Welcome to Read This Book, a newsletter where I recommend one book that should absolutely be put at the top of your TBR pile. Recommended books will vary across genre and age category and include shiny new books, older books you may have missed, and some classics I suggest finally getting around to.
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Today’s pick is a book that has had lasting effects on how I make choices every day.
Wallet Activism: How to Use Every Dollar You Spend, Earn, and Save as a Force for Change by Tanja Hester
For folks who are socially — and/or environmentally — minded, trying to “do the right thing” is a never ending battle and it is really easy to fall into despair from overwhelm and hopelessness. While major changes need to be made via policies and business practices, this book gives readers some insight as to how we can each be consumers more mindfully and in ways that do the least amount of harm.
Fair warning, this book may tell you a lot of things that you don’t want to hear, like how much of what you put into your recycling bins doesn’t actually get recycled and goes into landfills. This is also true for items that are donated to thrift shops. While the primary advice is to consume less, that is, to buy fewer disposable items and to reuse what you already own, the author recognizes that it is impossible for most if not all of us to live a zero-waste lifestyle. Such a lifestyle is not what the author is promoting anyway and that’s what I appreciate about this book. We are in a capitalist society and so, how do we make decisions that do the least amount of harm while also remaining realistic for us to do as individuals?
The answers to how we consume are going to be different for each of us and this book offers resources for us to make the most informed choices. Is being vegan actually better for the environment? What if I can’t avoid fast fashion? Is buying organic important in the grand scheme of things? Am I causing harm by buying things from large department stores or multi-billion dollar websites? Is the bank I use evil? This book helps readers tease out the often complicated answers to these questions and more while giving us additional questions to ask ourselves when we make decisions about how we spend (or give) our money.
While so many folks are very heavy-handed and “black and white” about these things, this book does an excellent job of exploring the grey areas to help us each make decisions that we can feel good about.
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That’s it for now, book-lovers!
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