outfit: & peonies

My boyfriend accidentally bought me these two imported peonies at $15 a pop (he thought they were $7! lol).  Over 3 days, they bloomed from dense brilliant pinks buds to these big fluffy white flowers.  They are so beautiful!  Can’t take my eyes off of them.

Here’s the outfit I wore today on my day off.  I feel at peace in it.  These second-hand Levi’s 501ct has stretched out a bit, so I’m going to wash and dry them in hopes they shrink.  The colors are nicely balanced here and the whole outfit feels in harmony with who I am and what I’m doing.

Dr. It Girl Birks and Peonies

I read Goodbye, Things (a book about new Japanese minimalism) for a second time.  Sasaki’s writing feels refreshingly ordinary.  I highly recommend.  It got me thinking a lot about how things come to define us; how we often accumulate junk because we seek to convey our worth through our things.  Once, a friend entered my apartment and looked around; he asked in horror: “Where are your books?”.  I told him: we don’t have any.  He looked at me unable to hide his disdain.  And by this point in my life, I was comfortable with myself enough to not be affected.

This friend assumed I had read a lot and might have been searching for these imaginary books hoping to relate with topics I’ve read.  Or maybe he wanted to appraise my social value through my books.  He wanted to get a quick sense of my sophistication and taste.  When I  first switched to e-Books, a part of me screamed out nooo! I was afraid I wouldn’t get credit for the things that I read.  I wanted people to be able to see and think I was smart and cool;  it was a challenge to let that mentality go.  There’s a lot of freedom once you do let that go though!  If someone wants to know what books I’ve read or anything else for that matter, they ought to have conversations with me to find out.

[outfit:  vintage fisherman sweater, Levi’s 501ct, Vietnam oatmeal socks]

10 thoughts on “outfit: & peonies

  1. I love this! Yes, people keep books around only to show off their tastes and intellectual pursuits. My husband calls them conversation starters, but they are actually just show off pieces, I think. I am saying this as a complete e-book convert. I love having all my books on a small device and being able to delete what I don’t plan to read again, though even if I keep it I know it doesn’t take any space and doesn’t build up dust either.
    Sometimes I worry that kids should grow up surrounded by books, but I think it’s enough if they grow up with parents whom they see reading extensively; that’s what really matters.

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    1. I think that’s a big reason, but don’t think that is the only reason people collect and display books. I always had a hard time finishing paper books because I couldn’t always carry it with me. With EBooks I’m reading everywhere I go.

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      1. You’re right, of course. Many people love books as physical objects. They are beautiful and very tactile. I wouldn’t want to live a life entirely devoid of books either, but I don’t need a house full of them (not now, anyway, when we have e-readers). Also, I am not a collector so it is easy for me to find fault in that mentality 😇

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  2. Ahah I’m guilty of hanging on to my books (and continuing to collect them secondhand) mainly because I get too distracted with technology or I get into the mindset of “Well, if I’m holding this tablet then I might as well be browsing the net or on my phone.”

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  3. Books were the hardest thing for me to declutter. I now has a single shelf of books I keep because I want to reread them again and again; but I’ve done that thing people *hate* which is turn their spines facing inwards. I do it for two reasons. The preserve the books (they sit in direct sunlight) and to prevent people from looking at them and judging me, or me using the books as a way of expressing my intelligence (eye rolls.) I will eventually get rid of those too.

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    1. I do that very often too. The few books I do have left are faced with the spines back. One reason is that this form of display reduces visual noise. I don’t want to look around my apartment and be confronted with titles and topics that could pull my mind in a different direction. I had a friend that read a lot but never cooked. She stored all her books in the kitchen cabinets.

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  4. Firstly, I know this isn’t a post solely about books, but the comments have become a conversation about this and I find it intriguing. I am surprised by how many people perceive books as being indicators of how ____ one is, or as being objects that “show off”. Perhaps its because I live in a small city and don’t have a competitive sense about knowledge and reading ( my experience in large cities has felt competitive in this way) or maybe its because I know people who are genuinely committed to and excited about books that I see them in a more positive light, despite the fact that they are objects and take up space. I strive for a minimalist approach in every other aspect of life, but books are just important to me.

    The way I have always felt is that my library is less about *social capital* and more akin to having a well stocked kitchen. As a writer, student and reader, books are my tools. They provide me with inspiration, insight and give me the stuff of thought. If I did away with my books, for me, it would be like losing a good wooden spoon or that perfectly seasoned cast iron skillet. Perhaps there is way to mimic this thing of books-as-tools through an e-book reader, but the physicality of a bookcase and it’s contents (where it’s placed and how the books are continuously organized and re-organized to be more useful) has been more useful to me than the PDF’s and ebooks on my laptop will ever be.

    All this being said, I do think print books are less and less relevant in the world. Recent print books are notoriously poorly made and only small presses make *nice* books anymore, for an often steeper price. Anyways, it is a big topic of conversation and I took interest in reading everyones thoughts on the book as object v. neatly stored away in an e-reader.

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    1. That’s seems like a perfectly good reason to hold onto books. If they continue to be useful or provide inspiration. Maybe a good mental “test” could be to imagine placing your books in a back room; out of sight. Would you still hold onto these books then? My guess is that you would keep them because you need them as reference material for your work. I store all my painting supplies under my bed out of sight and this helped me know that I paint to paint.

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