Saturday, February 7, 2015

Review: The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake
The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this book. It had a nostalgic feel to it that draws you back into your childhood—not necessarily in a happy way, but a more real way.

The main character begins to taste the feelings of others in her food at age nine and quickly decides she does not enjoy that aspect of eating, leaving her to eat bland junk food devoid of feelings. This attachment to others' emotions seems to keep her stuck in a place during her childhood which stops her from being able to move on and tell herself apart from others.

She especially has an odd relationship with her mother, who adores her brother even though he seems to be emotionally closed off from everyone.

Eventually her brother disappears and her childhood crush moves away and she is finally able to start learning about herself and seeing her gift as something she can use instead of seeing it as a curse.

If you enjoy books where the characters take a long way toward freedom and self-actualization, this one is for you.

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Thursday, January 1, 2015

Review: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondō

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As today is Jan. 1, this seems like a great time to review this book. I'm sure many, many people already have "get organized," and "simplify" on their list of resolutions for the New Year. If so, this book should definitely be on your list of books to read in 2015.

This book has been better for me than any other on decluttering so far. I think the reason is that I want someone to do the hard work for me, but it's NOT POSSIBLE! Kondo goes ahead and tells you—"Hey, I can't do this for you." But she does give a better solution. She has you work with your intuition by seeing how you feel when you pick up the item. I know. I know. Several of you think this is too new agey for you. And if you think that, then you're probably right. This book is probably not going to help you. But if you can put your pessimism aside and try it out, you might just find this is actually a great solution.

In addition to seeing how your objects makes you feel, the author gives great tips on storing your stuff away. Her way of folding is fantastic! It saves space and she is correct in that most of your shirts will remain unwrinkled somehow even though you are folding them more. It's like ... magic.

I know there are people who say, sure that works for people in Japan, but won't work in America and this is confusing. Do we think we are so special that we're just doomed to clutter? Again, if you think this, you're probably right. But why would you want to be right about this?

I've read the book through once quickly and been throwing stuff out along the way, but know I missed a lot, so I'm starting to rid it over again so I can't take the process more to heart and ensure I do a total restart. I can already tell that this is working better than other books, because a lot of times they would be very specific, which I thought would be good, but would ultimately derail me. They would go into details about basements and garages and kids' rooms—I have none of these. But they wouldn't go into pantry items, spices and hair care products—I have tons of these! So I would be frustrated and move some stuff around and maybe chunk some stuff but I still wouldn't feel done.

This method you use for every item until you're 100 percent done. Keep your fingers crossed that this will work for me and I'll send the same well wishes back.

Happy New Year and have a tidy year!

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