heartedly, and yet…
It was nearly four months I spent in Paris before this, my first visit home for Christmas. And adjusting to a new culture, for me at least, means finding my personal sense of self in that culture. This includes my personal sense of style, as well as my own personal values. Those first four months in Paris included a lot of eating on the cheap- buying 89 cent bags of pasta to pinch pennies rather than spending the extra buck to get something locally or sustainably grown, like I’d usually do in the US. This, in a way, was me comprimising my sense of self in France. But if I was eating like a mindless mass-consumer, I was shopping like a Simplistic Liver, ie. Not at all. It’s like my normal way of being flip-flopped in France because of my new economic situation (read: student status). I wanted to explore my new sense of style in Europe- you know, buy a funky handbag or some incredibly high heel- but because of the weak dollar I really didn’t shop for four months. I’m also not planning on doing a whole lot of shopping for the next six either.
So, really, I do believe in Simplistic Living. But I had to get some things out of my system, and oh, has it felt good! New lacy undies that make me feel sexy, jersey sheets to try to help remedy my sleep problem, deodorant and toothpaste and razors- all stocked up for the next six months so I don’t have to cringe at the Monoprix. Old Navy was selling t-shirts for six bucks, and- really- who can pass up a six dollar t-shirt? And new bras that match the new undies, and some fun clothes for New Years and boots! Boots that don’t require me to sign away my first born!
I’ve been saving all the receipts from my binge shopping but haven’t looked at any of them yet to tell you the truth. I figure my Christmas money (yeah, it should have gotten ear-marked for groceries…) will cover what I’ve spent so far. And the difference? Well, if there’s a difference between what I’ve spent and what I actually could afford, I’ll just pay my credit card bill with a smile
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