Is it safe to assume that most of us here in the RedRoom are avid readers? I am and have been for as long as I can remember.
As a professional marketer, I thought it might be interesting to capture a snapshot of our collective reading habits by conducting an informal, statistically-flawed survey asking, What are you reading right now? If you care to add a critique, all the better. If this is popular, I may try to do this once a quarter or so.
As Hombre well knows, I am seriously backlogged in my reading. Nonetheless, I was recently given five new books about the environment and sustainability, and one of them was No Impact Man: The Adventures of a Guilty Liberal Who Attempts to Save the Planet and the Discoveries He Makes About Himself and Our Way of Life in the Process by Colin Beavan. As it happened, I met Colin a few days ago and had an opportunity to speak with him and get the book autographed. He was a personable man, but now that I am getting down to the business of reading the book, I'm on the fence about it.
New York City based Colin and his wife and young daughter spent a year trying to live without making an impact on the environment. He blogged about it and, based on the popularity of his blog, was contracted to write this book. One of the first things the Beavan family attempted to do was reduce the amount of paper they consumed and trash they produced. No tissues, no toilet paper, no takeaway foods, no packaged products, no Starbucks. Next came reducing their carbon footprint. No processed or imported foods. No machine-powered transit. Not even the elevator to their ninth-floor apartment. I'm only about halfway through this book, but I think next up is going to be reducing power consumption. No lights, no TV, no refrigeration.
Here's what's bugging me a little bit about this book. Firstly, considering the subject matter, why isn't it an e-book? Casts doubt on the sincerity. Secondly, for someone who as recently as 2006 wasn't the least bit socially or environmentally aware, the tone is a bit preachy and the eco credibility just isn't there for me. Thirdly--and I'll admit, this is my own quirk--I have compunctions about celebrating the lives of people who simply chose to live as many in this world are forced to live because they lack American affluenza and any possibility for overconsumption. So the family used handkerchiefs instead of tissues, cloth diapers instead of disposable, Asian-style potty habits instead of American. It's kind of embarrassing to me that our sense of entitlement is so great that we would view these measures as some sort of major comedown. I can't imagine sharing this book with some of my friends who live in the developing world.
At least No Impact Man is an easier read than my prior two picks, Pretensions to Empire by Lewis Lapham and The Enemy at Home by Dinesh D'Souza. Yes, I am still on my jag of reading books about the Arab world, Islam, and the Middle East.
Causes Ellen Sheeley Supports
For All Women Foundation