We had two gift vouchers remaining from Christmas that were due to run out in May – one for a popular stationary store and one for Myer. We ummed and ahhed over what we should spend them on, as we couldn’t allow them to go to waste. Of all the ideas the only ones we had that seemed to make sense, or were justifiable, were to spend them on Little Fearse.
At the stationary store we purchased her a new lunchbox. She didn’t need a new lunchbox. The one we purchased at the op shop is still going strong. We were just at a loss – we didn’t need anything at the shop. It was an empty kind of purchase and it felt like we were cheating on BNN and ourselves.
At Myer we bought Little Fearse a winter jacket (much more expensive than we’d usually get) and a winter top that will probably fit her this winter and next. Of course both items of clothing are ridiculously cute. I did get some pleasure out of this purchase because they were things Little Fearse will get a lot of wear out of. Although we can easily purchase clothes for her second hand it’s nice to have the opportunity to buy her something special. It sort of tickled the consumer in me in the way the previous purchase hadn’t.
Being at the shopping centre (for only the second time this year) was unlovely. The visuals there are like an assault if you haven’t been for a while. When you’re at a shopping centre already it becomes kind of second nature to pick up something here and something there. Since we’re not buying anything new we ended up purchasing coffee and snacks we didn’t need.
My tuna hand roll came in a plastic box with a little plastic tray for the wasabi and a tiny plastic bottle of soy sauce, held together with a rubber band. I felt really guilty about how much packaging was involved in my purchase of one tiny hand roll. I wished I’d had the forethought to at least get them to leave off the plastic container. They had paper bags, which would have been marginally better. Feeling ill at ease about the amount of stuff left over when I’d finished eating I tucked the container into the bottom of Little Fearse’s pram figuring I’d try and find a way to reuse some of it later.
The wind was ferocious. While we were unloading the pram the wind stole the sushi box and rubbish and whipped it off across the car park. “Oh no!!” I cried. Big Poppa got ready to chase after, thinking it was his steak that had flown away, or one of Little Fearse’s new purchases. As I saw the box sadly crushed under a car wheel then lift over the edge of the upstairs car park wall I said “Never mind, it was just my sushi box.” I felt kind of relieved in a disgusting way. I no longer had to come up with some fancy way to reuse it. And I felt guilty, too. If it had been one of our purchases or even a $5 note we would have worked hard to retrieve it. Instead I just watched the little box float away.
I wish it was easier – that we didn’t have to work so hard to be good and ecological. Isn’t that terrible? I know that it is true, though, that if it were easier we’d all be much more willing to recycle more or purchase organic food more often or try harder to reduce our waste. It makes me sad to know that even though our little family feels like we’ve come such a long way we still have so much (SO MUCH) further to go. We’re really just a few steps along the pathway to becoming more aware people. A few tiny steps.
I have a constantly rotating library of books. Due to my former (cough cough) addiction to buying second hand books I have a great collection of recent literature and 20th century classics with a particular focus on literature by women. I read book reviews regularly and try to stay aware of what’s good right now and what’s been good in the past. My Mum is also a voracious reader and will often lend or recommend books, as is my sister “in-law”. It might not be a particularly diverse collection, but it is a good quality collection of books.
Recently I went hunting for some books to lend to a member of my Mum’s group. I don’t really know her style yet but I do know that I have a good enough collection to have something in there that she’ll like. I realised that a lot of my favourite books are out on rotation. It makes me really happy to know that my books are read and read and read again. I have only very rarely had a book not returned, or returned so damaged it can no longer be read. It’s a risk I’m willing to take. I don’t think that a book is created to be read once then squirrelled away onto a shelf to gather dust. I never read a book twice. There are just too many wonderful books in the world to go back on one, no matter how much I’ve loved it. Passing it on to others is the perfect way of giving that book life over and over again.
Sometimes my books make it very far away. A friend will lend them to a family member or another friend. Even though this does make me feel a little anxious at times, I also recognise that it’s a good thing. It is a way of someone new being introduced to an author or a story that I’ve loved.
I’m not sure that the authors of these books would like to know that one purchase is being read by seven, eight, nine, sometimes ten people. I guess they’d like to sell ten copies of the books instead. Ecologically, this system makes buying books worth my while and it means I get to share the special place these stories create in my heart and mind with many other people.
Do you lend your books? Do you have a particular person you borrow your books from? I find it really interesting hearing how others feel about this issue, because I’ve found most people to be either very passionately for or against lending their books to others.
PS For those who wanted to know how I went with my book voucher dilemma – I bought Light Between the Oceans and NW. I have leant them out already without reading them. I’ve been sadly stuck on Gone With the WInd since NOVEMBER. It’s beginning to drive me crazy. I can’t think of a time a book has taken me this long. Going back to work and having a non-sleeping now toddler gives me very little reading time. Can’t wait for the school holidays to rediscover my reading self.
PPS I have broken my book embargo already – I bought Roald Dahl’s Switch Bitch from an op shop on Friday for BP. I also have plans to buy two books for Little Fearse for her birthday with our remaining voucher. I’m getting this and this. How can I resist?!
Yes, it’s the 2nd of January and I already have a Buy Nothing New conundrum. We were given book vouchers for Christmas. Book vouchers are one of my absolute favourite gifts (due to aforementioned book addiction…). Books are definitely stuff. I could easily read something and pass it on to someone else to read. Or borrow books from the library and not have to deal with them cluttering up my life. The thing is, I love the aesthetic of books in a home. I love to be able to lend a book I’ve enjoyed out to friends and family who I think will enjoy it, too. I hope one day Little Fearse will love reading as much as me and I can share the books I’ve loved with her.
So…where does spending our book vouchers lie in our BNN quest? It is DEFINITELY acquiring something new. It is NOT affecting our finances. I do not NEED new books. I can’t, however, let the vouchers go to waste (let’s not bring back flashbacks from the over $200 worth of vouchers I had in my purse when Borders went bust…). I was also given these vouchers as a way of supporting our local book shop. Like all small book shops it is up against big department stores and online book sellers. I really like being able to go into my local book store and browse for a book. I hope Little Fearse will one day be able to go into a local book store and browse for books, though I think it is unlikely.
In the next few weeks I will be buying some books. So, book reading friends, if you care to share your book desires with me I will try and get something I can lend and lend and lend again. At the moment I’m leaning towards NW by Zadie Smith and The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman. I might also get something to put away for Little Fearse’s birthday.
Am I failing already?
Be good (well, goodISH)