Online shopping in times of sheltering

The Object of Art. The Theory of Illusion in Eighteenth-Century France. Marian Hobson, 1982

Spending longer time at home is a mild enabler for online purchases…

I ordered some organic seeds to attempt window-sill “gardening”. Mixed salad, Italian basil and rocket salad will be planted in whatever minimal space a London flat with no balcony allows. The greens will have to compete with the few resident flowers.

I also looked at books.

As a child and teen I “devoured” books. Nowadays I hardly manage to finish reading one, which is a sad thing indeed. I suspect the rise of technology at one’s fingertips has affected my concentration levels. There are studies on how tech, allowing a constant state of alert and stimuli, might affect the capacity of the brain to concentrate and perform. Gone are the days of sweet lazy relaxing time.

So it’s not really sensible buying books… In principle, I’m a curious person with various interests, so maybe that’s the reason why I do it?

As a minor justification, I recently sold, unwillingly, a beautiful set of antique books (Old and New London, 1881). A number of books, CDs and DVDs were also rehoused through MusicMagpie (normally I would donate them, but now charity points are shut, so they were sold).

What are these new (second-hand) books?

The Object of Art. The Theory of Illusion in Eighteenth-Century France. Marian Hobson, 1982

A Wicked Company: The Forgotten Radicalism of the European Enlightenment. Philipp Blom

Enlightening the world : Encyclopédie, the book that changed the course of history. Philipp Blom

I’ve become enamoured of 18th century artefacts and am collecting what I can from that era – books, minor silver and clothing. It was a period of seminal changes in Western history and I’m keen to better understand that time and way of life.

Is there an era that fascinates you?



13 thoughts on “Online shopping in times of sheltering

  1. Julia says:

    The Enlightenment is a really fascinating era, and so is the 18th Century – I once had a lecture course about it (regarding the Sensibility novels an Scottish Enlightenment), and it was super interesting.

    YAY for windowsill gardening! I have bought cress the other week, and we still have to sow it though.

    • itwasjudith says:

      I watched a documentary in which they explained the theme of Sensibility, which I wasn’t aware of. Jane Austen’s book title made a bit more sense then. If university courses weren’t so expensive here, I’d love to take an art history and history degree… (the one I have already burnt a hole in my pocket).
      I already “planted” some carrots and radish seeds that were given away at the local supermarket – some carrot leaves are coming up 🙂
      I thought it would be nice to have some salad leaves and fresh herbs instead of buying packaged ones. Easter holiday might be the perfect time to saw the seeds.
      Have a nice day!

      • Julia says:

        OH, I LOVE Sense and Sensibility!! I love that Austen wrote at least TWO books out of spite – sense and Sensibility an Northanger Abbey, and if you watch the movie with Kate Winslet and Emma Thompson, then you get exactly what they meant (I think it’s on Netflix, at least here). There were quite a few authors who started to ridicule the Sensibility Concept. (Another novel you could read is “A Sentimental Journey”, that also hits on the Grand Tour a lot of young people took). And, you could of course read Leviathan, which isn’t blasphemic, just took a broader approach. 😉

        Have a great day!!

      • itwasjudith says:

        Wow, thanks for the many leads for future watch/read… I should start a list!
        By the way, I’m watching Anne with an E 🙂 nice one!

      • Julia says:

        Hooray!! I still have some of the books we discussed, if you need anything else, drop me a line. 😉

      • itwasjudith says:

        I had some Jane Austen’s tapes (audio books) but I sold them because I wasn’t familiar with the period and themes, so they wouldn’t have made much sense to me…
        I took note of the books you kindly recommended – hopefully at some point I can get enough concentration to read them 🙂
        I wish my focusing skills would be better… how do you manage to read so much without distractions?

      • Julia says:

        Mhm … for me, it depends. I can count the number of books I finished in one sitting on one hand, and it always depends on the book, of course! I certainly think that finding the patience for reading again – larger portions without getting distracted – is somethings that you can practice. Read a bit everyday, without a timer, put your phone in another room (I don’t have a smartphone so there is nothing beside me that goes bing! every two minutes) and just try. If you feel the urge to get up and do something else remain seated for a bit, just for a bit, so you can practice holding that urge and it will become easier with time. If it helps, I am easily distracted when I’m working for the PhD, too, and modern technology has reduced the time of focus. There is one book that I meant to read (but can’t get my hands on right now), which is called “Deep Work” (by Cal Newport). I want to try this, and maybe it would help looking into?

      • itwasjudith says:

        Thank you for the sensible advice. Your suggestions make sense , I think tech has become so disruptive that is an addiction . I’ll look up that book

      • itwasjudith says:

        Turns out, my other half has it already 🙂 so I might borrow it

  2. Julia says:

    Hooray for this!! Let me know how you like it. 🙂

  3. My mother and daughter are the history buffs. I’m a present moment kind of person with an eye forward. History is very important so you don’t keep repeating the same mistakes but I don’t read it unless it’s memoir. I’m sorry you had to sell such vintage books. I have a hard time letting go of books too but sometimes we have to lighten the load on the floor. Hopefully, I’ll get outside today and have a look at my little garden space and see what can be done. Good luck with the seedlings. Keep well.

    • itwasjudith says:

      Thanks for visiting and your kind comment 🙂
      You’re right, sometimes we have to let it go, so I did 🙂 In the end, it’s not the end of the world!
      I love history, actually I love many different subjects, history being one of the predominant ones. It’s good that we all have different approaches to life and we can complement each other… the world would be soooo boring if we all were the same!!
      Some of the seedlings I planted previously have now come out and quickly growing – it’s nice to watch them 🙂
      Sending you hugs and best wishes ❤

  4. I’m an Anglophile and a tea drinker! Whenever we travel over the pond, we manage to find old treasures to incorporate into our tea service!
    I never really need an excuse to shop on-line! I will say though that my pandemic purchases have all involved delicious treats, stretchy clothing or lovely books.

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