“We are all consumers. And we all, more or less, live by consumerism’s creed that our consuming is linked to happiness (in a recent poll, only 6 percent of Americans said that money can’t buy happiness).”–Cool: How the Brain’s Hidden Quest for Cool Drives Our Economy and Shapes Our World, by Steven Quartz and Anette Asp
If there’s one thing we don’t need, it’s more books.
My husband has been telling me that for years.
My trip to London has changed my perspective on the library that is our home.
London does not have a magic potion for bookaholics. Would that a witch would meet you at the airport and say,
Boil and bubble, boil and brew, now I cast a spell on you– boo!
But after visiting some of the best bookstores in the world and buying too many books to fit on our shelves and not regretting it at all, I realize that I could have done many other things on vacation.
All of them worse!
Horrible Alternative #1 : Dine on gourmet suckling pig at a glitzy restaurant in Mayfair for $200. Why suckling pig? The guidebook seems to think that’s a good thing. I do not. Anyway, could I wear my mythic cat sweatshirt? I don’t think so.
Horrible Alternative # 2: Forget the bookstores. Buy till you’re high at Selfridges, Dover Market, Fortnum and Mason, and the like… Squeeze yourself into a GIVENCHY T-SHIRT that costs more than your plane ticket, order a CHRISTMAS HAMPER with delectable treats for your family that doesn’t celebrate Christmas, and why not that nice DE LAURENT NOTEBOOK that is not THAT expensive? Well, the notebook was nice, but you can get a nicer one at Paperchase.
Horrible Alternative # 3: EXPAND YOUR CULTURAL HORIZONS. Oh, God.you already did culture. There was the Thing… You know….the thing at the museum…Cool Celtic Coins and Crosses! Or something. You love art, drama, and literature, but what about music? For years you’ve sat through those Metropolitan Opera HD things, looking at your watch. Why not go to the Royal Opera for £230? But you need Renee Fleming to do those interviews during Halftime.. Maybe you could just buy a CD of Carmen…or go to the Abbey Road crossing!
I did think of one good alternative. Stay at one of those gorgeous Victorian luxury hotels. The problem is you might never want to leave .
There are shades of consumerism. Some worry about payments for a conscience-sopping Prius, or a flashy Corvette that in Hollywood myth gets you the girl of your dreams. I ponder the price of a hardback copy of The Collected Poems and Drawings of Stevie Smith and wonder if I need a shed (Michael Dirda says he has one!) for the books that don’t fit on the shelves. It’s always good to look at overspending, and figure out how you could cut back a little.
I I am not buying books till March 2016, but I wish you all Happy Consumerism. We’re lucky it’s books, isn’t it?