The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up / Marie Kondo

   ALRIGHT FINE, you were right, internet. I did need to read this cleaning book. Since finishing it I've been looking at my closet/drawers with an eye to purge, purge, purge, asking myself if my possessions spark joy, and shirking Marie Kondo's rule of doing it all at once in one big sweep by slowly working through a couple categories of items in spare moments. I said goodbye to a large number of earrings and necklaces. I went through two decorative type shelves, and bid a bittersweet farewell to a couple of things which were weighing me down.

    I also went through my dresser drawers and let me tell you, KonMari folding will make your drawers the most beautiful things you've seen in your entire life*. All my shirts are so accessible! It's a revelation. It certainly makes doing laundry more fun.

   Basically, Marie Kondo thinks you shouldn't keep anything that doesn't spark joy, and that you should take proper care of the things you do keep. This is a philosophy I can get on board with, and which meshes with my idea of "if you love it, keep it, who cares what other people say." Once again, liking your possessions is entirely acceptable. Really, we OUGHT to like our things. If you don't know it to be useful or believe it to be beautiful (thanks, William Morris), then why have it? Maybe I won't start talking to and thanking my shoes every day, but I will start being more mindful of the care I give to my shoes, which is, I think, what the main idea of this book comes down to. Am I being mindful of the things I own, and my thought patterns around them? Am I a mindful shopper? Am I mindful of how my stuff affects my every day life? Mindfulness for the win, y'all.

   I've only just started going through all my things, but I already feel better about the space I live in. It's great, go ahead and get this book and read through it (SO short) and don't throw the baby out with the bathwater and start to clean your home. A++ book. 

   *Possibly a slight exaggeration. But they are definitely worthy of taking a picture and instagram-direct-ing it to your sister.


"I always wanted to be a Tenenbaum"

   And the movies from the previous guessing post are:
  • Bottle Rocket (96)
  • Dumb and Dumber (94)
  • Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (89)
  • Rebecca (40)
  • The Royal Tenenbaums (01)
  Bottle Rocket is thoroughly delightful. It includes Baby Owen Wilson, Baby Luke Wilson, and inept criminality, and I was immediately enamoured. It's Wes Anderson's first movie, and the first Wes Anderson I've seen. I had been told by multiple people that I would enjoy Wes Anderson and you know what? They weren't wrong. And let's face it "I can't focus unless the gun is on the table" is a great line.

   Dumb and Dumber remains hilarious but do not, I repeat, DO NOT, watch the version with six extra minutes of movie because those six minutes soiled the movie, the experience, and my brain. The first time I ever saw Dumb and Dumber there was a near disaster involving a VHS-eating VCR, and we had to conduct some edge of your seat VCR surgery but it all came out alright in the end. This movie makes me guffaw.

   You may remember from last time I posted about movies that I have a serious dearth of Sean Connery in my movie-watching history. And so, the Sean Connery Project with my boyfriend, of which Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade was the second selection. And guess what: this movie is WAY better than The Temple of Doom! It's funny! It has tanks! Sean Connery is a bumbling ham who delights in tomfoolery! It made me want to watch Indiana Jones and the Raiders Lost Ark! I'm sure if I really wanted to I could pull some sort of academic reflection out of my hat about this movie but honestly? It's just a fun romp.

   If you have not seen Rebecca you need to stop reading this blog post and go watch it immediately, this is not a drill. Rebecca is one of my absolute favourite movies, it has nary a flaw. AND if you have seen the movie but haven't read the book you ALSO need to take some remedial action. Basically: Rebecca is so good and Daphne du Maurier is a friggen GENIUS. And this movie is perfectly cast AND is top three Hitchcock. REBECCA FOREVER. 

   Last but not least, The Royal Tenenbaums. After the resounding success of Bottle Rocket I was sold on Wes Anderson and we moved on to The Royal Tenebaums and it was equally delightful, but not as light-hearted and gentle. I get the feeling that Wes Anderson just wants to be kind to his characters. ALSO: the house the Tenenbaums live in? Gorgeous. This was a monumentally satisfactory run of movies.


The Weight of Blood / Laura McHugh

   I finished listening to this book recently, and I've been mulling it over since and trying to figure out how to review it and what to say about it. And so: bullet points.
  • Multiple POV in multiple time-settings! I am a fan of this device. A then and now structure with slowly revealed mysteries? Yes please. 
  • SMALL TOWN, DARK SECRETS, you heard it here first. 
  • A lot of sexual violence (however, it's violence that comes with PTSD, which is a point for the book).
  • A+ audiobook, excellent voicing.
  • Lots of "who is family, what is family" questioning, but not terribly deep.
  • Everyone has a great name.
  • Here's the first sentence: "That Cheri Stoddard was found at all was the thing that set people on edge, even more so than the condition of her body" WHAT, right?
  • This is really good for a debut page-turner-y novel, honestly I have very few complaints. 
   SO: Lucy was a friend-of-a-sort to Cheri, who disappeared and then was found cut into pieces and discarded in a tree by the river about a year later. The nature of her death and condition of her body combined with the discovery of a necklace that belonged to Cheri lead Lucy to start an investigation into her death. Where was she (clearly: nearby)? Who killed her (clearly: someone Lucy probably knows, this is, after all, a small town with dark secrets)? How did her parts get into the tree? AND: what is the connection, if any, between Cheri's disappearance/death and the disappearance/apparent suicide years earlier of Lucy's mother Lila? MYSTERIES.  

   Lucy/Lila/Cheri live/d in a small town called Henbane in the Ozarks which made me think of Winter's Bone and how I need to read that book since I saw and loved the movie. There's a moment in the book where for some reason the characters are like "hen bane [the plant] is totes medicinal" but hen bane is a VERY POISONOUS PLANT, do not eat it for medicine. Just a warning here.

   The pace of the book is spot-on and the characterization is good and even though some parts are frustrating it is, overall, a good read. Nothing earth-shattering, but a good read nonetheless. There's some "if you liked Gone Girl you'll like this" but every book written by a woman with a mystery in it has that description lately, so WHATEVER, GONE GIRL, I didn't even like you. I would more say that this book is weirdly reminiscent of Neverhome but not in any way that I can actually explain.

   P.S. If there's one thing we all love it is Awesome Historical Ladies, and here are nine who I mostly hadn't heard of, THANKS A LOT, silencing of women's history. 


31-35, 2015

This again already! I've been watching hella movies, apparently.

Can you guess them all?


August, or, What I Have Been Doing Instead of Reading

I almost barged in on this Big Horned Sheep Club

   August meant going to camp for ten days, seeing my cousin get married, being sick for awhile, watching more movies than usual, soaking in some natural hot springs, not climbing enough, saying goodbye-for-now to a good friend, eating a great deal of BBQ, reuniting with a far-flung friend, and, in general, having a truly lovely month. Perhaps I did not read very much, but August was genuinely good. It is now September, which means settling into a fall routine and seeing pals go to different cities for school. It's bittersweet, but I love the fall.

   Let's get to the meat of this post. What did I read in August?
  • Fight Club / Chuck Palahniuk: I reviewed this one, sort of. Four stars!
  • Chew, v. 4 / John Layman, Rob Guillory: I am getting progressively less thrilled by this series but I will give it a couple more chances, I guess. I currently have volume five out from the library, but if it ain't good I am DONE.
  • Rat Queens, v. 1 / Kurtis J. Wiebe, Roc Upchurch: YES PLEASE MORE RAT QUEENS ALSO "ROC UPCHURCH" IS THE BEST NAME EVER.
  • The Five Love Languages / Gary Chapman: SURE, this book is pretty hokey and pretty basic, but it is also useful and has some good reminders, etc. WHATEVER.
   It's not much, but I am satisfied with it. Maybe I didn't read a ton, and maybe I didn't make much progress in the books I have been halfway through for far too long, but I am content with the amount I did read and the amount I accomplished.  I can feel myself coming out of this latest reading slump and into the light.

   I've started reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up due to PEER PRESSURE, and it is quite good so far, I guess people were right. I've been sloooowly savouring Ernest Shackleton's South, and surprise: I still love Antarctic exploration with an undying fervour. I still haven't finished Bad Feminist, please don't judge me.

   ALSO: I cleaned two of my rings because apparently hot springs + silver = amazingly fast tarnishing, and WOW they look so pretty and shiny, and I didn't realize that they'd gotten dirty/tarnishy in the course of their lives, and consider this a general recommendation to clean your jewelry, you won't regret it I promise. ALSO did you know that if you line a bowl with aluminum foil and put your silver rings in it along with some baking soda and then pour boiling water over them that your rings will MIRACULOUSLY CLEAN THEMSELVES before your very eyes? This is a weird addendum to a bookish post but I am looking at my nice clean rings and they are just SO SHINY, I want all of you to experience this joy. Both hot springs and cleaning your silver come highly recommended, you heard it here first.

I luv 2 climb