By Jennifer Armstrong
March 01, 2006 at 05:00 AM EST

Not Buying It

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Judith Levine joins the ranks of authors who do crazy stuff (like reading the Encyclopædia Britannica) and then write books about it — in her case, giving up buying anything but ”necessities” for a year. But Levine lends her project global implications with thorough reporting about everything from consumer psychology to the decline of public libraries. She sells the heavy stuff by interweaving it with her lighter personal quandaries: Can she live without her beloved Smart-Wool socks? Are Q-tips a necessity? And, best of all, while she makes you want to repent for your greed more than a few times, she also points out the absurdities of ”voluntary simplicity” and recognizes the soul-stirring happiness implicit in finding a perfect new pair of heels, making Not Buying It well worth its price.

Not Buying It

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