Choose a political or social issue that matters to you. Find several books addressing that issue; they don’t have to books you’ve read, just books you might like to read. Using images (of the book covers or whatever you feel illustrates your topic) present these books in your blog.

As part of the assignment, Dewey posted a link to social issues, but mine doesn’t appear on that list. Perhaps it’s not a social issue after all, but I feel like it is, and it’s becoming more and more so. The mounting debt and lack of savings in our country are only two examples of how materialism and overspending have become major issues in our nation. As an issue, this is something I have struggled with for years, having come from a family of horders and learning a lifelong lesson when I had to dig myself out of more than $35,000 in credit card debt I accrued in college (I’m still working on the student loans). I now try to keep my possessions to a minimum, but I still struggle. It’s not an easy thing today to say no to wanting things, especially when there is SO MUCH to want. So here are a few books I’m either reading, or planning on reading, to help me understand spending habits and how to keep them under control.

I’m currently reading Dematerializing: Taming the Power of Possessions by Jane Hammerslough. So far I’m not impressed by the book. It seems like a bunch of psychobabble rather than tips on how to maintain a budget and control impulse buying. I was also hoping there would be tips in there about how to dematerialize, you know, get rid of all the junk. But I’m only about 4 chapters in so maybe it gets better (fingers crossed).

In my TBR list I also have Shop Your Closet by Melanie Charleton Fascitelli. I’m really looking forward to this book, but am waiting to read it until I move into my new place in August. I figure since I’ve got to move all my clothes anyway it will be the perfect time for me to get organized and take a look at everything I have in there with a critical eye (when moving I tend to throw tons of stuff away as a way to lighten my load). Shop Your Closet seems ideal for most women, who, if they’re like me, tend to hold on to clothes for years and years without knowing really what they have. In her book Fascitelli argues that instead of going shopping when you feel like wearing something new, maybe you can just go through the old part of your closet and find something you perhaps forgot about. Maybe it’s not for everyone, but certainly appeals to me.

A non-self help type book dealing with materialism is The High Price of Materialism by Tim Kasser. From Amazon:Kasser, a psychology professor at Knox College, certainly does. Drawing on an impressive range of statistical studies, including ones that use his own ‘Aspiration Index,’ Kasser argues that a materialistic orientation toward the world contributes to low self-esteem, depression, antisocial behavior and even a greater tendency to get ‘headaches, backaches, sore muscles, and sore throats.'” I’d like to read this book just to see the stats.

Lastly, I think The Overspent American: Why We Want What We Don’t Need sounds like an interesting read. In her book, Juliet B. Schor “notes that, despite rising wealth and incomes, Americans do not feel any better off. In fact, we tell pollsters we do not have enough money to buy everything we need. And we are almost as likely to say so if we make $85,000 a year as we are if we make $35,000. Schor believes that “keeping up with the Joneses” is no longer enough for today’s media-savvy office workers.” Although this book was published in 1999, I think it still applies to our society today.

Oh, wait, one more: For a fun read, I recommend Sophie Kinsella’s Confessions of a Shopaholic. If you’ve ever been a shopaholic you will laugh hysterically at all the antics Becky Bloomwood uses to try to avoid her mounting debt proble (everything aside from paying her bills). When I read this book I identified so solidly with the main character that it was a bit disconcerting. Although I’m ashamed to admit it now, there are several things she does in the book that I have personally done myself.

Another book that has been recommended to me is Rich Dad, Poor Dad, but somehow I’m just not i
nterested in it. I’ve been told by numerous people that I should pick it up, but I have yet to add it to my TBR list. Has anyone out there read it and done a review on it? Perhaps one of you can change my mind.