Saturday, November 17, 2007

Inconsequential Saturday....

This is where I write about any old dross that happens to pop into my head at the moment, most of it from the past week.

First off, I am currently reading "The Pillars of the Earth". I can not put this book down. I am reading it in the bathroom, on the treadmill, in front of the TV, in the garden. My hand is cramped from holding it. That is how good it is. Seriously, I recommend it. It's long. Nearly 1000 pages but each page is so richly written that it reminds me of Taylor Caldwell. You feel very present in the world Ken Follett has woven.

Ordinarily I don't jump on bandwagons, particularly the Oprah bandwagon. In my own defense, I bought the book two days before she announced it as her pick. It was prominently displayed at the bookstore and I had no idea it would be Oprah's Book Club Selection.

That said.... :)

Thanks for the responses about my vanity dilemma. Yes, these things are a dilemma for me. I'm a purist in most senses of that. As a friend of mine once said, if I was a Christian, I would be a fundamentalist Christian. I'm very aware of that tendency in my own thinking. If we don't truly live something, how can we claim to believe it?

I'm also on the ascetic side. Pleasure is hard for me. Not because I believe it gains me any particular merit but because somewhere in the hardwiring of my brain, I've connected pleasure for pleasure's sake with Bad Things. So when I believe I might be using the clothing for the wrong reason, it makes me question my own motives.

The clothing is to remind me where my home is, where my soul is at most peace. Doing something that, something so physical and obvious, keeps my mind focused.

But I can see where it's certainly acceptable for others to find pleasure in it. And I want to accept that graciously.

I read a post that disturbed me this week. Let's just say it was entrepreneurism gone wacky. It is only one example of the lowering of taste and class in a culture that seems to be in freefall. Marketing for the sake of marketing, not because it improves the world or our place in it, but simply because it can be marketed without any particular backlash. People have become desensitized.

And a part of me wants to get up on the soapbox and encourage people to mindfully consume, to choose purchases carefully and look not only at the object itself but where the object fits into a larger construct. That part of me is winning at the moment.

Someone once told me that everything we do is a political statement. Not political in the horse race sense of that, but political in the sense that we are supporting certain values, certain ethics and a way of life by the way we choose to consume and what we choose to consume.

I believe this is true. Nothing exists in a bubble. While it is far from me to interfere in the holidays that are coming up for most of the people who read here (not for me, thankfully), I would ask that. Directly. Please. Be careful. Choose carefully.

Your choices matter.

Okay. Enough dross for one day.



Blog Antagonist said...

Pillars of the Earth is one of my all time favorite books. I am currently re-reading it because Ken Follett just released the long awaited sequel...EIGHTEEN years after POE was written. I can't wait to get my hands on it.

The rest of your post was thought provoking as always.

Rimarama said...

I'm always a bit miffed when a book I love makes the Oprah list. I know it's silly, but there it is.

Julie Pippert said...

That book is the quintessential model for blockbuster quality writing. There are writing guides based on it.

So glad you are enjoying it.

I think we need to live mindfully. I believe in choices with thought behind them even if I disagree. From outside, it might seem a compromise that compromises the ethics or belief system but I consider there to be a range. Black and white and absolutes make me uncomfortable. Largely because there is no way to know how you'd respond in a situation or what life might ask of you, nd to have hard and fast rules...well, maybe it's for some. Works for my dad (fundie Christian) but not so much for me.

Using My Words

Anvilcloud said...

I've never read Follett but someone else was just telling me what a fine writer he is.

jen said...

i've never read follett but i, too am going to jump on the bandwagon.

and i hear you about mindfulness. am struggling with my own non consumer version today.

slouching mom said...

yes. the state of our bank account is forcing us to be very, very mindful this holiday season.

(though we would have been, anyway...)

flutter said...

I always hate it when she recommends a book that I like because then I feel dirty. Damn it ;)

heartinsanfrancisco said...

A culture in freefall. Great, great description, sadly.

I think that only you would question your motives in wearing the clothing that reminds you of your soul's home. To most people who don't know you at all, they're just pretty. And that's really okay.

Speaking of clothing, I have a little something for you at my place. :)

Emily R said...

That is quite true. Everything we do reflects our system of values. Our words, our clothing, and certainly our behavior.

Anonymous said...

I read this book in 1990. It took me almost ALL year to read it. It was like 1000 pages and went into great details that at one point made me skip ahead. I was a very impatient 19 year old. Mind you, when I was finished reading it, absorbed it, condensed it, it was an amazing tale. Glad you like it.

thailandchani said...

BA, a sequel? Oh, fantastic! I'll definitely be reading it!


Rima, I feel the same way about it. Somehow Oprah choosing it cheapens it. Yet some of her selections have been really good. Still.. I don't like riding pop culture bandwagons.

I won't let it ruin the book though.


Julie, there is a range.. agreed.. but ultimately, there is right and wrong. There's a right side of the continuum and a wrong side. I try to live my beliefs as best I can. Of course like everyone else, sometimes I fail miserably.


Anvil, I'd read a few spy novels and they were pretty good.. but gave no indication that he is *this* talented!


Jen, mindfulness is hard work, eh?


SM, I just never understood the whole Christmas thing. Really. I just didn't.. and don't. Would Jesus run up his credit cards to play social politics once a year?

Neh. Probably not. :)


Flutter, yeah.. I know what you mean. From literature to pop culture in one 15-second TV segment.


Susan, I have an annoying habit of questioning everything. Really. Sometimes I even get on my own nerves but it comes naturally.


Emily, I can't get beyond that. Yes, it does.


Reflecting, I never would have been able to read this book at 19. In fact, I couldn't have read it in 1990 ~ and a lot older than 19! In 1990, I was just a dolt.



Christine said...

i hear ya on avoiding the oprah bandwagon. but a good book is a good book, and i am glad you've given me the recommendation.

and i believe that we vote with our dollar and that what we buy (or don't buy) matter quite a bit. we do our best and each year i feel like i am being a bit more mindful of what i buy, especially for my children. but i still fail and falter. i am trying my very hardest.

Raz Godelnik said...

This is a great book, we what about the green side of this selection?

You are welcome to read my thoughts on sustainable reading following the selection of this 973-page book (as well asd a green offer to its eco-conscious readers):

Raz Godelnik

thailandchani said...

Christine, that's the best any of us can do. It's impossible to be completely "pure" ~ but as long as we try the best we can, that must count for something. :)


Raz, the only green side to your entire message is your toadiness. Get lost.


crazymumma said...

I am on Book Four of Harry Potter. If I do not read the series then my older daughter will be 'very upset with me'. I love the series, and I love speaking with her aboutt hem even more.

niobe said...

I was just thinking the other day how happy I am to be able to opt out of Christmas with its difficult set of choices and dilemmas.