I have read various decluttering books in my time, and some have helped a lot, some a little and some not at all. While Marie Kondo's technique soundsI have read various decluttering books in my time, and some have helped a lot, some a little and some not at all. While Marie Kondo's technique sounds simplistic (keep only that which sparks joy), it is often the simple ideas that resonate the most clearly when we are prepared to make a change in our lives.
Coming from another culture, the animistic approach to our possessions can seem strange and alien to us Westerners. But I have to admit that when I decided to give away some of my older clothes that I knew I wouldn't wear again (my style has changed so much in a decade) it made the process a lot easier to thank the article for its service and to suggest it go off to make some other woman feel beautiful when they discover it at the charity shop.
And I was determined not to fall in with the folders. Folding socks and underwear seems like a crazy waste of time, I scoffed when I first read the book. I even tried the socks and went back to balling them. Then I completed my KonMari clothing purge, and my shirts and trousers and even pajamas were basking in the satisfied folds (you really can find the sweet spot, and the clothes practically fold themselves! I was amazed!), and it seemed unfair not to give the socks and underwear the same treatment. It may sound crazy, but my drawers can spark joy just by being folded and organised and ready for action whenever I need to change my outfit. What I did not expect is that going through the KonMari method for my clothes has changed my attitude to laundry. I used to hate having to put away the clean laundry. I would leave it until the drawers were nearly empty and we were out of clean pants. But no more - now I want everything snuggled back in its folded home, awaiting my next quick change.
I'm now working on my books, and it is a harder process, but I know that I will feel as joyful looking at my bookshelves as I do opening my drawers. So it is a process worth going through.
The one comment I would say is that Marie Kondo doesn't put the amount of emotional and mental work that it takes to be tough and honest with yourself into context. Essentially by keeping only that which sparks joy, we are letting go of the past and honestly assessing the future, hence grounding ourselves firmly in the reality of the present. It's not a place some of us dwell so often. And it can be a heady experience. ...more
I wasn't sure at first, but too many of the stories were familiar to me that I must have read this before. That isn' a negative, necessarily, as shortI wasn't sure at first, but too many of the stories were familiar to me that I must have read this before. That isn' a negative, necessarily, as short stories are very re-readable, especially after a while.
This collection is quite eclectic. There are old people, young people, immortals, magic, disabled, lonely, unaware, self-reliant, needy, scared, angry, bemused, and all sorts of people. The stories range often into the sad or creepy, with even the ones you could possibly interpret as happy endings having a good taste of the bittersweet about them.
Harris is a strong writer, and has a dark but humourous way of viewing things. This evocative collection presents so much more of the writer than the Chocolat series....more
2013: My book club chose to read this, most of us for at least a second time. It was nice to revisit it, and as luck would have it our local cinema wa2013: My book club chose to read this, most of us for at least a second time. It was nice to revisit it, and as luck would have it our local cinema was showing the film, so we all went to see it after discussing the book. Despite having read it fairly recently and knowing the characters very well, I didn't remember the details of what happened in the trial and it was very enjoyable to re-read. The movie centres much more on the trial, using that as a frame for the narrative, and I can see why it has been listed as 'courtroom drama' in terms of the movie, though the book gives such a wonderful glimpse into a different time and way-of-life within a beautiful coming of age story of a character realising more about the society, social class, and small town that she belongs to.
2010: I've never watched the movie or read the book before now, and I'm fully annoyed at everyone who ever called this a 'courtroom drama', because they certainly did no justice to exactly what this book conveys or the characters it brings to life. I think I've avoided it because of my assumption it would be a dry old classic. Instead I was treated to a wonderful coming of age story where we get a sense of much more changing than just our main character. The innocence of childhood reflects a bitter world so much more effectively than any documentary ever could. The strength of the people in Scout's life and the life-altering events going on around her are so perfectly rendered in her narrator's voice. I can finally understand how this became classic literature and is considered so many people's favourite book....more
**spoiler alert** I thought this was very funny the first couple of times I read it, but when I read it with a 4-year-old, he informed me that this wa**spoiler alert** I thought this was very funny the first couple of times I read it, but when I read it with a 4-year-old, he informed me that this was a very scary book. And thinking about it, there's a lot of incidents that could really hit some anxiety buttons for young readers (turning green, family alienating Peter, friends making fun of Peter, running away from home, being abducted, missing the family, getting poked and prodded by aliens, being thrown out of a UFO, and then turning orange). So I would suggest being a bit more aware of the audience and perhaps being cautious. Remember, what's funny for some is scary for others!...more
This is a fun book that encourages imagination and not letting the big kids get you down. I like that the main character is a girl, and that her toy aThis is a fun book that encourages imagination and not letting the big kids get you down. I like that the main character is a girl, and that her toy animals all have distinct personalities. It is about being yourself and using the items you have around you to have a good time. ...more
I remember loving this book (it survived many culls of books over the years), and looking at it now, the illustrations are beautiful and textured, theI remember loving this book (it survived many culls of books over the years), and looking at it now, the illustrations are beautiful and textured, the imaginative glimpses of what fish imagines the world to be like fun and whimsical. But the underlying story is disappointing. The moral seems very much that you should stick to your pond and to what you know - that the wider world is not for fish, only frogs. The fish's desperate struggle for breath and his realisation that he is not allowed to partake in the exotic imagery his friend can hop freely to admire is not something I would want children to end a book on. I want children to believe they can achieve and do and visit whatever they want. I want to impart a sense of openness and freedom that this book essentially takes away. Yes, we are all what we are and have the talents we have, but we can also visit and understand so much more than our own little pond....more
This is a bizarre little story, with a trite ending about being kind, but truly the characters are greedy, sycophantic, and cowardly and do not make mThis is a bizarre little story, with a trite ending about being kind, but truly the characters are greedy, sycophantic, and cowardly and do not make much sense in the scheme of things. Why does the camel agree to go with the lion? Why do the fox, vulture and leopard work together rather than turning on each other as they do the camel? Why don't they turn on the lion when he is weak? These are the questions that linger....more