My weakness: possessing books


The first rule of our more ecologically responsible lifestyle is reduction (ReduceReuseRecycle!). That means, of course, less consumption. Thus less buying.

(Why “of course,” though? Why did I leave it unspoken in our Here and Now List“?)

We haven’t been buying new toys or clothes for Amie, except what is absolutely essential. We are lucky to have friends whose children have outgrown / are outgrowing theirs and are happy to pass them on to us. We’ve stopped going to places like IKEA (so called “just to have dinner”) and Costco, and it has been ages since we’ve shopped for clothes for ourselves. To illustrate, an inventory of our shoes:

  • Amie: 3 pairs
  • Mama: 2 pairs (clogs and hiking boots)
  • Baba: 4 pairs (clogs, hiking boots, sneakers, dressy shoes)

But books!

Inventory of books:

  • Amie: 100s (what a bookworm!)
  • Mama: 1000s (ahum…)

Books have always been my weakness, and though I have reduced my purchases rather drastically, I can’t seem to bring it down to zero and get all my reading material from the library.

Case in point: today. I walked into the Brookline Booksmith - just to have a look – and there it was, on sale for only $14.99:

Cover of Book Naming of Names, Anna Pavord

  • The Naming of Names. The Search for Order in the World of Plants, Anna Pavord

How shall I describe the feeling other than by describing the book in question? A substantial tome, featuring colorful reproductions of mysterious medieval illustrations, a gorgeous introduction about a journey, and the promise of so many little bits of archaic and wholly useless but beautiful knowledge about plants. How could I resist?

Coming to the end of books

Also, I just finished two books that I enjoyed tremendously:

cover of book Harvest

  • Harvest, A Year in the Life of an Organic Farm by Nicola Smith


  • How Language Comes to Children by Benedicte de Boysson-Bardies

Coming to the end of a book is always traumatic for me, and the best way to deal with the heart ache is to move on.


One last excuse: I am an avid underliner and note-taker. With my own pen and ink, I set out to possess my copy, imposing my order on the page, adding my thoughts to the margins.

For this reason library books never worked out for me, and I no longer want to do the excessive (and criminal) photocopying I did as a poor college-student.

I am very jealous of my rights as a reader. It is my conviction – not reached haphazardly, but after some years of rigorous study of semiotics – that the text belongs to the reader (to what Umberto Eco, my semiotic hero, calls the intentio lectoris). And so obviously I take that quite literally.


My baby is being put to bed by her Baba. It will take him a while: she is chatting away about her day (about which I should write later). I am aching to emerse myself in new find. So I sign off… Bonne lecture, les enfants.

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  1. Great blog. I found it via Angelina’s (Dustpan Alley). I’m very conscientious of what we throw away and have really gotten our trash down quite a bit in the past year. I’m also interested in natural births (though I likely won’t have any more), so I will definitely be back to visit your blog.

  2. Hi Lisa,
    thanks for visiting!
    THREE daughters: wow, what a great number! I was once thinking of three kids (2 our own, 1 adopted), but Amie is such a handful, and raising kids in the States gets to be so expensive, that I doubt it will ever happen.

  3. It can get expensive, but really the way we have structured our life, one isn’t that much cheaper than three. I stay-at-home and we homeschool and we save most everything from the previous child, which is really handy since we have all girls. No boys wearing pink! Cloth diapers for all of them, etc. My husband grew up in France and he is always comparing how much more expensive it is to do things here!

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