Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Not Buying It! Review (Part II)

I'm going to continue with my review of the book, Not Buying It!, with the next three chapters covering March, April, and May and as with my first review, will just choose to focus on a few of the topics that caught my interest.

In March, one of the topics that Levine delved into was the nature of ethnic neighborhoods and the shopping advantages therein. She and Paul had returned from their rustic country cabin to their NYC apartment and went to Chinatown to avail themselves of their favorite things. It reminded me of my trips to the Valley, and in particular Reseda, to do the same because of the variety and the low prices. In Reseda, I can find Korean markets, Latino markets, Vietnamese markets, Arab markets and more! And there are the small restaurants and take-away places. Of course, other parts of LA have their ethnic neighborhoods--the San Gabriel Valley is the jewel of Asian markets, shopping and businesses. There are Armenian neighborhoods in Glendale, Indian in Artesia, Vietnamese in Westminster, Cuban in Burbank, Ethiopian in mid-Wilshire to just name a few. That's one of the great things about LA--all the diversity!

In April Levine joined a group called Voluntary Simplicity. She and a few others had signed up for a course on following "frugal consumption, ecological awareness and personal growth." She wrote about their discussions and individual members and their challenges. I was inspired to think that there are enough people who care enough to live simple lives to take group action. I'm sure there are many out there--it's just that they're not too apparent in my neighborhood!

In May, the main theme was scarcity but the part that grabbed me was her critique of government support of public art and museums. It's true that our country does not support the arts to the extent that European countries do. And, libraries are an integral part of supporting the arts. It's also a standard in frugal living to go to libraries to borrow books or to visit museums on the free days. So, it becomes an interesting question--how can we and how much should we direct our tax dollars toward art and literary efforts. Those of us who are frugalistas certainly love to use these kinds of cultural amenities!

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