Saturday, November 21, 2015

"The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up" by Marie Kondo

I had read so much about "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing" by Marie Kondo in several magazines.  I picked this up much earlier this year as I wanted help getting my house organized.  I was hoping that this would be the book that would completely change my mindset and my life.

I didn't get as much out of this book as I would have liked.  There were a few things that I did like about her tips.  I did like how Kondo talked about letting go of the sentimental value of things that are cluttering up your life.  She also talked about not stocking up on too many things since they take up valuable space.  This is hard for me since I like to coupon and get items on sale and/or free when I can.  Kondo also wants you to ask yourself if an item brings you joy when you are deciding whether or not to keep it.  This helped me recently when I was moving and wanted to purge some of my decor items, clothing, and housewives that I didn't want to pack and move.

I would recommend this book to someone who is wanting to break away from the psychological part of clutter an decluttering.  If you are looking for someone to tell you how to organize your stuff, there are several other books out there that are better than this one.

Overview from Barnes and Noble:
This #1 New York Times best-selling guide to decluttering your home from Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo takes readers step-by-step through her revolutionary KonMari Method for simplifying, organizing, and storing.
Despite constant efforts to declutter your home, do papers still accumulate like snowdrifts and clothes pile up like a tangled mess of noodles?
Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo takes tidying to a whole new level, promising that if you properly simplify and organize your home once, you’ll never have to do it again. Most methods advocate a room-by-room or little-by-little approach, which doom you to pick away at your piles of stuff forever. The KonMari Method, with its revolutionary category-by-category system, leads to lasting results. In fact, none of Kondo’s clients have lapsed (and she still has a three-month waiting list). 
With detailed guidance for determining which items in your house “spark joy” (and which don’t), this international bestseller featuring Tokyo’s newest lifestyle phenomenon will help you clear your clutter and enjoy the unique magic of a tidy home—and the calm, motivated mindset it can inspire.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

"Ghost Boy" by Martin Pistorius

When I was working out at the gym one night, I saw an interview on CNN with Martin Pistorius.  At the age of 12, he became ill and slowly his body degenerated to the point he could not speak or communicate and he became a quadriplegic.  He was in this state for 10 years, the entire time, fully conscious of what was going on outside of him and how he was being treated.  It wasn't until a caregiver noticed him starting to respond and recommended that his parents take him to get tested to check to see if he was responsive.

Today, Martin owns his own business, is married, and uses a computer and word board to communicate (don't want to spoil anything, but this info is on the cover.  He wrote Ghost Boy: The Miraculous Escape of a Misdiagnosed Boy Trapped Inside His Own Body.  The interview was so fascinating, I knew that I had to know more about how he went from a healthy child to ending up as a quadriplegic and how he learned how to communicate with the world again.  I went straight out and picked up the book.

It was a great book.  I would recommend it to everyone.  A lot of times, people in wheelchairs are passed by on the street without a glance, or with a negative glance, or with no one considering that they have thoughts/feelings/etc and can hear.  This book reminds us to be kind to everyone, no matter their circumstances.  It also reminds you that anything is possible if you work hard for it.

They all thought he was gone. But he was alive and trapped inside his own body for ten years.
In January 1988 Martin Pistorius, aged twelve, fell inexplicably sick. First he lost his voice and stopped eating. Then he slept constantly and shunned human contact. Doctors were mystified. Within eighteen months he was mute and wheelchair-bound. Martin's parents were told an unknown degenerative disease left him with the mind of a baby and less than two years to live.
Martin was moved to care centers for severely disabled children. The stress and heartache shook his parents’ marriage and their family to the core. Their boy was gone. Or so they thought.
Ghost Boy is the heart-wrenching story of one boy’s return to life through the power of love and faith. In these pages, readers see a parent’s resilience, the consequences of misdiagnosis, abuse at the hands of cruel caretakers, and the unthinkable duration of Martin’s mental alertness betrayed by his lifeless body.
We also see a life reclaimed—a business created, a new love kindled—all from a wheelchair. Martin's emergence from his own darkness invites us to celebrate our own lives and fight for a better life for others.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

"Not That Kind of Girl" by Lena Dunham

When "Girls" first came out on HBO, I started watching it.  It was a good show, but wasn't one that I was super into.  I cancelled my HBO subscription between seasons of True Blood, so I missed many episodes of Girls.  Last summer I caught up on the first few seasons of Girls.  It's a good show, but still not enough to make me shell out the money for the HBO subscription.

When I saw that Lena Dunham had a new book coming out, Not That Kind of Girl, I was curious, but wasn't sure I was going to read it.  Then I kept seeing reviews popping up everywhere that said that this book was great.  So of course I had to pick it up.

It's actually a surprisingly good read! She has some funny stories and gets very descriptive in some parts, but you can see what she has truly learned from life and from these life situations.  It's a very good read and sometimes you think "where is she going with this chapter" and then she ties it up really well.  I would definitely recommend this book.

Overview from Barnes & Noble:
For readers of Nora Ephron, Tina Fey, and David Sedaris, this hilarious, poignant, and extremely frank collection of personal essays confirms Lena Dunham—the acclaimed creator, producer, and star of HBO’sGirls—as one of the brightest and most original writers working today.

“If I could take what I’ve learned and make one menial job easier for you, or prevent you from having the kind of sex where you feel you must keep your sneakers on in case you want to run away during the act, then every misstep of mine was worthwhile. I’m already predicting my future shame at thinking I had anything to offer you, but also my future glory in having stopped you from trying an expensive juice cleanse or thinking that it was your fault when the person you are dating suddenly backs away, intimidated by the clarity of your personal mission here on earth. No, I am not a sexpert, a psychologist, or a dietician. I am not a mother of three or the owner of a successful hosiery franchise. But I am a girl with a keen interest in having it all, and what follows are hopeful dispatches from the frontlines of that struggle.”

"The Silver Star" by Jeannette Walls

I love any book by Jeannette Walls.  Her books are always humorous and always have eccentric characters.  Of course I had to pick up The Silver Star when I saw it in Barnes & Noble.  It took me a little longer to read it than I would have liked due to being busy.  But it was a great book and I would definitely recommend any book of hers.  The characters are eccentric but you always root for them in their story.

Overview from Barnes & Noble's website:

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Glass Castle, Jeannette Walls’ gripping new novel that "transports us with her powerful storytelling...She contemplates the extraordinary bravery needed to confront real-life demons in a world where the hardest thing to do may be to not run away" (O, The Oprah Magazine).
It is 1970 in a small town in California. “Bean” Holladay is twelve and her sister, Liz, is fifteen when their artistic mother, Charlotte, takes off to find herself, leaving her girls enough money to last a month or two. When Bean returns from school one day and sees a police car outside the house, she and Liz decide to take the bus to Virginia, where their widowed Uncle Tinsley lives in the decaying mansion that’s been in Charlotte’s family for generations.
An impetuous optimist, Bean soon discovers who her father was, and hears stories about why their mother left Virginia in the first place. Money is tight, and the sisters start babysitting and doing office work for Jerry Maddox, foreman of the mill in town, who bullies his workers, his tenants, his children, and his wife. Liz is whip-smart—an inventor of word games, reader of Edgar Allan Poe, nonconformist. But when school starts in the fall, it’s Bean who easily adjusts, and Liz who becomes increasingly withdrawn. And then something happens to Liz in the car with Maddox.
Jeannette Walls has written a deeply moving novel about triumph over adversity and about people who find a way to love each other and the world, despite its flaws and injustices.