{Review}Learning the Art of Money

Art of Money Bari Tessler Book Dr

When The Art of Money galleys showed up at author Bari Tessler’s home, this is the photo her husband got of how happy she was to see them.

This is how excited I am about this book. It is. So. Very. Good.

***Full disclosure: I have known Bari for years. I met her when she was very early in her journey with this work and was still giving talks at Whole Foods about conscious bookkeeping in San Francisco in about 2005. I was hooked. I moved away from SF before I was able to take the course, but I did jump in in 2007 when I was in Los Angeles and the course had moved online. I even quit a job I hated because it conflicted with the course schedule. Ah, my 20s- the years of real idealism. I have been following the evolution of Bari’s work for over 10 years now and it just keeps getting better.

So of course I wanted to review this book. It doesn’t come out until June 14, but I wanted to get my mitts on it as soon as I could.

Thankfully, Bari was happy to get me a digital galley to read before my hard copy arrives and I sunk my teeth right in.

Let’s be clear- I was terrified of money in my 20s. I didn’t know what I was doing. I knew the words you were supposed to use and that earning and saving were good and that overspending was bad. I even had a decent command of how to budget in the traditional sense, thanks to my dad’s work in finance.

But there is more to money than the technical parts. Money might be the most emotional topic there is.

I have done this work over and over and over since I first met Bari and first took her class. I was transformed the first time and I’m still working on it. Money has layers. It’s wrapped up in identity and ability and success and freedom and independence. Everything that we see ourselves as gets linked up with money.

So… the book.

aom-book-cover

I knew I would enjoy it. I knew it was going to be a great review of the concepts I had come to love: Money Healing, Money Practices (all the technical steps), and Money Maps that allow us to plan for the future.

What I didn’t expect? To be absolutely riveted. I could not put this book down. I was so thirsty for a review of money and for the gentle-yet-strong guidance Bari provides in the book.

Money is a force that is along for the entire ride. And the relationship changes. I was pretty clear about money in my 20s with a certain career path. But in my 30s it’s different. I had a plan in place for the single me, but now I’m getting married and live with a partner and that has created a whole new puzzle to work on.

After reading this book, I’m actually excited to have money dates with my man (one of the great techniques in the book). I feel jazzed to look at my numbers. In fact, we spent last Friday night having a hot date setting up YNAB so we can track our expenses together. It was a little nerve wracking, but with all the beautiful stories in The Art of Money, I was inspired to press on. (***This book is tracking method agnostic. If you use YNAB, Mint, Quicken, Excel, or a piece of paper in your underwear drawer, that’s your choice in this method, which is a BIG bonus in my book.)

There will be feelings when you deal with money. And it’s ok. If you take one thing from Bari’s work, please do understand that. There is no point when I will operate like a machine and have no emotions around my finances because they are so slick and smooth and run so seamlessly. I’m ok with that. In fact, I now enjoy the process of discovery that comes from looking at how I use money- how I earn it, how I save it, and how I spend it.

If you are someone who is afraid of money, this book is for you. If you are someone who loves money, this book is for you. If you are someone who has to use money for any reason, this book is for you.

And especially, if you are someone who is suffering because of money, I implore you to order this book. Help is on the way. You are allowed to want things to feel better and you are allowed to have a different money story than the one you do now. Even if you haven’t paid taxes in a few years. Even if you’ve ever declared bankruptcy. There are stories about people whose homes had to be short sold in this book. People who lost everything in bad investment decisions.

This is not a shiny happy money book. It is real and yet so inspiring.

It’s a little bundle of hope. I know you will enjoy it as much as I did. Look how adorable these two are reading it (Bari’s husband, Forest, and their son Noah check out the back cover)

noah and forest reading book galley

The only thing I’m sad about is that it isn’t out until June 14th so you can’t read it until after tax time. In the meantime, if you need some good money mojo and support, Bari’s website is an amazing resource. They’ve even done a podcast on money that is incredibly supportive as well as a web show of interviews of people talking about money. I find hearing other people’s stories makes my own feel relatively mundane, which is actually a great feeling in this case.

I haven’t talked about money and books much on the book dr., but I think that will change this year. I’ve been thinking about money a lot, and reading is an incredible resource to help you with it. Look for more on that soon.

What do you want to know about money? Any other topics you like to read about in that category? I’d love to know. Please comment below or write me at caroline[at]book-dr.com. As always, you can chat about this post on the Facebook group and **spoiler alert** I’m planning to make it our book for July in the Secret Library Book club, which is available to all Footnotes subscribers. Join us!

(all photos courtesy Bari Tessler)

*** Full disclosure: the opinions posted here are entirely my own. I received a pdf of the book to read and no other endorsements and I’m not making any affiliate fee from this post.

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{Review} Finding Humanity in Just Mercy

Just Mercy Bryan Stevenson book dr

Just Mercy follows the trend in my reading lately- I seem to keep digging to the center of where human life can break your heart. However, the beauty of this book is in the hope that it brings through the story of incredible injustice.

Just Mercy is more than a book about death row.

But if I was to explain it in a couple of sentences, death row and the death penalty would certainly play into the description. A lot of my friends are do-good lawyers, at least that’s what I call them. They’re smart cookies- they went to places like Harvard, but have chosen to work with those who need the help the most- those who need retraining orders from abusive partners, those trying to get visitation to see their kids, and those who have trouble filling out the forms for a divorce because it isn’t in their first language. I’m always inspired by the work my friends do.

I was pointed toward this book when I asked my Instagram peeps to recommend anything they’d read that they couldn’t put down recently. I was coming to the end of A Little Life and afraid that I’d never love a book as much ever again. (I still am, which is probably why I’m reading so much non-fiction lately. It feels like a different category) This one was suggested with the description “could not put it down. Could not sleep.” That was what I was talking about.

I see why they felt this way. This book is directly about life and death. And even more than that, it’s about morality and what we have empowered our legal system to do. I’m not going to make this a political review, but it does make you realize you can’t take a stance on the death penalty in the abstract once you read these stories. I have thought about this a lot, as one of my do-good lawyer friends has done a lot of prison advocacy work, including time working on death row while in law school. There are two sides to this (and probably many more, truth be told): how you feel about the death penalty if every time we could be 100% certain that the person being executed was guilty and then there is the death penalty with the justice system as it is.

Reading Bryan Stevenson’s book, and other books in the vein of revolution against any system or societal norm that isn’t working, is inspiring on a number of levels:

  • There is the David and Goliath storyline- that of a small, underfunded but passionate legal group making an incredible difference to hundreds of people who would have been executed for absurd reasons. This same legal group even reaches the Supreme Court numerous times with its work.
  • Anyone who needs to believe that hard work and a powerful dream can make something happen, this is your book.
  • Anyone who wants to make change and its afraid it’s going to be a long haul, this one is for you too. If you’re tired, burnt out, and crawling on the floor but you still so much want to believe that what you’re doing is worth it- check this one out.
  • History nerds will enjoy appearances by Rosa Parks, and exposes on bits of history many people (including me) hand’t ever learned about in American History class.
  • And if you like to get wound up about unfairness, this is for you, too.

I think reading Just Mercy has the power to make you a better person. There has been a lot of press about reading fiction as a way to increase empathy. I absolutely believe in that. But I think when a book really gets to the heart of nonfiction it can do the same thing. I’m sure a novel about any one of the cases discussed in Just Mercy would be moving and incredibly powerful. At the same time, there is something about the power of all of these stories together that gave me a new picture and a new depth of awareness of this topic that I wouldn’t give up. I think nonfiction can inspire empathy just as much, if done well. This one is.

Please do share if you’ve read Just Mercy in the comments below. What did you think? Did it make you think differently about anything? I’d love to know how it impacted you. I’ve thought about it so much since finishing this week. Before I start pushing it on friends and family, I’d love to get the conversation going here.

Also! The Secret Library book club is now up and running. We’re having a great time over there. Any Footnotes subscriber is welcome to join. We’ve just started on this month’s book, Playing Big, so if you’d like to join in, sign up for Footnotes and request to join the group.

One last question for you- have you read anything lately you couldn’t put down? I ALWAYS want to hear about it! Reply in the comments or e-mail me at caroline[at]book-dr[dot]com. I can’t wait to hear from you!

 

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{Review} The Storytelling Animal, or Why Stories Get to Us.

The Storytelling Animal, earthbound oracle

I had long wanted to read The Storytelling Animal, since the idea that story is hardwired into us really spoke to me.

Why Story Matters.

I’m not new to this concept- when I was in graduate school for Expressive Arts Therapy, we talked a lot about how humans are meaning making creatures. We seek meaning like moths who want to hug lightbulbs. Sometimes it warms us up, but sometimes it kills us.

Ok, maybe it doesn’t kill us, but it can change the way we see our lives, and it can prevent us from taking risks. If we’ve got a story running in our heads that we can’t handle things, or if -for example- we’re women and have been trained to be timid then we can shut ourselves down before we even start.

I know all of this, but I wanted to read this book because I wanted to know why story impacts us so deeply in the first place. Why is it that I read a book and then when I finish it, I have to go cry in the shower because it’s over? Why am I crying over breakfast today having just finished Downton Abbey last night and hating that I’ll never see a new plot line with those characters again? What is it about story that does this to me?

Ok, granted, I might be a bit more invested than other people are in this area, and therefore more impacted, but no one seems to be entirely immune from story. Even people watching sports have a narrative of who the players are, what matters to them, how they’ve been performing over the season and what that means to them. It’s a battlefield epic.

Enter Jonathan Gottschall.

At the very least, I was consoled that I am not alone in being wooed by story the way I am:

“Human minds yield helplessly to the suction of story. No matter how hard we concentrate, no matter how deep we dig in our heels we just can’t resist the gravity of alternate worlds.” -Jonathan Gottschall, The Storytelling Animal.

The book dives in to the topic of story and how people are impacted in it. I would say that, in the end, I could have stood for even more diving. I certainly felt well educated in the impact of story- that it serves as a cultural glue and communicates social norms more effectively than any lecturing from parents or authorities ever could.

I was also vindicated to learn that science, along with experience, shows that non-fiction does not hit us as deeply as fiction does.

“When we read nonfiction, we read it with our shields up. We are critical and skeptical. But when we are absorbed in a story, we drop our intellectual guard. We are moved emotionally, and this seems to leave us defenseless.” -Jonathan Gottschall

This absolutely rings true for me, although creative nonfiction may bridge that divide effectively. There are many memoirs that have felt enough like novels that I am sucked completely down into the abyss with them. But on the whole it is fiction that causes me to depart from my current surroundings and float away to somewhere else…

One thing I have read more and more frequently is how much reading fiction can impact someone’s level of empathy. And Gottschall does discuss the fact that the unconscious mind doesn’t do the best job of differentiating between what is actually happening to us, and what’s in the mind alone. This felt like the strongest argument why I feel a huge loss when I finish a book or a really good show, and the characters are suddenly gone, like friends who have moved far away and forget to write.

Our minds go through the story with the characters as if we are really with them. As if it’s just as real as our waking life.

Perhaps this is the way we are truly storytelling animals- that our animal senses as the impact of imagination haven’t been separated from what we know to be real and what is simply in a book or inside a story. I hope we never do entirely separate them. If we learn to enjoy this ability we have, rather than using it to conjure up the worst possible outcome and then live it over and over in our heads when it hasn’t even happened yet- who hasn’t done that, after all?- we can use this power to relate to people more deeply. We can read stories about people in different circumstances, even fantasy or science fiction novels in entirely different worlds, or historical novels in different times.

We are left to wonder, reading these books, “What would I do if I were in the same situation?”

And I believe asking this question, again and again, makes us better people.

Instead of settling with a stagnant sense of who we are and who we’ll always be, the Storytelling Animal can escape the current world and see who we’d be somewhere else. Perhaps we’ll even do a better job in our lives now because of it.

I like to think I have.

Have you read The Storytelling Animal? If so, please do share your thoughts below, email me, or share on the FB page. Have you read any books that make you a more empathetic person? I’d love to hear about those as well. Thanks in advance for the recommendations!

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{Review} Getting Over a Book: A Little Life

getting over a book, a little life, hanya yanagihara

I finished A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara last week and I haven’t been ready to write about it yet. Honestly, I haven’t been able to write anything since I finished it.

Getting Over a Book.

I really wasn’t ready for it to be over. We all know when we start books that they will end eventually, but sometimes it still takes me by surprise when the last page comes and I have to say goodbye to the characters inside.

This was a whole new level. And to be fair- this is not an easy book. People who get triggered may get triggered by this. It does no shy away from the difficult parts of the character’s story. But the thing about it that kept me there was how little judgement I felt in the story that was being told. The characters were so honest and there was such a chance to feel redemption and love after living through horror.

Anyone who has come in contact with me, including the checkout guy at Vroman’s has had this book waved in their face with me yelling that they must read it right now. I’m nuts about books, but I’m not usually this nuts.

I started with an eBook copy from the library on my Kindle and about 300 pages in, the thought of having to return it horrified me, so I hit Vroman’s and bought the copy in the picture above. I ran through the store to get to the fiction section and I guess I looked fairly intense, since a man stocking books followed me and asked,

“What are you looking for with such focus?”

I held it up and told him I couldn’t bear not having a physical copy. I think he’ll read it. I’ve got two friends reading it now once I told them.

“I think this might be the best thing I’ve ever read.”

That’s a tricky position to be in. They might hate it. It is rough at parts. I don’t want to traumatize people- I know at least one person who had to put it down and couldn’t finish. Thankfully, it wasn’t read on my recommendation, but I get it.

I’m worried now. Worried that there won’t be anything to compare to this. I find a book this good every few years, but even among that select group, this one stands above. It makes me think of Elizabeth Gilbert’s Ted Talk when people ask her if she’s afraid her best writing is behind her. Granted, I don’t have nearly the pressure on me with reading that I would with writing, but I do wonder- will I ever read anything I love as much again?

I think this is the wrong question to be asking. I know there is no way to answer it. What I need to focus on is how reading gave me this experience.

How amazing it is that a bundle of paper with words on it can completely shake our world, isn’t it?

Of course, like a little kid I keep looking at my bookshelf and saying “Again, Again!” I want to be picked up and spun upside down again.

Getting over a book is hard, but it isn’t possible without moving on. There’s only one answer for it… read something new.

If you’ve read something wonderful recently or even not so recently, please do share about it in the comments below. Or drop me an email. caroline [at] book-dr [dot] com. Let’s keep the passion for reading going…

 

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{Pre-Review} A Little Life. This Book Climbs Inside Your Head…

A little life Hanya Yanagihara

I keep having these plans to get up at 6am and write reviews for all of you. I hit snooze once at 6am, I won’t lie. But I get up. I even brought my laptop upstairs so I could write in our sunny sitting room with the dog.

But then I pick up A Little Life, and all that goes away.

I am learning all the rules I have inside my head lately- that I can only review a book once I have finished reading it. That I have to review the books I have read recently before I can write about the one I am reading now.

Who says? Apparently I do, but I am fighting that urge today. I haven’t written a thing all week because all I want to think about is Hanya Yanagihara’s book, A Little Life.

I wake up, and I want to read it. I sneak off to lunch with it at work. Sometimes I fantasize about bringing my Kindle to the bathroom at work for a reading tryst. What would people say? (**UPDATE: as of Thursday afternoon I have not yet taken the Kindle to the bathroom. But I have thought about it several times.)

As a reader, don’t you live for these books? The ones that take over completely. The ones that insist that you read them rather than do anything else. I am so grateful this one is long. I get some time with a book that’s over 700 pages. I’m barely a third of the way in and I just want to eat it alive. And, at the same time, I don’t want it to end.

It’s so rare to have a book of that heft just float by. Granted, having it out of the library on Kindle helps since hauling around the hardback or even the paperback edition that just came out would be a workout. I might want to have the physical book in the house anyway. But right now, I’m glad to be able to sneak it with me in my purse.

This is my pre-review. My appetizer of the book as it stands 200 pages in. The characters are so real, and the story so rich, even though it’s just about four guys and their lives as they move from their 20s into their 30s. The beauty of the writing is that in being about something that could be so trivial, it’s really about being human. I may sound like a lunatic, but it’s going in the next 52 Books eBook. I know that even at this stage.

Please tell me. Share in the comments or on FB or email me. I’m going to need a consolation book when this one ends.

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{Review} Go On the Road with Gloria Steinem

Gloria Steinem Life on the Road

I’m going to start with the most astonishing thing I learned in this book:

Gloria Steinem doesn’t drive. I suppose I shouldn’t be shocked at a New Yorker not driving, but one who’s managed to spend much of her life on the road? It’s pretty extraordinary.

Still, with that reveal out of the way, I can say it doesn’t slow down her pace or her insight one bit. In many ways, it seems to have added more. The second on what Steinem learned from taxi drivers or anyone else she got rides with is worth reading all by itself.

But the major element of this book that got me was her passion for how she spends her life. I could feel the pulsing current of feeling that takes her back out on the road over and over again. And in many ways, this was a much more relatable book than Kerouac’s On The Road for me, maybe because of the feminist element but I think also because Gloria Steinem’s travels are about connecting with people much more than running away.

Had 52 Books to Change Your Life still been in process, this book would have made the cut. The amount of dignity that Steinem brings to the topic of inequality, both in terms of race and gender- and class in many ways- is so uplifting. There is no flinching from the unfairness that she found, but she also focuses on what has happened to make things better.

If you’re feeling a little flattened by life, or like there isn’t anything you can do to make any difference, or that you just can’t take the pressure on you anymore, this book will help. For people who need support and have had to go it alone forever, this is a great book for you. The stories of women coming together and taking care of each other are priceless.

And it isn’t just serious. There are funny moments, too. And if you need a reason to take a trip, I dare you not to jump in the car after this one is over. Thankfully, I had a road trip planned already when I finished the book, but just writing about it now makes me want to pack up and go again.

I’m discussing this book in my book club next weekend, so I may have more thoughts to add then. Until then, let me know what you thought in the comments or on FB.

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{Review} What happens After You

After You Jojo Moyes

Sequels are dangerous.

We all know this. Beverly Hills Cop–amazing. Beverly Hills Cop 2–still pretty great. Beverly Hills Cop 3… Let’s not go there. Don’t even get me started on the Matrix disasters. Sometimes it’s better to leave well enough alone.

But even so, when a book really yanks my heart out and I feel like I have experienced something with those characters, I miss them when it’s over. It’s hard to give up that world. I have been known to change my style of dress erratically once I finish a book, trying to make the world of the story continue. Same with films. And audiobooks have even made me change my accent after a long drive. I really fall in.

So when I heard that Jojo Moyes was revisiting the world of Me Before You, I was optimistic. But cautiously so. I did want to know what happened to Louisa. I did want to know where everyone had ended up. Moyes is good with characters. I have wondered about most of those from her books, but Louisa from Me Before You was the one who ended her story at the beginning of a new one.

If you have not yet read Me Before You, this is where the spoilers start. (Go read it right now and come back):

I think one of the reasons this works as a sequel is that losing someone you love is as much about the time you knew them as it is about the time after they are gone.

When I was in college, one of my dearest friends drowned suddenly in an accident. He was a daredevil, much like Will’s character was before his accident. He was a mountain biker who once biked through a Baltimore blizzard to come stay at my house because he was stir crazy. The day before he was meant to graduate college, after a number of days of rain, he took his dogs to walk around a large reservoir to get some air. Partway around, the banks gave way and he fell into the water. He wasn’t a swimmer and the overflowing level pulled him under a rock. His dog tried to pull him out, but she wasn’t strong enough.

I was twenty, and this was the first time I lost someone my own age. This was a friend I had talked with deeply and freely, much like Louisa did with Will. I was lucky, and there were other people who I felt safe sharing with, but there are parts of you that are hard to keep going without the friend that brings them out.

When I opened this book, I hoped it wouldn’t be an easy story. That Lou wouldn’t be married to a French man, living the good life, thinking kindly and distantly of Will. I just wouldn’t buy it. And thankfully, this is not that book.

It’s not perfect, but I still couldn’t put it down. Moyes knows how to write characters that you care about. She doesn’t coddle them, but she doesn’t smack them so far down that they’re unwilling to try anymore either. And in this way, reading her books helps me think differently about my own life.

I won’t give any plot away from this book since there is really nothing I hate more than knowing the story of a book before reading it. But I will say that I think you’ll be glad you read it, if you did. There are elements in it that weren’t present in the first book. It isn’t a rehashing. The previous book is a jumping off point for a new story. Would this book be as big a blockbuster on its own? I doubt it. But when you love characters so much, why wouldn’t you want to visit with them again.

This was the perfect cozy winter read. I got up an hour early and read in bed in the morning to find out what happened next. It made me laugh and it did make me tear up. What more could I ask? Maybe that Jojo Moyes considers a sequel to this sequel? I’m willing to risk it. I think she can be trusted to keep the story on track.

And my friend? I still think about him all the time. When someone says a word he loved to use in a way that annoyed me, when I see something he would have loved. But still, like Lou, I’m grateful for the impact he had. And I can still imagine what he would have thought or done and it helps. Books like this are wonderful because they help, too.

 

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{Review} When to read Proust’s In Search of Lost Time

Proust In Search of Lost Time Book Dr.

Proust. It’s a short name with a lot of baggage.

I was almost embarrassed to tell people that’s what I was reading when they asked. It felt so grand, like such an obvious “profound book” to choose. A little on the nose for the Book Dr.

But what I have discovered is that so many people fall into Proust and read his crazy long book because it’s amazing.

“It is seldom that a joy is promptly paired with the desire that longed for it.”

-Marcel Proust, In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower

I read Swann’s Way several years ago. I had picked up Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolaño and determined quickly that it was not a cold-weather book. It was January and I decided that January is when one should read Proust.

This year, I decided to continue with the second book in the beautiful Penguin deluxe editions of the series since I loved Lydia Davis’ translation of the first volume so much. I had let a few years lapse between the books because a number of people had warned me off the second volume.

“It’s really boring,” they said. “I think you can skip that one.” I decided to go for it anyway, and I can’t tell you how glad I am that I did.

What I should admit at this point is that I am incredibly influenced by people’s comments on books and films in the worst possible way. If too many people compliment a film, I am invariably disappointed. Same with books. If someone tells me that they’ve just read the greatest thing ever written, there is no way I will feel the same way. “It’s really good” is about the level of guidance I can tolerate.

The other side of this is that when people pan a book, I am much more likely to love it. I should have known this several years ago, but perhaps I just read this at exactly the right time. Having just finished a year of short books due to my daunting 100 book Goodreads challenge, I was ready for a meaty one.

What you should know going in is that this is going to challenge you if you like to read short chaptered books so there is a continuous sense of progress. This book has over 500 pages and only two chapters, the second one about 60% of the length of the book. Many pages don’t have paragraph breaks. I often finished reading at the breaks so I wouldn’t lose my place too badly.

And this is not a book that is heavy on plot. It’s more the meanderings of the inside of a mind that is beginning to figure out what relationships are about and how he relates to women. It jumps back and forth between whiny and self-indulgent and incredibly poetic and profound.

As I was reading, I realized how much Karl Ove Knausgaard must have been influenced by Proust in writing his own autobiographical opus (according to the article linked above he devoured it in the 90s). His themes of his life have- so far- paralleled the Proust volumes. I plan to read volume two of Knausgaard’s in the next month or two so I have the Proust fresh in my mind to compare. This awareness has made me love each author’s books more since reading them all can be a conversation that I get to follow. Sadly, Proust can’t write back, but the conversation is worth hearing all the same.

When should one read this book? During a breakup, this will either feel incredibly helpful or excruciating. If you like to commiserate, then I would say this is for you. If you don’t want to thank about love at all at those moments, then wait a while before trying it. Maybe years.

Read this book when you have time to sit down and drink it up in long sessions.

Read it at the seaside when you can enjoy his vivid descriptions of a summer at an ocean resort in southern France. Read it in January, or over the winter holidays wherever you live, and connect with the winter scenes in the first section. Read it when you want to wander around in someone else’s mind for a while. Read it when you are tired of plot-heavy blockbusters and too little character exploration.

Have you read Proust? What did you think? Please share your thoughts in the comments below, or join the conversation on Facebook.

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{Review} Sick day? Kondo to the rescue.

sick day

What to read on your next sick day.

This holiday season, I have found myself sick far more often than usual. When my three week cold revived itself yesterday, it was time for a day in bed.

Thankfully, the cats let me sleep all morning and once it was early afternoon I was ready for a bit of reading.

Sitting on the nightstand were Marie Kondo’s Spark Joy and Proust’s In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower. I did read some Proust, but it is a mammoth book so I will not be reviewing that one today.

Kondo, on the other hand, was a light and reassuring treat for my sick self. Her confidence in the ultimate joy I will feel in my home and her anecdotes of people will hopeless amounts of clutter transformed into zen spaces made me breathe (as much as I was capable) more easily.

Those of you who read the first book of Kondo’s might wonder if you need to read the second one. I suppose if you have already plowed through your home and are blissfully cleared of all excess, you may be finished. But what I loved about this volume was the attention paid to how to honor the things you keep, as well as new tricks to storing things in clever ways as well as creating beautiful spaces to spend time in that spark joy.

It was the perfect book for me today, and I prescribe it for anyone in bed with a cold, those looking to jump start a clearing marathon, or anyone under stress who wants to feel a little less overwhelmed.

Has anyone else been smacked down by this cold? Please do let me know what you’ve been reading in bed while resting. I always love hearing about new reading recommendations, especially ones that seem to speed healing! Please share your thoughts in the comments, or the Facebook group.

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{On the Nightstand}The Story of My Teeth Book Review

book review

I’ll come right out and say it: this is one of the oddest things I have read in quite some time. Here is my book review:

The main character is exceptionally unreliable, but quite a charmer and managed to hold my attention through the entire book, which I read in about two days. It’s a fast read, with each chapter connected to one of the main character’s teeth. Nearly none of these came out of his actual head, mind you, and at one point he has Marilyn Monroe’s teeth implanted in his own mouth. See- I told you. Odd.

But there is something about this that I couldn’t put down. The story is unexpected and each chapter peels back a little more than the one before, and then there is a meta layer with a biographer of the main character appearing and weighing in himself. It made me laugh and it also made me think about art and how stories come together.

If you liked If On a Winter’s Night a Traveler, you’ll probably like this as well, even though The Story of My Teeth  doesn’t read the same way at all. The sensibility is there. If you hated the Calvino, this might not be your bag.

Even so, I think it’s worth a go…

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