Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A Bunch of Pretty Things I Did Not Buy by Sarah Lazarovic

I received this book as part of's Holiday Cheer Contest. It had not really crossed my radar prior to that, beyond noting that the author has a blog of the same name, which was catchy enough to make me remember to check it out some day. In the time of my life when I'm trying to minimize, and clear through decades of accumulations (not just mine, but the objects of sentiment and delight and, to be honest, also the crap I inherited from dearly departeds), the idea of "not buying" occupies a great part of my mind. But I also enjoy pretties, mostly in the form of art, so love to look. Even though I knew nothing about Sarah Lazarovic or the year she spent painting things she coveted instead of buying them, I was interested enough by the title to enter the contest -- and look! I got my own pretty thing I did not buy!

I love seeing how people use their art, and what they depict. For me, that was the biggest joy of the book. The stories were nice to read, but not particularly insightful. It was the whole journey-- seeing how Sarah faced her shopping demons and converted them to something more benign, that intrigued  me. The way she places words on the page reminds me of an artist from the 1960's, whose name I can't recall and I am too lazy to google. But it was familiar, even though, through her words, I realized that the author is a generation younger than I am, and that the world she depicts as the norm was just burgeoning when I was the same age. However, she still did come up with some truthful observations, my favorite being:
Unless you're born with outsize character and unfathomable beauty, you spend at least 67% of your adolescence fretting about what you look like. You spend the rest of the time eating Doritos and ogling teen pop stars with remarkably good skin.
(I'm older than Doritos, but they did battle out Fritos as a party food when I was in high school.)

Still, I think the book, short though it is, would have been enhanced with more of a reference early on as to why the author wrote it. It's on her web page, though:
A Bunch of Pretty is a shop for not shopping. The name of this shop comes from my forthcoming book, A Bunch of Pretty Things I Did Not Buy. The title essay is about a year I spent painting the things I coveted, instead of buying them. 
In the course of writing the book I spent a lot of time researching how and why we shop, the meaning of quality and the paucity of good quality stuff to buy. I also ate a lot of sandwiches. I really like sandwiches. 
A Bunch of Pretty is my rotating collection of handmade things. 

As for me, I'm still trying to reduce buying, and increase my art. My biggest problem? I keep coveting art supplies and other people's art!

Thank you book for sending this book my way. The orange of the cover is much friendlier in person than the orange on my computer screen.

Tags: bookreporter-com, first-novel-or-book, i-liked-the-pictures, read, thought-provoking

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