Wednesday, 3 January 2018

This Year's Stack

So, it's a different picture this year as I decided to boycott Amazon for 

a) selling Trump family products 
b) having a reputation as a miserable place to work
c) threatening small businesses worldwide 
d) changing the culture with 24-hour delivery 

I was torn, as the owner of Amazon also owns the Washington Post but at the end of the day, I decided
e) I don't need to help Jeff Bezos get any richer

I've been doing business with Wordery and Book Depository. They aren't necessarily the cheapest option, but Bill discovered that Book Depository would do free delivery where Amazon charged a large fee. If you know of other book sources, I'd love to hear about them.

So, I gave Bill and each of the step-kids a wishlist with links to alternative sources. I didn't include books as I'm still having a book clear out. Also, I know at least two of them have an umbilical cord attached to Prime and are assimilated into the cult of instant gratification. I hasten to add I'm still fond of them and am not aware either are struggling with debt. I just love book shops and want to see them survive.

As it happens Sarah was super organised and had her shopping completed before the first of December. It was around then that I made my Amazon wishlist private and sent the wish list around. 

Better Than Before, Gretchen Rubin:
I had already read this book from the library but wanted a copy to mark up, annotate, etc. It has a lot of useful information I'm planning to use. Funny enough, our WI book group read one of her other books, Happier at Home, and pretty much all the Brits really hated it. Self-help stuff is not part of British culture, as one lady I really like said, "Why doesn't she stop saying 'Be Gretchen' and just get on with it?" I loved that remark as so essentially British and yet I still like Gretchen Ruben's books even though I'm not sure I would like her as a person. The Brits saw her as incredibly self-indulgent, even though she is combining her personal wish for growth with a very lucrative writing career. 

I sort of see what they mean, but I think she is very much a 'reader's writer' in that her books are full of quotes, research and references. I never read one of her books without finding out there are several other books she mentions that I want to get hold of. 

If you can bear the idea of improving yourself (and in this case, forming better habits that make your life easier) then I really do recommend this book.

Legendary Authors and The Clothes They Wore, Terry Newman:
I read this through quickly on Christmas Day, as Bill was in bed with a cold (we opened presents on Boxing Day). Can't say I knew of all the authors, so there may be something to learn from this. Otherwise, it was generally underwhelming. I was hoping for something more than it delivered somehow. It's reminded me to copy my Amazon wishlist and visit the library first. Still, I will probably re-read it to see if I overlooked the bits that might have provided more satisfaction. I remember reading 20th Century Characters, by Duncan Fallowell and commenting here that it was rather boring. It turned out that when I re-read it a couple of years later I found it quite fascinating, mainly because I knew more about who those characters were and how they fitted into my mental puzzle of the inter-war years. So I'm prepared to give Newman's book another go. 

Instead of books this year I got some perfume (Chanel No. 5), some bath and skin products, a couple of magazine subscriptions (No Serial Number and Reclaim), some peacock feathers, all on my list; also some surprises: chocolate, wine and sloe gin.

Did you get a stack of books for Christmas?

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