I don't know Kate Bingaman-Burt personally but I'm a big fan of her daily purchase drawings -- her Obsessive Consumption blog is a daily must-read for me, and her awesome zines hold a special place on my home office bookshelves -- so I was thrilled to learn she was coming out with a book version of her work. I am happy to say that not only does this book not disappoint; it far exceeds expectations!
At first glance Obsessive Consumption is a commentary on ... well, consumption, and how what we buy defines us, but when you really sit down with this book in your hands you can see that it's so much more than that. It's also more than just a collection of pretty drawings; it's really a diary of sorts. The book is arranged in chronological order and by reading it through from beginning to end, you get a timeline of a couple of years of the author's life. From wedding rings to moving boxes to a shelter dog, from plane tickets to rental cars to parking tickets, from cups of coffee to convenience store snacks to simple toiletry items, the reader travels along with Bingaman-Burt as she navigates a marriage, a cross-country move and a job change. It's refreshingly honest, astonishingly revealing, and never boring.
Content aside, this is such a nicely made book. It's divided into sections and each section's drawings are printed in a different color of ink. The paper is satisfyingly thick and substantial, making for a nice crisp print on every page. The layout of the pages is very attractive too, with the perfect amount of white space so the different drawings don't get jumbled together. Occasional pages have the color scheme reversed -- white print against a colored background. My only criticism of the book is that I found some of the small print in Section Two, which is printed in a yellow-orange ink on a white background, difficult to read.
All in all a beautiful and oddly compelling book, one that I will look at again and again because those simple line drawings just make me so darn happy!
If you're reading this i'm guessing you've seen some of Kate Bingaman-Burt's wonderful drawings (and if you've not seek a sample or three out Now). Having had the pleasure of seeing some of the 'Obsessive Consumption' drawings before the thought of a book-format compilation seemed like a great idea - only i couldn't have known just How truly perfect a Book is for these works and this is what delivers the Untold Pleasure mentioned in the title of this review.
There's a slow-burning mystery-unfolding feeling as you turn the pages of this collection: you'll start to feel like you have a notion of who the author is by voyeuristically viewing her purchases. It's almost as if a Great Fictional Character somehow arises from an utterly Non-fiction documentation and zero actual Plot.
There are tiny notes about certain purchases that are (often inexplicably) laugh out loud funny (why is it a joy to see a drawing of shoes bought for a wedding and learn they were not eventually used? I don't know either but it's a pleasure indeed)
In a world of entertainment options verging on overload 'Obsessive Consumption' is a subtle yet complex experience. I knew I'd like this book but I didn't realize I'd Love it. CONSUME THIS BOOK!
Now this is really an interesting and creative way to develop awareness of consumption and get out of debt. Her book is a testimony to making a public commitment to manage her money better. As she was quoted recently..she had 25K worth of credit card debt....her friend asked her.."Where is the diamond tiara or the sportscar you must have bought with that?" Well she spent it on....the little things she draws..she referred to her debt as a ball of shame and then went public with it. Great idea....Dr. Mary Gresham
Oh me oh my...love this one...even though I bought for my husband. I sort of snatched it away from him and now I use it! It's just a great way to track the stuff that you buy. I didn't enjoy doing this at first but now I sort of like if!
This book is a collection of daily (almost) drawings done by the author. There is a little reading to be done, but mostly the book consists of the sketches of the author. Her drawings look to be a rather random collection, which is interesting. I think that I might have preferred a little more explanation by the author of how she chose the drawn items or how she came across them in the first place. This sampling of drawings could encourage a person to do more personal drawings of random items that cross one's path throughout the day.
OBSESSIVE CONSUMPTION: WHAT DID YOU BUY TODAY provides a fun selection of three years of the author's ink drawings of daily items accompanied by annotations, mocking her relationship with her purchases and offering insights on mass-produced items. While its likely audience will be art and drawing libraries, it shouldn't be missed by any general consumer collection - and is reviewed here for recommendation to this audience, as well.