Jane Austen found her sister Cassandra a locket. Joan Didion bought nail enamel and a toaster on impulse. Karyn Bosnak charged $20,000 on credit cards, and Elizabeth Wurtzel got caught shoplifting. George Eliot, for some reason, hated shopping. Jane Eyre cringes at Mr Rochester's pre-wedding excess, while Undine Spragg's spending drives her husband to despair. The Girl with a Pearl Earring turns up her nose at some stale meat, Tom Ripley lusts after Venetian leather, and Mrs. Dalloway chooses flowers on Bond Street. As people began to shop more, novelists imagined them doing it. The darker side of shopping is here in the letters, diaries, and memoirs of those who remember blackmarkets and rations. There are even records from the England's central criminal court of audacious and desperate five-finger discounts, and a recent account of brawling at IKEA. The Virago Book of Shopping revels in the lists, the etiquette, and the thrills of finding just the right thing.