Donating a Beloved Book

It was a picture of a blonde with blue headscarf, pearl earrings and pink lipstick — almost like a Vemeer’s. I was captivated at the first glance.

In the logic of “time first, money second”, I did not want to pay a visit to the book store every a few days just to patronise the art work and so I bought the book. I spent $131 just for a single page. It isn’t even on my bookshelf anymore for I have donated it to my secondary school art teacher. It’s now a minor asset of her art reference corner.

I didn’t regret buying or donating it as I read into the fate of the book. It can either sit on its bored owner’s dusty book shelf or once in a while be discovered by and inspire a group of art students.

I know how much I’d love to read an newly published illustration book rather than the older ones when I was a student. Of course I could see buying a book but not owning it until the end of my life as a waste of money, but it could also be a present from “the new me” to “the old me”.

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Ethical Shopping (My First Purchase After A Year-long Book Detox)

During my gap year/spiritual journey in 2011-2012, I found the dharma talks given by Ching Kung master (a Chinese Buddhist monk) so enriching that I didn’t feel like reading anything secular, except for teaching purpose (like the poems and short stories covered in the syllabus of HKDSE English Literature).

During that period of time, it was kind of a guilty pleasure for me to buy this book called Bonjour, Happiness. To be honest, I didn’t even need this book, as I considered myself quite qualified as a French in most aspects of my lifestyle. If it doesn’t cover anything that I don’t know already, why did I buy it?

Well, I spent half an afternoon reading in an air-conditioned, well-lit and spacious bookstore, so it would be morally wrong to walk out of it without leaving anything behind aside from a few strings of hair from the mindless brushing and twirling while reading… I am kidding!

The true reason was, I wanted to be an ethical buyer. As a minimalist, I believe I bear a certain degree of responsibility in supporting the ideas of finding happiness in a less materialistic approach as preached by the author Jamie Cat Callan.

Before that, I hadn’t really picked up a book and walked to the counter for nearly a year. There was only this one time when I wandered around a nearby district and discovered an underground used bookstore with over ten cats lying and jumping around.

I don’t want this place, the home of those cats, to close down but I know it probably will someday as people are less inclined to paperbacks. I want to help with the rent, even by just a few pennies. Besides the boss kindly directed me how to get to my destination. In return I bought a few used books there.

Another example of ethical shopping was I bought a packet of baking soda for $10 at a bakery supply store when I could get the exact same box for $9.5 at a chained supermarket. To which store my money goes to matters because each dollar speaks for what I support. I wanted to support a local store which specialised in baking so I opted to spend my money there.

Compared to this guy here in Hong Kong who started his one-man campaign of not buying things from corporation chain stores for a year, I am only doing so little.

I hope by sharing how little we can do to implement the notion of ethical shopping that more people will join the league and make this world a kinder place.

📚女文青閱讀筆記📚Laduree 精美彩色書 fine art of living

下班後運動前到誠品走一趟。想買的日本時裝雜誌《美欣百花》還沒有貨,卻一本粉紅色的,拿上手蠻重的方形書吸引著。通常在書店以透明膠袋包裹的書本都是貴價書,這本也是。(標價HKD350…)

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為了節省多餘開支,早日「上車」(香港人指的首次置業),吾只好期盼聖誕老人送一個copy。

吾不爽地放下,卻又馬上以手機google國外讀者的book reviews,找來一些插圖:

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光是這些插圖,相信就不會失望了。

從《法國女人不會胖》計起,「法國生活美學」為題的書而風行近十年了吧?直到今時今日大家依家嚮往著有如神話般的法式生活,大概是因為這種活在當下的活法「知易行難」,因而是個讀者們永恆的想像?

All photos sourced from the Internet. No copyright infringement intended.

📋資訊精良計劃 Information Management📋(5) 如何節省讀書時間

看書一定要學會撮取自己需要的部份。

為了照顧大眾的需要,工具書會盡量擴大涵蓋範圍,搏取更多讀者購買。

精明的讀者,要很清楚並選取自己所需要的部份來跳讀。

根據個人讀書經驗,現在的工具書,喜以一套獨特的思考模式為題,再以大小故事印證這套觀念。

現代人消化不了沒副標題的書,因此,編輯會按文章大意設立標題。

那麼,就算不看那些佔據七成內容(且不知是真有其事還是作者吹噓)的故事,光看目錄便能掌握作者的見解。

尤其是一直信服的作者所出的新著作,真的大可安心只讀目錄頁,若有興趣才細讀其中的章節。

不過呢,一些聰明的編輯已開始用問題的形式立副標題了。例如把「睡眠能增加瘦素」的標題寫成「如何睡著瘦?」,此時,就不得不老實翻書了。

📋資訊精良計劃 Information Management📋(4) 精挑好書

精打細算,慎買書本,不是為了節省金錢這麼簡單,更重要的是以防接受有礙消化的資訊。

藥,能醫人亦能毒人,同理,劣質書本也害人不淺。

有些書,根本稱不上是書,當中的理念經不起考驗,只不過是「紙版資訊」。

吃藥,最好經醫生處方。 看書,也最好經老師推薦。

自行挑選的書籍,請務必從頭到尾,完完整整地讀。

有些看似離經背道的情節,可能是作者設計的反面教材,若你沒讀到角色受教訓的情節便棄讀,可能會曲解作者的意思啊。

圖書館尋書無穫

在圖書館花了半小時才選到兩本書,才發現我喜歡看的書窄了很多。

  • 以前見一本借一本的兩性關係書和女性修養書,現在已經看膩了。
  • 對談寫作的書也失去熱忱,覺得累積經驗比空談理論為上。
  • 沒耐性讀藉小故事講大道理的書。看故事我會選經典文學,要啟示我會選直接傳授行動計劃的self help,我不要內容疑似虛構的心靈雞湯。
  • 本地半藝人半作者的散文連翻看的意欲也沒有。香港人寫的都是表面現象,文字很浮躁;人家台灣人會深入觀察一件事才下結論,或不下結論只聊感覺。
  • 林徽茵、張愛玲等才女的作品也沒興趣。雖知她們的經歷很豐富,但對於上個世紀的用字很不習慣。
  • 過份著重環境描述的日本文學也令人打呵欠。

嚴苛得一本書也沒借到。要為省下時間而讚自己精明嗎?還是應該為偏讀落得的下場準備呢?

Instead of Buying New Books

I realized I was buying more reading materials than I could actually make time to read. That wouldn’t be a problem if I were married to a rich man but in reality, I have a budget to follow in order to achieve my goal of living on my own and my expenditure on books has to be tightened. Besides, I felt like I was only pleasing my ego the moment I bought all the great reads. Later when I saw my book shelf, I disappointed myself for not finishing them. To stop being one of those people who foolishly believe themselves to be knowledgeable just because they own a copy of a great title, I’ve set 10 rules to stick to.

1. re-read my own journals

2. re-read PSYCHOLOGY magazines

3. refer to my doki doki (怦然心動) scrapbook and folder

4. re-read books on writing skills

5. re-read proses of styles that I want to follow

6. visit great blogs

7. re-read old e-mails to/from friends

8. visit favourite posts on my tumblr and weibo

9. visit photo albums on my mac and picasa

10. read any other reading materials that I’ve yet done with