4.5 stars This book really is life-changing. Before I start gushing though I am going to get right to the point of why my review is missing half a star4.5 stars This book really is life-changing. Before I start gushing though I am going to get right to the point of why my review is missing half a star.
Two things: 1. lack of diagrams or illustrations; I am a visual person and would have appreciated some guidance specifically for her method of folding clothes. There are videos you can find on Youtube, but it would be nice to have an in-book resource.
2. The other thing is cultural and seems to be the most common complaint in any of the negative reviews: the personification of objects. For the average American who is culturally ignorant about Japan this would naturally seem bizarre. But for anyone vaguely familiar with Shinto traditions it is not strange at all. Kondo isn't asking her readers to adopt Shintoism, but the American readers seem to be missing that this is a translation of a Japanese book written for a Japanese audience. Keep that in mind and you should be good. And one other thing - don't knock it until you try it. I'm not about to start worshiping my socks, but I find that the deeper meaning is one of valuing and respecting your possessions and the way they enrich your life when properly managed. Interestingly, many of those negative reviews say nothing of actually trying the KonMari method, and only criticize the author's writing.
Now on to the good stuff. (Yay!)
*Edit* I have now completed purging every category except mementos. My efforts to finish have been delayed by a sooner-than-expected move, but OH MY GOODNESS. I can't express how nice it was to have gotten rid of all that I did before moving day. The contents of our entire 4-person household fit in a single modest family room. There would have been a few less boxes had I gotten through the memento category, but the fact remains that it was a relatively easy move since we weren't packing or hauling around unnecessary junk. :) *end edit*
I am about a quarter of the way through my komono category purge and the only things slowing me down are two demanding young children. Regardless, I am making progress every day because the category system Marie uses breaks up the work into manageable portions. I have drifted toward minimalism over the past few years but even though we don't own a ton of clothes we were still able to donate 5 large garbage bags full of clothing and shoes as a household. If you purge nothing else, I highly recommend completing the clothing category - it is so freeing! I had already pared down our books prior to coming across the KonMari method so I breezed right through that category. Paper was another thing I was so glad to be rid of! All those phone and utility statements were a major source of desk-top clutter.
I feel lighter and happier each day I get rid of something that doesn't bring me joy or serve a necessary function. That last part is another thing the negative reviewers don't seem to understand. Just because Kondo is setting "does this spark joy?" as the criterion for keeping/discarding, doesn't mean you are expected to get rid of necessary items like your toothpaste or kitchen spatula. There are going to be things that serve a necessary purpose even if they aren't beautiful or inspiring, so in that sense they are bringing you joy by fulfilling their functional purpose in your home. The key to this method that makes it so inspiring is the change in mindset that you will experience as you go through each item in your home. You truly are forced to confront the psychological factors that are driving the clutter problem. At the risk of sounding sappy, I will say that decluttering with the KonMari method is akin to healing from the illness of excess. When you value everything you own- instead of valuing the acquisition of it - you are content.
In summary, this is such a successful technique because it allows you to tailor your experience with simple guidelines instead of prescribing complicated blanket requirements of quantities that are ok to keep or get rid of. When you are serious about taking control of your life and possessions, give it a try. I for one am glad that I have and I look forward to finishing the last of my purge in the next few weeks and enjoying my clutter-free home....more
I don't think I've enjoyed a book this much in quite a while. Herein was a near-perfect blend of adventure, romance, and fantasy. The pacing felt justI don't think I've enjoyed a book this much in quite a while. Herein was a near-perfect blend of adventure, romance, and fantasy. The pacing felt just right and the characters were not starved of development or tied into the stereotypes that glut the YA market right now. I found the resolution satisfying and was glad to see a hint that there may be another Wilde Island chronicle forthcoming. Clearly I need to read Dragonswood's predecessor Dragon's Keep now and am chiding myself for not considering it sooner....more
There are many things I could say about this book and many that have been said by others, much more eloquently than I ever could. I must content myselThere are many things I could say about this book and many that have been said by others, much more eloquently than I ever could. I must content myself with saying that I was pleasantly surprised. Rather than the stuffy, old-fashioned narrative the cover would suggest, I was met with a charming ramble through the March family's life. In my opinion, the sentiments and morals relayed in this story are examples of good old American values. Values that, unfortunately, are not treasured as they should be in this day and age. I enjoyed this look back at a simpler time when family relationships were championed, one took time to stop and appreciate the little things in life, and folks were not afraid to own to their mistakes and make an earnest effort to better themselves. This is truly a classic that deserves space on my shelf....more
I LOVED this book. Everything a child's fairytale should be. While I enjoy many current junior fiction titles, they just can't capture the vintage chaI LOVED this book. Everything a child's fairytale should be. While I enjoy many current junior fiction titles, they just can't capture the vintage charm that stories such as this contain. "The Farthest-away Mountain" is going right up there with "The Ordinary Princess" as a book that will, without question, be read to my daughter. The heroine is brave and kind and good, but not immune from making mistakes or struggling in the midst of trials. I found the moral to be wonderful and the story balanced with enough simplicity that a child could grasp it, but enough interest to keep it from being just another "carbon-copy fairytale" to be dismissed. The prose is enjoyable, easily understood but not dumbed-down. For adults, this is a very light read, but a perfect break from heavy, dull "grown-up" fare. ;)...more
Well well...I was pleasantly surprised. I had seen this book come through the library a few times but hadn't had the inclination to pick it up until rWell well...I was pleasantly surprised. I had seen this book come through the library a few times but hadn't had the inclination to pick it up until recently - thinking it was probably just another mediocre story capitalizing on the popularity of a successful few in the recent YA fairytale category. I can now unequivocally declare that I very much enjoyed it! I was in the mood for a touch of steampunk, and the fact that this is also a well written fairy tale with magic and romance was what sealed the deal. I found myself turning page after page, annoyed at any trifling interruptions from the real world, and genuinely wanting to know what happens next. I thought that the pacing was excellent, moving at just the right speed to give poignancy to a scene but not drag it out. I found the characters engaging and the world a fascinating alternate existence from our own. I was initially disappointed at the ending (and considered making my review only 4 stars), because while it resolved several of the character's pressing dilemmas it did not solve all of them - one problem in particular that left me thinking, wait, is that all? there isn't more? but I have to know if/how they fix it! Thankfully, the author mentions in her own review that there is in fact a continuation of the story that should hopefully be published in 2012. If there is a sequel that continues the saga of these lovely characters and their various pursuits then I can be content with the way this volume ends. :) I just have to be patient till next year it seems......more
This book started a little slowly and was occasionally a little hard to follow as it switched between the narratives of various characters - but nonetThis book started a little slowly and was occasionally a little hard to follow as it switched between the narratives of various characters - but nonetheless left me quite satisfied in the end. The character of Death is very amusing as in previous installments but also manages to kick some serious butt, along with Susan who plays a very important role. And with a creepy antagonist like Teatime, you want to see his butt kicked - badly. The wizards of Unseen University are bumbling but brilliant as usual and the character of the Oh God, Bilious, had me laughing more than once. All in all, I think I would consider adding this to my eventual Discworld collection along with Mort and Reaper Man....more
I loved this! I really enjoyed Mort, but if it is possible I enjoyed Reaper Man even more. Terry Pratchett has such a gift for witty humor and wry socI loved this! I really enjoyed Mort, but if it is possible I enjoyed Reaper Man even more. Terry Pratchett has such a gift for witty humor and wry social commentary mixed with just the right amount of serious and thought-provoking themes. I adore the character of Death. So well crafted that I would be very surprised to die and find "Death" other than how he is described here. Well done, Pratchett, well done....more
Ah, Bartimaeus - just as snarky and irreverent as ever... I enjoyed this book immensely, as I knew I would. Although it is a prequel I would recommendAh, Bartimaeus - just as snarky and irreverent as ever... I enjoyed this book immensely, as I knew I would. Although it is a prequel I would recommend that newcomers read the original trilogy (starting with The Amulet of Samarkand) rather than start with this volume. While it could be read on its own, it is helpful to know a bit about the mythology Stroud created and the ins and outs of the demon hierarchy. And after the events in Ptolemy's Gate you will be happy to reverse the clock and say hi to Bartimaeus again. I was worried if the story would be able to live up to it's predecessors and happily found that it was just as amusing while maintaining the proper level of peril one can expect from this series. Well done, Mr. Stroud - now can we have a [more extensive] backstory focusing on Ptolemy?...more
I actually read the second book in this series (Silksinger) first by mistake, so when I finally got around to Blackbringer I was already somewhat famiI actually read the second book in this series (Silksinger) first by mistake, so when I finally got around to Blackbringer I was already somewhat familiar with the characters. Silksinger left such an impression on me that I was immensely pleased to discover that I could slip right back into Laini Taylor's world of Dreamdark with no trouble. Not only does she create endearing characters to populate it, but she gives them depth and...a sense of believable magic. One of the great things she does is give the characters distinct ways of speaking (much like Jacques' Redwall series, though that is a rather extreme example) and I would find myself thinking "Skive! I'm talking like them in my head! Jacksmoke, I just said 'skive' didn't I?" Anyway...I enjoyed reading this book and if you're a fan of YA fantasy I think its worth picking up. :)...more
If memory serves, I first read Ender's Game in 6th or 7th grade. It blew my mind. I grew a love of science fiction from that point on. There are a lotIf memory serves, I first read Ender's Game in 6th or 7th grade. It blew my mind. I grew a love of science fiction from that point on. There are a lot of things I could say in this review, but I think I'll keep it simple. The central themes for me in this book are love, forgiveness, and endurance. There is a philosophical element that will have you examining your own ideas of right and wrong, friendship, and how humanity is supposed to muddle through it all. Ultimately, I think we can all relate to Ender Wiggin and that is what makes his story so compelling. A word of caution to parents: there is a fair amount of swearing and potty-mouth slang which I noticed more from a parent's perspective upon rereading. It shouldn't be a deterrent for teens, but use discretion for younger readers....more
I read this book before reading Blackbringer (Dreamdark #1) by accident and in spite of that I found that I really enjoyed it. While several of the chI read this book before reading Blackbringer (Dreamdark #1) by accident and in spite of that I found that I really enjoyed it. While several of the characters from the first book make important appearances and play a big role towards the end, I found that I liked having a "new" set of characters for this storyline. I particularly liked that the heroine WASN'T a feisty independent girl trying to prove to the boys that she can fight/be awesome (cause lets face it, there are lots of those books out there). Not that that sort of character is bad, but there can only be one Magpie Windwitch. ;)
Anyway, Whisper has her own strengths and power - but she is such a contrast to Magpie that I found it refreshing to show that even those who seem weak can change things and contribute in a huge way without being a warrior. Hirik was a fun character too, you feel for his situation and want him to succeed. I actually had to put the book down for a while partway through because I was so upset at all the unfair things happening to the main characters. But I am glad I picked it back up because it ended so wonderfully and [most:] of the wrongs were made right while still leaving a tantalizing opening for the next book....more