Friday, April 24, 2015

Sparking joy all over the place

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

Don’t worry—I’m not about to post a YouTube video of my perfectly re-folded sock drawer. (I haven’t gotten to that part yet.)
But I’m here to tell you, guys, this total non-hoarder just dispensed with 3 garbage bags full of clothes after reading this quick little book. And against all odds, I recently packed for a 5-day trip in a mere carry-on!
I am a changed woman.

And dang, it feels good.

So here’s why this book is sweeping the nation: Kondo’s theory is that we should keep only the things that spark joy. 

Everything else: out!

So she has you go through your home, touching each object (which I thought would be counter to de-cluttering, based on research that shows that once we touch an item in a store, we’re umpteen times more likely to buy it—but it actually helped me get rid of stuff) and deciding whether it brings joy. Then you toss out all the old stuff that no longer does it for you.

She suggests going through your home by category, starting with clothes. This also works. (Though I cheated and started weeding my library before I’d cleared all the closets. Book fanatic inevitability.)

So here’s what she suggests when it comes to the books: take all the books off the shelves, stack them on the floor, and then pick up each book and decide whether it gives you joy.

I might actually do that.

Then you go through everything else in your house, category by category.

Then you get to do the fun part and KonMari your clothes.

(This was my carry-on packing secret weapon.) 
So I’m all swept up in it, purging things like a wild woman in my meager free time. It’s become one of my treats.

I know. Sick.

But this place is looking darn spiffy, guys.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Free as a bird!

So you know I love reading, right?

So it sounds awful for me to say, Thank goodness all that dratted reading's done.

But because I love reading, I love the freedom to read freely.

And, boys... it's back!

I wrapped up my last assigned reading book (for now) a few days ago, and I'm feeling ridiculously happy about it.

 So what happens next is:

- all of my suspended holds at the library are slated to un-suspend themselves, and I'll be flooded with books

- I'll read some random thing just because I want to -- and it won't even count for Book Bingo! (the level of defiance in this post is really rather shocking)

So yeah, there're celebrations happening here. They're quiet and bookish, and they're my kind of party. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

So here's what happens

(photo from
Sometimes you love an author's work a whole lot.

And then that author dies.

And then you're sitting at work and trying not to cry when you read the news online.

It seems so innocent--book news. But sometimes it's a wicked-hard thing to take. It smacks you right in the face, and you're left blinking.

So that's what happened to me this week, when I read this brief article on EarlyWord, about the death of Ivan Doig.

I thought there'd be more time to read his books while he was still here.

I never knew him, but I miss him. 

Friday, April 10, 2015

Huge buzz, decent book

Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson

3 words: immediate, tragic, anecdotal

I’ve lived my entire life as a Lusitania ignoramus.

If you’d’ve asked me what I could tell you about it, I’d’ve said “British ship sunk by the Germans during World War I. Americans on board, so the U.S. entered the war.”

Yeah, sort of right. Partial credit. Actually, it took 2 more years for the U.S. to declare war. (Who knew?!)

So this is an Erik Larson book, which often means we’re gonna have dual narratives. This one’s no exception. Except: Wait—there’s more!

Here we’re on board the Lusitania; on board the U-boat that sunk the ship; hanging out in the code-breaking room in England; and eavesdropping on President Wilson, who’s wooing his second wife. And there are some side trips to shipping offices, too.

But the main storyline is, as expected, onboard the Lusitania, which (didn’t know this, either) had an unusually large number of children and babies aboard during its last voyage. (Sad, guys. This stuff is sad.)

Larson did some fine research, so we get to hear the story from several of the survivors. He paints a detailed picture of life on the ship.

Now, maybe this is just me, but one thing I expected from this book—since it’s tragedy and it’s true, and I love that stuff—didn’t actually happen. I thought I’d become slightly obsessed with the topic, Googling and YouTubing and looking up other books about the Lusitania

But I find that this book is enough. And I’m not sure whether that’s because I’m not the ideal audience [pretty sure I am] or because Larson’s narrative didn’t completely pull me in to the story. Unlike every time I’ve read Walter Lord’s A Night to Remember, the classic account of the sinking of the Titanic, Dead Wake didn’t make me feel like I was there. I’m beginning to think there’s something about Larson's style that just doesn’t jibe with me. 

This is a fine book in many ways, and I liked it rather much. But I really wanted to love it.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Greetings from BookWorld!

I’m popping up from my reading bunker to say a quick hello. 
The Assigned Reading Extravaganza continues, with only 2 books and 1 week to go.

This would be no problem, except that
a) I’m getting a little exhausted
b) I keep being distracted and tempted by all kinds of other wonderful things

Exhibit A of item b above:
Bybee has written this lovely novel set in South Korea, and I.Want.To.Keep.Reading.It!

But no.

No, I have to read these other two books (the two I actually chose myself) that are assigned things with a deadline. 

So there are these sneaky little reward / cheating activities taking place.

Reward style: When I get 1/3 of the way through an assigned book, I give myself a break—and I take up my iPhone and I read Even If the Sky Falls Down like it’s my first breath of fresh air after weeks of bunker living.

Cheating style: And when I’m just not in the mood for the assigned reading, I do this furtive look over my shoulder and then try to look nonchalant as I touch the Kindle app on my phone and dive in to a story filled with characters whose stories I want to hear. 

It feels like playing hooky. (At least I think it does: I was a dorky reader girl who never played hooky from school. Though maybe once [twice] I goosed a cough a bit, so I could stay home from school to read in bed.) 

Monday, March 30, 2015

My Friend and I Went to a Book Sale

She chose new books, like
A normal person; I bought
Books I’d read before