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A Bunch of Pretty Things I Did Not Buy

3.55  ·  Rating details ·  482 ratings  ·  85 reviews
A witty, gracious, and charmingly illustrated anti-consumer manifesto

Like most people, Sarah Lazarovic covets beautiful things. But rather than giving in to her impulse to spend and acquire, Sarah spent a year painting the objects she wanted to buy instead.

Based on a visual essay that was first published on The Hairpin, A Bunch of Pretty Things I Did Not Buy is a beautiful
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published October 28th 2014 by Penguin Books
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Average rating 3.55  · 
Rating details
 ·  482 ratings  ·  85 reviews

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Oct 30, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
A graphic novel on the author's journey to stop meaningless purchases. She said that the average person buys 68 items of clothing per year. WHAT?! That's like a whole new closet. I just bought a 3 pack of new socks. Does this count as one item, three or six items?

One year I made a New Year's resolution that I wouldn't buy any new clothes. The ladies at work were absolutely fascinated with this and asked about my progress all year long. I did find a nice consignment store, which still felt like a
Emilia P
Nov 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comic-books
Food Rules! for Clothes! And stuff! Maira Kalman-esque illustrations! The irony of owning a book about not owning stuff! But it makes me want to not buy stuff AND get rid of stuff and it's also lovely and I'm not getting rid of it. So siiiiigh. Alas.
Apr 20, 2015 rated it liked it
A cute book about consumerism. (Bet that sentence has never been said before..). This book was essentially a short, quick read with great illustrations, sending an overall anti-waste (or shop responsibly) message. I found it to be quirky and humorous.
biblio_mom (Aiza)
Nov 30, 2019 rated it liked it
Its hilariously relatable. I love the illustrations and everything about it! I used to be shopperholic and now I can laugh about it, how much things I have througout my life that ended up given away to other people. But for me, it is a good deed, giving away things to people that would actually benefited the stuff I don't use anymore or never use at all.
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" o ...more
Apr 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
Conscious consumerism, minimalism, and the upcycling movement have been popular as of late, and while some authors approach the topic with impractical goals and a kind of classist attitude about "stuff," Lazarovic's approach is realistic, couched in her wonderful illustrations. A Bunch of Pretty Things I Did Not Buy is half-memoir--a funny, confessional journey of fashion and shopping mishaps while growing up--and half-instruction manual on how to become more conscious of how much we buy, and ho ...more
Feb 23, 2017 rated it it was ok
I picked this book up because I'm into minimalism and trying to reject consumerism. This book was cute and tried to have an anti consumerist message, but ultimately it is still obvious the author still finds her self image in the possessions she owns considering how much she writes about so many specific items she adores. I felt like the book was well intentioned but missed the mark. Also, I didn't agree with chapter 3 on minimalism, saying it's just a bunch of rich people who can do it because ...more
Diana Bogan
Oct 27, 2015 rated it it was ok
I concur with what others have already stated in their reviews here. It's like reading an illustrated blog post or journal entry. It's actually the illustrations that caught my eye when I found this at the library. It stroked my curiosity as something a tad bit different in presentation, and since it looked like a quick read (indeed I think I spent a total of 20 minutes, including a break to refill my tea) I checked it out. Slightly humorous, a point can be drawn if you like for being more selec ...more
Dov Zeller
I'm pretty sure I'm not the intended audience for this book. But, I recently read a bit of "Graphic Details" about Jewish female "confessional"/autobiographical graphic artists and Lazarovic was in there. This is the book that led me also to read Lasko-Gross, to get two books by Charlotte Salomon out of the library, and also a book by Aline Kominsky-Crumb that I hadn't heard of. And introduced me to a few other artists I haven't yet checked out and am looking forward to.

"A Bunch of Pretty Things
Oct 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Lately I’ve been kind of obsessed with consumerism and slow fashion and self improvement in this area. So this adorable graphic novel was right up my alley!
Kim Staley
May 11, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
I'm not big into shopping. In fact, I normally loathe it, but I ended up reading this largely for three reasons: 1) It received a good rating from a Goodreads friend. 2) I was extremely tired and it looked easy on the brain. 3) I was trapped in a hotel room and it was immediately available for download from my library. Under normal circumstances, it may have only merited two stars in my world, but I gave it three stars because the cute pictures kept my tired brain amused and I liked that it prov ...more
Sarah-Mae Adam
Feb 02, 2015 rated it it was ok
This book lacked substance. The illustrations were pretty and it was a light, very quick, read. While the author does reflect on her past, present and future relationship with shopping and material "stuff", she doesn't really delve very deeply into any of the topics and I finished the book without taking much away from it.

Also, checking her blog upon completion, it hasn't been updated since the beginning 2014...
Apr 29, 2015 rated it liked it
This book is an extremely quick read (20 minutes), but I enjoyed it. It was the equivalent of a fashion magazine/long form article about fashion, minimalism and purchasing quality over quantity. The drawings/paintings are very cute. Sarah and I had the same sense of teenage style and I was laughing throughout her history of clothing choices because I understand the desperate thrift store searches for the perfect mechanic shirt.
Oct 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
As cute as you might expect from the title and packaging. Sweet and satisfying but not terribly deep. Hard candy in book form.
Jan 09, 2015 rated it liked it
I love the idea of an artist's take on anti-consumerism! Simple, whimsical content makes its point.
Apr 16, 2016 rated it liked it
cute illustrations and anti-consumerism, finally combined
May 19, 2016 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Adults.
Recommended to Helen by: No-one.
At first I thought this would be an anti-consumerism manifesto, but it wasn't that - it was more a sensible consuming charmingly drawn book. The reader will breeze through the well-drawn, really, painted, pages, and enjoy the script style. As an art work, it's refreshing and well-executed.

The book examines the author's development as a consumer, from childhood on, and what consuming really means. It's an unending development of finding an identity, perhaps - as expressed through style, home dec
Feb 08, 2018 rated it liked it
(Nonfiction, Illustrated)

Oh, the irony! One of the books I indulged in buying new this year, rather than obtaining it second hand, or from the library was this one – about material things. It received such glowing comments in the Globe & Mail!

The author illustrated this herself, and I expected (and wanted) a sort of journal of lovely items that she had considered, the circumstances under which she considered them, and the reason she decided not to buy. Since reading this, I have thought that I
Alisha Greenlaw
Sep 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a delightful little book, filled with colorful illustrations that admittedly captivated my attention from the cover. I will say though, some of it was a little basic and I wished I had found this book at the start of my minimalism journey. It had great reminders and tidbits of information though; I would definitely recommend it for anyone who is toying with the concepts of minimalism and over-consumerism or if you are simply curious about what those mean. It’s a small book and a quick r ...more
Anna W.
Oct 23, 2017 rated it liked it
This quirky and fun book (appearance-wise) details the author's struggle to balance the internal desire for consumerism with her mental decision not to shop. Full of good vocabulary and actual research, both personal and professional, it is an entertaining and interesting read. Filled to the brim with drawings, it also serves as a nice artist rendition of many pieces of her style history (and all of the pretty things that she, of course, did not buy).

A cute and quick read, but a lower start rat
Maggie Gordon
Lazarovic's small graphic novel is a contemplation of our relationship to stuff. She doesn't advocate minimalism (which is a nice change), but conscious and deliberate reflection on what we need and what we buy. She recommends that people buy smart, looking for quality and longevity. She also advises that perhaps getting rid of anything you aren't using right this moment forgets that you may very well need that item again, or find a new love for a once neglected object. A proper balance in our l ...more
Nov 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, 2017
A lovely little book entirely drawn and written manually, I'm impressed for the amount of work and creativity the author put in it, yet the ensemble is a bit messy. But I liked the overall idea of reconsidering our consumerism and having double thoughts before making any new purchase of any kind. Also that we should teach our children about how to make wise purchases, how to check the quality of a garment etc... Cute and useful book
Aabha sharma
Oct 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
this has got to be one of my favorite books of this year. I'll make sure to have it lying around the house to vitalize my flagging motivation in the face of everyday consumeristic impulses. Its written just as well as its drawn. The binding is a joy to hold and touch. Cant wait to share it with some friends!
Aug 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: library, paper-copy
Really liked a couple of the drawings. In particular, the buyerarchy of needs and the Venn diagram of what you use where want, need, and buy overlap.


Sep 14, 2017 rated it liked it
A tiny "coffee table" type book that can be read in about an hour. I'm not fond of the handwritten format, but it's a good sampling of minimalist manifestos and the resistance of over-consumption and hoarding of possessions, mostly clothing and furniture.
Oct 10, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
Wasn't very enlightening since I've already thought of most of the things the author discusses on my own personal journey through consumerism.

The drawing style was easy to follow.

Easy, quick read.
Carrie Horak
This book is a very quick read - I did it in one sitting. Very enjoyable but nothing terribly new or exciting contained within. Still definitely worth a read given the brevity and interesting illustrations.
Edy Gies
A quick read that warns of the dangers of consumerism and encourages shoppers to thoughtful purchase and maintain their items rather than to consume them. It was a great reminder and something I needed in my life at this moment.
Mar 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
I loved it. This book has helped me save a lot of money this year. Equal parts advice and confessional, it's an easy, quick read with beautiful illustrations. My only criticism is that the messy cursive passages strain the eyes (light blue crayon on white paper? Who ok'd this?)
May 21, 2020 rated it it was ok
I'm sorry, but the drawings weren't cute or stylistic, they were very sloppy and lazy.

I do appreciate the anti-consumerism and pro-minimilistic point of view, but most of what is said in this book is just common sense, and now I hate myself even more thanks to this book.
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