Tuesday, February 16, 2016

To good to wait for my Feb reads recap...

The following is my "book review" on a book I just finished reading.  Sorry it is such a long post- I really wrote down quite a few notes/words of wisdom while reading and figured some may actually be interested in seeing what this book is about. 
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
The Japanese art of decluttering and organizing
By Marie Kondo
Here are the notes I took while reading this book.  I was told to read this book by my sister’s mother in-law first.  Then I was told by a friend from Bible Study “you should read this book”.  So I went to the library to check it out and there were no copies available.  Then I called my other local library and the same story with them, “no copies” available.  So I was walking past one of my favorite bookstores, Prairie Lights, and thought I’ll just go in and see what the book looks like.  So I picked it up and I quickly found that I was likely going to be writing in the book, underlining, taking notes, so I bought it.
 Here is what I gleamed from reading this book:
- pg 4 when you put your house in order, you put your affairs and your past in order, too.
This sounds good to me.  I like to think I have an organized house, but deep down I know what is lurking in closets, drawers, boxes in the basement storage, and memories in my head (the good old past).

- pg 5 Success is 90 percent dependent on our mind-set.
So true, very true.  My mind-set definitely affects my physical and mental well-being. 

- pg 14 If you use the right approach, you’ll never rebound.
The author told herself this after she tried tidying up and falling back into untidiness.  She found through her own trial and error (for instance she doesn’t believe in organizing/tidying by rooms, but instead by subject matter- i.e. all clothes in your whole house- not just your bedroom).  I think this comment can be very true with many different challenges or changes we try to make in our lives.  Sometimes it isn’t that we try to make change, but the way in which we try to change that could affect your success with changing.

-pg 15 People cannot change their habits without first changing their way of thinking.
Don’t think I need to elaborate on this.

-pg 21 When a room becomes cluttered, the cause is more than just physical.  Visible mess helps distract us from the true source of the disorder.
Looking forward to finding out what “true messes” are in my life.

-pg 43 always think in terms of category, not place.
Category, not place, category, not place- may be hard to stick to, but the author when helping clients has a rule if you (her client) don’t bring let’s say all shirts out to the “table” then if any other shirts are found in the house they immediately go in the “get rid of pile”- this ensures that her clients really bring out all category items or else sayonara shirts.  Now I won’t have her (the author) looking over my shoulder, but I hope to follow through with this same rule when going through my categories. 

-pg 46 The best sequence is this: clothes first, then books, papers, komono (miscellany), and lastly, mementos.
This is how I plan to attack the tidying frenzy. 

-pg 48 it’s extremely stressful for parents to see what their children discard.
Thought this was a pretty honest truth.

-pg 53The urge to point out someone else’s failure to tidy is usually a sign that you are neglecting to take care of your own space.
I think this sentence could be reworded to say so many things beyond tidying, for instance switch out “tidy” with “parent” and switch “space” with “family”.  Or switch out “tidy” for “work” and “space” switched to “job”.  See what I’m saying- smart author.

-pg 58 that we should feel a thrill of joy when we touch it.
This is the author’s way to decide whether an item is kept or tossed/recycled.  Some, my sister, for instance didn’t like the idea of humanizing an item or giving the item the ability/power to produce joy, but for me, being an emotional person I liked the idea of holding something in my hands and really evaluating is this “shirt making me happy”, or “is this book bringing joy” to my life. 

-pg 60 When you come across something that’s hard to discard, consider carefully why you have that specific item in the first place…Reassess the role it plays in your life.
Hoping this is helpful advice as I see struggling with some of the categories in particular: books, and mementos.

-pg 61 To truly cherish the things that are important to you, you must first discard those that have outlived their purpose.
Again I think somewhat applicable not only to items in my life, but sometimes relationships or people in my life.  Look at what really brings you joy/happiness.

-pg 87 Remove all the books from your bookcases.  You cannot judge whether or not a book really grabs you when it’s still on the shelf.
This should be interesting- can’t wait to see the piles lying all over my floor as I clean the shelves out. 

-pg 114 Truly precious memories will never vanish even if you discard the objects associated with them.
-pg 114 No matter how wonderful things used to be, we cannot live in the past.   The joy and excitement we feel here and now are more important.
This touches me because of my quest to find peace in my life and be present in the present.

Pg 119 As always, only keep the ones that inspire joy. 
This in regard to photos.  Again a challenging purge is ahead of me with photos, but as noted in the book the author comes across so many people who have boxes and boxes of photos just hanging out in the basement and so no one is getting any joy at being able to look at them anyways,  This purging of pictures will give me a time to go back in my past, which I so love doing (except for those lovely Junior High years), and at the same time putting in albums pictures that I really want to look at. 

-pg 125 As you put your house in order and decrease your possessions, you’ll see what your true values are, what is really important to you in your life.
Sounds lovely!

-pg 168 By eliminating excess visual information that doesn’t inspire joy, you can make your space much more peaceful and comfortable.
In reference to extra packing, i.e. shrink wrap with advertising that comes around multi pack items.  Take off that wrap holding all your deodorants together from Costco.  Instead unwrap and place deodorant all in the same spot, but less wrap/clutter getting in your way of use and looks much nicer than seeing all that plastic and advertising.

-pg 182 The question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life.

-pg 183 The best way to find out what we really need is to get rid of what we don’t. 

So as I send this out into cyber land I embark on the first category: clothes.  Hope to update you as I go. 

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

January Reads

It was really great month of reading!

 Ink and Bone (The Great Library, #1)  Ink and Bone the Great Library #1 by Rachel Cain is a YA read, but of course was super enjoyable as an adult read.  Sometimes I think more adults would be happier if they read more YA books.  Most of the YA reading I do has some fantasy mixed with reality and this book had both of those.  It also reminded me a little bit of "A Handmaid's Tale" by Margaret Atwood (totally different plot/story line, but it had that whole "fight the establishment" type of gusto).  The main character Jess comes from a family of thieves- thieves who basically run a "black market" on selling original books.  The current world Jess lives in doesn't allow people access to "real books" only what they call "blanks".  Jess grows up a "runner".  Literally the one who "runs" the original/contra-band books from point A to point B and disposes of the book to the person paying lots of money to get their hands on the original.  He is somehow chosen to attend the Great Library of Alexandria's training center to become one of the chosen few who works within the library system.  Of course is family, especially his father and brother, are overjoyed with this admittance to the Library training program for they think Jess will be able to help them with their black market book business.  As usual there are a cast of characters who were all well developed and stood out in their own unusual ways.  Jess befriends many of the other trainees, but of course not all and this is the start of the "story" so of course the book leaves you hanging on at the end to tease you into racing out to find #2.  So as soon as I was done I plugged The Great Library #2 into Goodreads and proceeded to check at local libraries and eventually ended up at Barnes and Noble, desperate to start reading the next part of the story... well would've helped if I had looked at the publishing date on Goodreads for the #2 book doesn't come out until July 2016.  So I wait- not a bad thing to be waiting for the "rest of the story".  Read it if you like well developed characters, stories with mystery, fantasy and reality all tied into a neat little book.

 The Art of Racing in the Rain  The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein was a book I have somewhat avoided because I really am not a dog person.  Well low and behold I loved this book.  It was really a beautiful, somewhat heart wrenching story about this man and his dog Enzo and the life the man had which included his furry pal.  Stein's ability to weave several different topics together was seamless: race car driving, dog health issues, people health issues, love, family struggles- specifically custody battles, and death.  Read it you'll be happy you did and if like me you'll want to meet Enzo on the street someday soon. 

Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person  Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes was something I came upon as I was checking out the new nonfiction book shelf at the local library.  I liked the sound of the title and thought why not give it a try.  I was not disappointed and found this book to be very motivational and real.  Shonda Rhimes is mainly known for creation of Thursday night TV shows:  Grey's Anatomy, Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder.  This book has a little of that part of her life in it, but what really hit me hard was how honest and open Shonda was about life struggles, even for a hugely accomplished, well to do, powerful woman. Not surprisingly many of the issues we all deal with no mater what our social status or our career paths was talked about in this book: weight loss, public speaking, dating/falling in love, and being a mom.  This book reads very fast and yet has great content and powerful message. 

To Kill a Mockingbird  To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee was part of our January reads for book club. This book went along with reading Harper Lee's "Go Set a Watchman" ,which I read and blogged about last month for my December reads.  "To Kill a Mockingbird" was to be read if you hadn't already read it.  I couldn't for the life of me remember reading this book, but because of my love for old/classic movies I had of course watched Gregory Peck stand as Atticus Finch, many of times on TV in the comfort of my own home, defending Tom Robinson.  So I picked it up and read it and loved it and thought it was so amazing that Harper Lee had not written more or at least published more.  I wonder how many other authors out there have the same story- one big time classic novel and then many years later another one (July 1960 To Kill a Mockingbird to July 2015 for Go Set a Watchman- publish dates).  This is a great story and should continue to be told and read by children, young adults and adults for as long as racial issues persist- so basically forever.

 Clara and Mr. Tiffany  Clara and Mr. Tiffany by Susan Vreeland is a great historical fiction story about Clara Driscoll who is one of Mr. Louis Comfort Tiffany's glass artists and head of the women's division of his studio.  Not surprising and less hard to believe is Clara is likely the mastermind behind many of Mr. Tiffany's famous glass lamp creations.  This is really her story and Mr. Tiffany, rightfully so, is just one of the many cast of characters in her story.  The reader not only learns about what Clara and the women in her division at Tiffany's art studio endured, accomplished, and fought for, but you also get a great feel for life in beginning of the twentieth century for an unmarried, business woman.  Susan Vreeland knows how to write historical fiction.  It is not boring or feels tedious with those important historical data, but has the flow of a great novel.  It was an enjoyable read, yet at the same time very educational.  I have read other books by Susan Vreeland and will continue to put  her books on my "to read" list for those two reasons: great story teller and great educator.