I requested this book by accident, while searching for another book on the topic of simplicity. It wasn't quite what I was looking for, which made me...moreI requested this book by accident, while searching for another book on the topic of simplicity. It wasn't quite what I was looking for, which made me tempted to give it a poor review. But I can't really blame the book for my own expectation. So, in all objectiveness, setting aside starting out on the wrong foot: I give it 2 stars.
There are different definitions of living simply and each person has to figure out what that means to them. For the most part, St James sticks with a stress reduction motivation and largely succeeds. But every so often she steers into sustainable living. I'm all for sustainable living, but to equate it with stress-free is naive. Seriously, anyone who could possibly suggest that houseplants are a huge stresser cannot also suggest planting a vegetable garden. I've tried growing vegetables and I can safely say that the 3 weeks of tomatoes and zucchinis did not make up for daily watering, bi-weekly weeding and all around panic about everything dying. And don't even bother to ask if it saved me any money!
In all the advice give is largely unoriginal and dated. Maybe decluttering your closets was a revolutionary thought in 1994, but now we have entire TV channels dedicated to the topic. Also, the writer's focus on the wealthy was distracting and felt superior. I was glad to see her be a little self-deprecating and even funny in the food section where she finally came back down to human from wealthy-yuppy-extraordinaire.
The only suggestion in the book that I'm going to actually start (aside from the many that don't apply or I'm already doing) is going to bed at 9pm one day a week. Doesn't that sound awesome? (less)
I don't want to return this book to the library. I've renewed it 2 times now and they're only going to let me keep it for another 8 days. So now I'm p...moreI don't want to return this book to the library. I've renewed it 2 times now and they're only going to let me keep it for another 8 days. So now I'm plotting which 7 treks to re-read before bed each night. I'm seriously considering buying my own copy and it will live on my nightstand as there is no better way to end a tough day than to read one of these entries and fall asleep wondering about the airfare to Peru.
I'm not a huge backpacker, preferring day hikes, but he book has inspired several dream vacations and my ideal 30th birthday celebration. Unfortunately, reservations in the Grand Canyon are required 4 months in advance, so that will have to wait for 31... I will backpack the Grand Canyon. And Kilimanjaro, and Patagonia, and the Royal Trek, and The Wonderland Trail...
Whenever I read essay-style memoirs I get my hopes up that the writers will be immensely funny, brilliantly witty, mindbogglingly intelligent or at th...moreWhenever I read essay-style memoirs I get my hopes up that the writers will be immensely funny, brilliantly witty, mindbogglingly intelligent or at the very least my kindred spirits who have the same deep thoughts as me plus that ability to express them in writing. Most of the time I'm let down. Meghan Daum's essays, aptly enough, revolve around the theme of being let down. Or more specifically, being let down after developing a whole big fantasy about how some situation will play out.
I did enjoy several of the essays. Some are funny, some are intelligent, none are my soul mates. Not even close. Basically, while I appreciate her honesty, I think Megan Daum is a rich-kid snob.
Specifics: Love the concept of baby dolls as meta (without using the word "meta", because the book came out in 2001 and back then "aesthetic" was the word of the day).
Did not understand the carpet essay. I get that she's accepting and celebrating her own brand of snobbishness. And I found that mildly entertaining. I'd probably do the same. But I don't understand the association of carpet with faux-class. In my neck of the woods, no one pretends carpet is a sign of wealth. You have to be wealthy to afford anything other than wall to wall carpet.
Essays on polyamory and flight attendants seemed out of place and boring. Rejected New Yorker articles that she worked too hard on to not publish somewhere, anywhere, how about in the book?
I think at some point, Daum considered herself to be the voice of her generation, or at least of her aesthetic. A short 8 years later and I find myself not in her aesthetic or her generation and marveling at how fast times change.
The question/answers are mildly interesting. Unfortunately those only make up about 1/2 the book. The rest is...moreHow in the world did this get published?
The question/answers are mildly interesting. Unfortunately those only make up about 1/2 the book. The rest is spectacularly failed attempts at being funny.
I can only assume they didn't mean for those parts to be read at all, as it's not a cover-to-cover kind of book. Readers are meant to pick up the book, find a funny question, set book back down. The extra filler is just in there to make the book appear to be a reasonable length.(less)
Here's the thing. This is not a novel. It's more like a party game.
After going through two scenarios I was disappointed. The whole thing is ridiculou...moreHere's the thing. This is not a novel. It's more like a party game.
After going through two scenarios I was disappointed. The whole thing is ridiculous to the point of silly. And things we tend to expect from novels, like you know... characters, are missing. But really, this isn't a novel. It's fluffy light funny reading.
After going through a few scenarios with friends, seeing how we all end up, I realized the fun in that. Then on some airplane rides I tried to systematically go through the whole thing. I didn't make it through every possibility, but enough.
I was about halfway through A Visit from the Goon Squad when I went to see Social Distortion. Mike Ness is losing his hair, and I thought about how se...moreI was about halfway through A Visit from the Goon Squad when I went to see Social Distortion. Mike Ness is losing his hair, and I thought about how sexy he was last time I saw them play...back when I was in high school...in 1997. And then I realized that 1997 was 14 years ago. It was a 21+ show, and for maybe the first time ever, instead of looking around a show and thinking "Wow, I feel old compared to all these kids" I thought "Wow, we're ALL old".
Early in the set they played "Mommy's Little Monster" then, "Sick Boy". Those songs kicked me in the gut. Then they played "Ball and Chain" and I just wanted to cry. I've known those songs and lived those songs and sang those songs and thought I had every emotional reaction to those songs before. But now, the ball and chain is the corporate job and the underwater mortgage. And there is nothing punk rock about an underwater mortgage. I think I had a mid-life crisis, right there in what would have been a mosh pit 14 years ago, but was just a crowd polite of foot tappers.
Time is a goon.
I think I'm going to paint my fingernails black.(less)