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Give It Up!: My Year of Learning to Live Better with Less Hardcover – January 1, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
Who better than a professional clutter and space control expert to write about doing with less? Serially, during the course of a year, Carlomagno gave up alcohol, newspapers, shopping, dining out, taxis, cell phones and television for one month each. Writing in an easy, anecdotal style, she describes what she gained from each sacrifice. While forsaking alcohol during January, for example, she became aware of the peer pressure to drink. Subsequently, Carlomagno ordered her favorite dirty martini only when she really desired one. In April she ceased her daily reading of the New York Times and found a new appreciation for poetry; she also joined a reading group. A July spent abstaining from TV and videos allowed time for nightly walks, listening to music and completing chores around her apartment—activities that had previously been crammed into the weekend. Carlomagno's reactions to her renunciations, which overall, she feels, enriched her emotionally, make for entertaining reading, although only those who can afford such indulgences as dining out frequently will be able to enjoy the luxury of doing without them.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“Mary Carlomagno’s warm, humorous, best-friendly guide into the intimidating world of self-control proves that denial isn’t punishment and that less really can be more.” (Barrie Dolnick, author of Instructions for Your Discontent and Enlighten Up )
“Inspirational and thought provoking” (Library Journal )
“Book for a Better Life” selection (Timeonline.com )
“Refreshing, inspiring, and honest, Give It Up! reminds us of just how much better off we are with a little less. One book I’m not going to be ‘giving up’ anytime soon.” (Nicole Williams, author of Earn What You’re Worth: A Wildly Sophisticated Approach to Investing in Your Career and Yourself ) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
The topics were covered with such a superficial treatment that they felt like magazine fluff pieces: All style and no substance. I quit halfway through the book after leafing ahead and seeing no redemption in the near future.
And anyone who has THAT much trouble giving up drinking for a month might seriously want to consider a treatment program.
The merits having been said, there is however much room for improvement.
One thing I don't feel comfortable with is that sometimes the author goes back and forth in time in the narrative of one month's experience. It is sometimes confusing.
The author's way of writing and choice of words remind me of Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City. Well, she could have been more original with her own unique style.
The author has many interesting thoughts on each topic. But they are scattered around in her flowing narrative. It would be better if she could say more at the end of each chapter. On the other hand, I feel that her thoughts are a little commonsensical. But again it is easy reading. She probably doesn't want to be too philosophical.
There are some other interesting topics that she could have written on. For example, addiction to computer and internet. I use the internet a lot every day, even if I don't know what to do on the internet. Sometimes I will just click around without any specific direction.
All in all this is a fun little book for girls to read. It's okay for guys too, but maybe some male writer can write such a book for guys?
Instead, I discovered a spoiled consumer who, try as I might, I could not like. She came across as arrogant and not the least bit introspective or serious. After reading this book, I believed she cooked the whole thing up as a flimsy excuse to write a book. I did not believe for a minute that she had made any long term changes in her life as a result of her experiences.
Through each of her months of self-delial, she takes her friends and family on a trip that I'm sure they'd just as soon skip. Cancelling dinner dates because she couldn't have a cocktail? And the inconvenience she put her friends through during the month she gave up her cell phone is not to be believed. It's a wonder she has any friends left. "Hey, c'mon, guys, I have a CHAPTER to write here -- just hang in there!"
I would have been more impressed if she'd thought out each item carefully, and done some true introspection: "What makes sense here? What am I truly trying to accomplish? How could my life change for the better as a result of my doing this?"
I could have forgiven even all of that if she had been a good writer. In the hands of a competent writer, each of her chapters could have been hilarious, even in their shallowness. But she denies us even that.
Skip this book. I'm sending mine back.
This lightweight book did touch on some soulsearching, but when each month was over, she gleefully returned to each of her vices. I didn't expect her to give up her cell phone forever, but I don't really see the purpose of giving up alcohol or mega-shopping only for a month. The author had piles of clothes in her closet with the tags still on them, and fancy books she bought only because they look good on her bookshelf. She has bought into the commercialization of Christmas, with long lists of gifts to buy with a click of a mouse and frantic re-gifting...totally missing the point that Christmas isn't about gifts in the first place.
She and her friends meet for binge drinking on a regular basis, gossiping and getting sloshed in public. To avoid social ostracism, she feebly explains to these friends that her "one month only" ban on alcohol is just for research purposes.
Overall she comes across as a shallow and appearance-conscious young woman who flirts briefly with real lifestyle changes in order to write a book.
The only part of the book I really connected with was her month of not eating out. I liked the way she applied herself to learning to make wholesome homemade food, and honoring traditional family recipes. In a fast food nation, more of us need to do this very thing. As I read this chapter, I kept thinking, "instead of moaning over not being able to join friends at a restaurant, why not invite them over and cook a great meal for them?"
I'm continuing in my search for a book written by someone who gives up coffee or turns off the TV forever, and sees it as a positive move.