The Genius of Marie Kondo’s KonMari Method

Was anyone else skeptical of Marie Kondo’s take on tidying up? I was, but her new Netflix series “Tidying Up” piqued my interest. So, I checked out Marie Kondo’s audiobook, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” on Libby. By the time the introduction was over, I found myself folding laundry Marie Kondo style into little rectangles that stand up on their own. I don’t know what came over me, but the satisfaction of all my clothes lined up in neat, straight rows compelled me to KonMari the rest of my house.

Two Reasons You’ll Love “The Master and Margarita”

“The Master and Margarita” is a difficult book to summarize because there is so much going on. It is a conglomeration of subplots loosely tied together by Ivan Homeless, a poet who is admitted into an asylum after Woland (Satan) predicts the decapitation of Homeless’s colleague. Because “The Master and Margarita” is a difficult book, Penguin’s “The Master and Margarita: 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition” translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky is especially helpful.

“Calm the F*ck Down” Review

If you read my “The Books I Picked” post for January, you know that “Calm The F*ck Down: How to Control What You Can and Accept What You Can’t so You Can Stop Freaking Out and Get on With Your Life” by Sarah Knight is a tongue-in-cheek guide to accepting the things you cannot change, finding the courage to change the things you can, and using straight up logic to tell the difference. Sounds familiar right? Besides being a nice idea, one that relies on your own powers of logic instead of waiting on the gift of wisdom from a higher being, Knight’s NoWorries Method for calming the f*ck down works. At least it does for me. 

Why I'm Starting to Read More Fantasy

Fantasy gets a bad rap for being predictable genre fiction. But “The Key to the Half Worlds” by Andrew Chaplin surprised me. It’s time to put our prejudices against fantasy aside and read more of it. Included in my review of “The Key to the Half Words” is a fun side note about the history of washing machines and a discussion of why we should stop using the term “guilty read.”

“The Ten-Year Nap” Review

“The Ten-Year Nap” by Meg Wolitzer resonated with every fiber of my being. Never have I read a book that spoke so poignantly to all the thoughts swirling around my brain. Read my review of “The Ten-Year Nap” by Meg Wolitzer to learn why I whole-heartedly disagree with the bad reviews of “The Ten-Year Nap” on Goodreads. Do not overlook or underestimate “The Ten-Year Nap” because of the bad reviews.

“Father Divine's Bikes” Review and History

“Father Divine’s Bikes” introduced me to a historical figure I had never heard of, Father Divine (though Father Divine is more of a character in spirit). Father Divine was an African-American religious figure who rose to prominence in the 1930s. PBS, on it’s This Far by Faith Project page, “1866–1945: From Emancipation to Jim Crow,” calls Father Divine’s International Peace Mission Movement, “one of the most unorthodox religious movements in America.”

La Befana in “Beyond the Wicked Willow: Chronicles of a Teenage Witchslayer”

After finding out he’s the descendant of a witchslayer, Frankie and his friends are transported to medieval Italy in order to save a young girl from the evil Strega. In my review of “Beyond the Wicked Willow: Chronicles of a Teenage Witchslayer” by M.J. Rocissono I explore Rocissono’s entertaining fantasy adventure and take a look at the history of the Italian tradition of La Befana.

“Destroying Their God” Review

“Destroying Their God: How I Fought My Evil Half-Brother to Save My Children” by Wallace Jeffs is a fascinating and moving story of Jeffs’ struggle with FLDS. He is still facing the consequences of leaving the insular FLDS community, and he has an interesting perspective on polygamy. In my review of “Destroying Their God,” I take a look at the technical merits of the book and delve into the ways Rulon and Warren Jeffs manipulated their followers.

'In the Shadow of 10,000 Hills’ Review and History

After a miscarriage, Rachel feels the urge to seek out her estranged photojournalist father, Henry, who she learns lived in Rwanda. She travels to Rwanda 10 years after the genocide to meet Lillian. Originally from Georgia, Lillian operates an orphanage in Rwanda that she and Henry built together. During her stay, Rachel learns about her father while witnessing how Rwandans are coming to terms with the genocide. Continue reading my review of “In the Shadow of 10,000 Hills” for more information about both the genocide and the book.

Review of ‘Your Creative Career’ by Anna Sabino

“Your Creative Career” is not for every gig worker. It’s for creative entrepreneurs as Sabino calls us. Creative entrepreneurs include web designers, handmade product designers, writers, painters, bloggers, vloggers, etc. “Your Creative Career” by Anna Sabino is part memoir, part self-help book, and part how-to guide written in a stream-of-consciousness style. If you’ve read other books about using your creativity to make money and have a solid grasp of basic business principles like cash flow, you can skip this one, not a whole lot of new information here. But if you’re new to creative entrepreneurship, you'll want to read “Your Creative Career” because Sabino covers everything you’ll need to know to get started. Although there might not be a whole lot of new how-to information for the rest of us in “Your Creative Career,” Sabino does share some wisdom worth contemplating.

"Alias Grace" by Margaret Atwood: Summary, Analysis, and Canadian History!

Analysis and summary of “Alias Grace,” a novel by Margaret Atwood based on the real-life 1843 murders of Thomas Kinnear and Nancy Montgomery. Grace Marks and James McDermott were convicted of the crime. McDermott was hanged, and Marks had her sentence commuted and ended up in the Kingston Penitentiary. No one knows for sure whether or to what degree Grace Marks was involved in the murders.  “Alias Grace” gives readers a chance to decide for themselves whether this “celebrated murderess” was guilty or not.

“Full Circle”Review

From the prologue, which takes us inside the collapsing World Trade Center on 9/11, to the end, “Full Circle” lays bare many of the political and social issues the United States has been grappling with since before the 9/11 attacks. Despite its seriousness, “Full Circle” reads like a television drama. The cast includes Samia, an Iraqi refugee; Melissa, a faltering fashion mogul; and Susan, Samia's hapless friend who also happens to be Melissa's assistant. Continue reading my review of “Full Circle” by Regina Timothy to find out why I’m not completely in love with this one.

A Story of Romance and Espionage in World War II

Because historical romance isn’t usually my favorite genre, I didn’t think I was going to love this book. As with “Carnegie’s Maid,” however, I was wrong. “Searching for Gertrude” is satisfying in a way few books are, and I enjoyed it. “Searching for Gertrude” is well written and tidy. There are no loose ends or trying to be more than it is: a sweet love story set in World War II. Haggerty's writing style is to-the-point, no flowery language or overblown setting descriptions, which helps make “Searching for Gertrude” a light read as far as World War II novels go.

Time-Saving Cleaning Tricks Inspired by ‘Get Your Sh*t Together’

Cleaning sucks. I'd rather be reading. But I want to live in a clean home. I do not want to spend a lot of time cleaning it. Ergo, with the help of “Get Your Sh*t Together” by Sarah Knight, I've developed a few cleaning tricks, hacks, cheats or whatever you want to call them, so I have more time to read. I’m not proposing that you live some sort of hyper-scheduled life where you rush through your day and reading is just another task on your to-do list. That being said, if I can borrow time from a monotonous task like cleaning so I can spend a little more time doing something I love, I’m going to and you should too.