Life as a Project
I just loved the first 2/3rds of Not Buying it My Year of Not Shopping by Judith Levine, a personal life-as-project book. Judith and her partner Paul decide that for the next year they aren’t going to buy anything but necessities. No DVD rentals. No fancy bath soap (Ivory is ok). They debate about whether they can buy mesclun salad mix or just head lettuce (head lettuce only). Author Levine really got into it. She delves pretty deep into what we get out of shopping emotionally and as a method of being part of public life, without making it a harangue.
The book is written in diary form and is great until about October when her obsession with the 2004 presidential election takes over. Give me the no-shopping project over another angsty account of national politics any day.
If you’re interested there’s a whole cottage industry of books and films about these kinds of undertakings. Out last year, Julia & Julie: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen is another I loved. In that one Julie Powell cooks all the recipes in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking in one year. Morgan Spurlock’s film Super Size Me chronicled his all-McDonald’s-meals-for-a-month diet and it’s not to be missed.