Spring Into Mindful Change

Spring is a season I always anxiously await. Longer, sunny days, beautiful scents, and colorful spring flowers bring new energy and joy into everybody’s life. It is a season of awakening, rebirth and rejuvenation. There is no better time than spring to take care of your mind, spirit, body and surroundings. Need a little inspiration? Try these books.

book-of-joy

The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World

by Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, Douglas Carlton Abrams
This book is a record of conversations between two of the most spiritual men of our time: the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. The conversations took place when both men met in April 2015 to celebrate the Dalai Lama’s 80th birthday. These two extraordinary men, who have experienced many difficulties in their lives yet still find joy in each day, make the effort to answer the critical question of our time: How do we find joy in the face of life’s inevitable suffering? The book also reveals what true friendship is about. This book allows you to experience the happy moment of their first embrace and their emotional goodbye, as well as their moments of deep reflection on life, humorous stories, and genuine laughter in between.

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The Little Book of Hygge

by Meik Wiking
According to the World Happiness Report of 2017, Scandinavian countries are home to the happiest people in the world. The United States ranks 19th in the current report. For Danish people, in particular, their happiness results from a style of life or a philosophy called Hygge. This little book, written by the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen, offers Danish secrets for happy living. You will even find a few yummy Hygge recipes.

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Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

by Greg McKeown
I don’t know about you, but I tend to sign myself up for every task or event that comes my way. I think of it as an opportunity to experience something that will add flavor to my life. Essentialism explores the dark side of that behavior. Too many tasks and too many responsibilities can cause anxiety and change the fun of new experiences into nightmares. The results of your work might not be what you expect, and your satisfaction might disappear. In the end, it’s about the choices you make. The key is to choose wisely. This book is a must read for anyone who struggles with time management, productivity, and feelings of stress and overwork in life.

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The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

by Marie Kondo
When people think about spring, they often think of spring-cleaning. You can’t deny the happiness and satisfaction that come from your clean and well-organized surroundings. Whatever it is — your home, garden or office — when the space is clean and organized, it gives you the feeling of calmness, peace and joy. Kondo is a guru on the subject! Her philosophy on decluttering and organizing is appreciated by many people who find cleaning to be a challenging task. The Japanese art of organizing will truly change your life!

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What Doesn’t Kill Us: How Freezing Water, Extreme Altitude and Environmental Conditioning Will Renew Our Lost Evolutionary Strength

by Scott Carney
This book was recommended by my brother-in-law, who was inspired by the Dutch fitness guru Wim Hof and his extreme exercise methods — which he is now implementing in his own life. The positive effects of these methods are noticeable already. Hof says he is able to control his body and his immune system thanks to mental and physical practices he is dedicated to. The author, Carney, didn’t believe Hof and started an investigation to prove Hof a liar. Instead, Carney became the method’s biggest supporter when he found it was based on scientific principles.

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Poems That Make Grown Women Cry & Poems That Make Grown Men Cry

Lately, these two poetry anthologies have captured my attention. I always enjoy poetry, and I believe that reading poetry is the best way to finish a day. It is essential to take some time to reflect on your life journey, set your imagination free, and get lost in the beauty of poetical forms and meanings. Did you know that poetry has therapeutic benefits? It can help with memory and calm your mind. Looking for more choices? Try these.

Happy spring reading!

Happy National Preservation Week!

keepsakes-unsplash-roman-kraft-60298-blogThink preservation! This year’s National Preservation Week is April 23-29, and there’s no better time to think about preserving our personal and shared collections of items and heirlooms.

National Preservation Week is brought to you by the Association for Library Collections & Technical Services (ALCTS), a branch of the American Library Association (ALA). The intent is to bring awareness to the importance of preserving precious items and keepsakes, and to emphasize what can be done to preserve those items and other public collections. U.S. institutions are estimated to hold more than 4.8 billion items and American libraries hold 63 percent of this whole, with countless more held by other individuals and families in society.

What Is Worth Saving?

According to the ALCTS there is a treasure trove of important items that should be preserved, including architectural drawings, artifacts, audio and video recordings, diaries, genealogical information, letters, maps, memoirs and reminiscences, minutes and reports, photo albums and photographs, printed materials, professional and business papers, and speeches and lectures. You may have many of these things at home, thinking they’re safe. So what’s the big deal?

It turns out that many of the items noted above are susceptible to damage from several environmental factors. According to ALCTS, causes of deterioration include light exposure, heat, moisture, and pollutants like dust. The ALCTS estimates that 1.3 billion items within the U.S. are at risk from these factors.

Tips for Protecting What’s Precious

The ALCTS offers many resources and tips to help you preserve your family heirlooms, including these:

  • Move precious items out of the attic or basement and into a bedroom closet or a clean, climate-controlled part of your house.
  • Minimize handling of your items.
  • Make copies of important items and label them.
  • To preserve your really important treasures, the ALCTS recommends consulting with a preservation or conservation professional who can view your items. However, if you would like tips for preserving family photos, letters, documents, etc., you can view recommendations and submit your own questions online to preservation expert Donia Conn.

Douglas County History Research Center: Your Local Resource

If you need extra help in preserving your valuable keepsakes, Douglas County Libraries offers an invaluable resource: the Douglas County History Research Center (DCHRC), located in our Castle Rock – Philip S. Miller branch at 100 S. Wilcox St. Here you can find archivists with experience in preservation, and you can also find exquisite items from local lore.

Book a visit with an archivist by calling (303) 688-7730. You can also check out the DCHRC’s web page to learn more about this great resource and local historical topics.

National Library Week: April 9-15

PAlibraryNational Library Week was created by the American Library Association (ALA) in the mid-1950s to celebrate the contributions of the nation’s libraries and librarians, as well as promote library use and support. The theme of National Library Week 2017 is “Libraries Transform.”

Libraries Transform  

According to the ALA, libraries and library staff can transform communities by going beyond their traditional roles and providing more opportunities for community engagement. Here at Douglas County Libraries (DCL), there are a variety of new, interesting events and programs for patrons of all ages. To see upcoming happenings, visit the Library Events page at DCL.org, and click Events Calendar. You can sort this calendar by event type, age group, location, and other options.

Other Ways Libraries Contribute

ALA cites the importance of libraries to society for their “role in leveling the playing field for all who seek information and access to technologies.” At DCL, you can use computers, the internet, and a plethora of online databases for access to a wealth of knowledge on all sorts of subjects. You can even check out a mobile hotspot and access free internet in your home or car. If you’re thinking about taking a long car ride with your family, you can use this mobile hotspot to access movies and games on the internet and not use up your data plan.

That’s not all! Did you know you can also check out a sewing machine, loom and spinning wheel? Our Check Out Colorado program allows you to check out a State Parks pass, and you can visit local science and cultural institutions like Dinosaur Ridge, Butterfly Pavilion, and History Colorado Center with an Adventure Pass. All you need is your library card!

According to ALA, one of the most important ways libraries transform communities is the way in which “libraries support democracy and effect social change through their commitment to provide equitable access to information for all library users regardless of race, ethnicity, creed, ability, sexual orientation, gender identity, or socio-economic status.” At DCL, all are welcome to use our print and digital media, attend our early literacy and adult programming, and spend time in the creative learning environments within our buildings.

So don’t be a stranger! Visit your local DCL branch, celebrate National Library Week with us, and get to know a librarian today.

Worried About Fake News?

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Fake news has become a widespread worry lately, and websites carrying fake news can look quite legitimate and professional. Today’s fake news could be entirely fabricated or it could just misinterpret facts or misrepresent data. It is up to you, the reader, to be vigilant and make sure the information is accurate.

Spotting Fake News

Keep these things in mind. (Sources: Harvard Library, http://guides.library.harvard.edu/fake; Indiana University East Campus Library, http://iue.libguides.com/fakenews)

  • Headlines usually appeal to emotion to make you feel happy, sad, angry or scared.
  • Articles might be fake if they are difficult to verify and do not include links that trace back to the source.
  • It might be hard to tell who the author is or to gauge his or her expertise.
  • The publication date is also very important in determining an article’s accuracy, since information can have an expiration date. For instance, in 2006 Pluto lost its status as a planet and became a dwarf planet, so any articles claiming Pluto is a planet would be false after 2006.
  • URLs are also a really good clue to determine legitimacy. Well-established news sites include the name of the news agency and end with the domain .com. However, you should pay close attention to the full domain name. Did the article come from nbcnews.com.co? That extra “.co” should be a red flag of something suspicious.  Some domains like .com, .org and .net can be acquired and used by anyone. Other domain names ending in .edu are reserved for colleges and universities, while .gov indicates a government website.

Here’s a great example of a fake news site.

Tired of Misinformation?

If you really want to avoid fake news, Douglas County Libraries (DCL) can help. You can access researcher-vetted content on the Research page at DCL.org. Here you can find reputable news articles, scholarly and peer-reviewed journals, e-books, business and financial resources, consumer research, and much more.

You can easily search any of these databases from a computer at the library. Or if you prefer to do your research from home, all you will need is your library card and PIN (which is typically the last four digits of your phone number).

So go explore. DCL is here for you.

Spice It Up With Korean Cookbooks!

I am a cookbook addict.

It’s a good thing that Douglas County Libraries (DCL) has such an amazing selection of cookbooks, otherwise I’d need to buy another bookshelf. One of my favorite things to do is immerse myself in a new cuisine for a while. This winter I’m doing Korean. Luckily, Aurora is chock full of Asian markets that stock more exotic-sounding ingredients. I’ve made many a trip to H Mart and Pacific Ocean Market. If you’ve never been, I highly recommend a visit — especially on the weekends when they have free samples. I had my first-ever persimmon the other day! (It was delicious, even though it basically looked like a tomato.)

These are some cookbooks I’ve checked out from DCL. I enjoyed them so much I bought my own copies. You can check out these and more of our Korean cookbooks here.

 

KFood

by Da-Hae and Gareth West
KFood has solid recipes. The dish shown is a type of Korean stew called jjigae. I knew I had to cook it myself after tasting the amazingly delicious version at Tofu House in Aurora. I may not be at Tofu House’s level yet, but KFood’s recipe was a hit with my friends on my first try! Another dish everyone loves is the gochujang meatloaf. I altered the recipe a little bit by using a plucot habanero jam, rather than the apricot version it asked for, in the glaze. (I’d bought the jam at the Parker Farmers Market and just had to use it!) I think this book excels with its Korean-American fusion recipes.

Seoul Food

by Naomi Imatome-Yun
Though Seoul Food covers all manner of dishes, I’ve been primarily trying the side dishes and anju, which is basically bar food. These tasty dishes are great for get-togethers. The dish I posted above is goguma mattang. It’s a dish of steamed and crisped sweet potatoes tossed with chopped walnuts and a honey-sugar glaze, then sprinkled with toasted black sesame seeds. It is incredibly simple to make and oh-so-tasty. The other sides have been just as easy to make, and they really add a special zing to the ordinary meals I pair them with.

Cook Korean!

by Robin Ha
This one was a new concept for me — a cookbook that is also a comic book! My favorite cookbooks have plenty of photos, usually showing step-by-step instructions. The drawings in this book are just as useful. The format allows interesting facts about Korean culture and food to pop up, as well. The dish above is a simple steamed egg dish that was delicious and easily customizable. And I learned an interesting cooking technique. The egg was steamed in that bowl in a larger pot, so that made for fewer dishes to clean!

Koreatown

by Deuki Hong and Matt Rodbard

I’ll end with Koreatown. It has the infamous kimchi white chocolate snickerdoodle recipe that intrigued half my co-workers and horrified the others. I did get compliments on them! (And I ate too many myself.) Who knew that spicy fermented cabbage would work so well with a mellowing white chocolate? This cookbook not only has a great blend of traditional and fusion recipes, but it also includes compelling, personal tales about Korean food in America.

Graphic Novels: Animal Characters

I noticed that the graphic novel category in last year’s DCL Reading Challenge created new fans of this format. Many were surprised to find that graphic novels are more than just superhero comic books, which makes me think it would be useful to talk about other kinds of graphic novels you can find at Douglas County Libraries.

In particular, I want to highlight stories with animal characters. These can range from the cotton-candy sweet fluffiness of Chi’s Sweet Home to the powerful Holocaust memoir Maus. Sometimes the animals get to just be animals. Other times they are allegories for real world issues — a lot of these deal with war and conflict.

In no particular order, here are five notable graphic novels to check out. More suggestions can be found on this reading list.

Beasts of Burden

by Evan Dorkin
Did you ever read Bunnicula as a child? This could be the adult version. The dogs of Burden Hill — and one cat — are entangled in supernatural threats to their owners, their homes, and their lives. As the series progresses, they learn how to join the fight. The illustrations can be cute, but the story is not aimed at children. There will be blood, and not everyone will survive.

Pride of Baghdad

by Brian K. Vaughan
Here’s a small warning: This tale is based on a true story from the American bombing of Baghdad. It’s important to mention this because this isn’t a light read. There is tragedy. There is violence. There are politics. Each animal serves as an allegory for human viewpoints about war.

Blacksad

by Juan Diaz Canales
This is a hardboiled, 50’s-style noir murder mystery … with a cat PI in a world of animals. He has the trench coat, the cynicism, the doomed loves — the plot here revolves around the death of a past lover. There are also cameos of real-world people in animal form.

We3

by Grant Morrison
Three animals are part of a government military experiment. Despite being deadly weapons, they want only to escape and be normal again. The story avoids becoming preachy, but it is devastating. One of its most interesting aspects is that the animals think as animals during the journey.

Sidekicks

by Dan Santat
Wait, wait! It’s not technically a superhero story. These are wannabe sidekicks. The illustrations are amazing, and the story is so sweet that it’s a good book to end this list with. The pets of a superhero plan to compete with humans possessing powers to become the sidekick of their superhero owner — without him figuring out who they are.

Colorado Kills

There’s a special joy that comes from reading about familiar places. Sometimes it’s seeing characters enjoy one of our favorite haunts. Other times, their journeys take them to nearby places we’ve never heard of — but must visit right now. Or maybe it’s the fun of being in the know and nitpicking author mistakes. (My recent head shakes include an author placing an isolated cabin in the middle of Anchorage and another talking about how flat Oklahoma is — when describing a town that is bordered by the Ozarks.)

So in that spirit, check out these mysteries set in Colorado. Do they capture our state, or do they fall prey to stereotypes and clichés?

Wilderness Areas

Rocky Mountain National Park seems to be one of the most popular Colorado settings. We have everyone from Nevada Barr with Hard Truth to Graham Scott’s Mountain Rampage. Both of these books are parts of larger series whose detectives find mayhem in national parks around the country. Antler Dust by Mark Stevens takes us to the beautiful Flat Tops Wilderness instead. The next three murders and novels also take place there. The Flat Tops now fall into my “must visit right now” category, preferably with fewer dead bodies.

Fictional Colorado

Christine Goff takes us back to Rocky Mountain National Park with A Rant of Ravens, though her bird-watching detective is based out of the fictional Colorado town of Elk Park. Another mystery set in a fictional Colorado town is Maggie Sefton’s Knit One, Kill Two. It’s the first of a 14-book cozy series based on knitting. While Fort Connor isn’t real, the knitting shop featured in the story is. Lambspun of Colorado is located in Fort Collins.

The Big City

Denver is also a popular setting. For instance, why not check out Gary Reilly’s humorous mystery, The Asphalt Warrior? Fans love reading about this cab driver navigating familiar streets and picking up fares at businesses we all know. There’s also Body Slam by Rex Burns, which tackles pro wrestling in the metro area. Other well-known Colorado cities take the stage in Privileged Information by Stephen White and Swift Justice by Laura DiSilverioThey are a Boulder-based psychological thriller and a Colorado Springs romantic romp, respectively. Less known, but in Douglas County, is Crestview, the setting for Leslie Cain’s cozy mystery, Death by Inferior Design.
You can easily place a hold on any or all of these titles by visiting our Colorado Mysteries list.

Lessons Learned: Why We Read

What are you reading? That’s the question bestselling author Will Schwalbe asks everyone he meets, and it’s one I ask as well. Schwalbe is on a book tour for Books for Living, his latest title. He is best known for the memoir The End of Your Life Book Club, which covers book discussions he and his mother had during her chemotherapy treatments. Books for Living focuses more on why we read and the lessons we learn.

In Books for Living, Schwalbe includes books that speak to challenges we all face. Some of the books he chose include: Gift From the Sea (challenge: recharging); Stuart Little (challenge: searching); and Rebecca (challenge: betrayal). Whether you read his selections or not, Schwalbe urges readers to find their own.

Recent Reads & What I Learned

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Pachinko

by Min Jin Lee
A brilliant story of resilience, integrity, determination and love. Seventeen-year-old Sunja and her mother are running a boarding house in Korea in the early 1900s. Sunja is seduced and left pregnant. A traveling minister offers to marry her and raise the child as his own. She accepts and they immigrate to Japan. They encounter racism, poverty, war, hunger, love, tragedy and loss, but they never give up. It’s an engaging, thought-provoking and relevant read. Learn more about the author and this book here.

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The Stolen Child

by Lisa Carey
This story about the belief in things unseen, strength, and determination will keep you up until the wee hours! This magical, powerful story takes place on St. Brigid, a remote island off the coast of Ireland. It’s 1959, but islanders still believe in the old ways — curses, fairy folk, and St. Brigid’s miracles. The sea is their survival or their death. Sisters Rose and Emer are different as day and night. Emer is touched by the old world and has gifts that people fear, though she fears for her son’s health and survival. When Brigid, an American, moves to the island, love and friendship give way to deceit. This unforgettable story includes an amazing array of female characters.

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Her Every Fear

by Peter Swanson
Monsters are real! Kate Priddy is neurotic and suffers from severe anxiety and panic attacks. When the suggestion is made that she swap apartments with an American cousin she’s never met, she heads to Boston. Jet-lagged and alone, she soon discovers that her cousin’s next-door neighbor has been murdered. When the police come knocking on Kate’s door for answers about her cousin, she has none. Fans of Hitchcock’s Rear Window will enjoy the overwhelming creepiness in this psychological thriller.

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In Sunlight or in Shadow

Edited by Lawrence Block
This collection of short stories — inspired by the paintings of 20th century American artist Edward Hopper — offers a sense of moodiness, stark loneliness, and grit. I could almost smell the cigarette smoke and stale liquor while reading Robert Olen Butler’s “Soir Bleu.” I was swept into a violent, voyeuristic world by Joyce Carol Oates’ story based on “The Woman in the Window.” Other contributors include: Stephen King, Michael Connelly, Megan Abbott, Craig Ferguson, Nicholas Christopher, Joe R. Lansdale, and Lee Child. Hopper was known for his use of light and shadow. Learn more about him here.

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News of the World

by Paulette Jiles
This gem from the author of The Color of Lightning will steal your heart as trust and bonds are forged. It’s 1870. Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd makes his living giving newspaper readings to paying audiences. He meets an old military acquaintance who offers him a $50 gold piece to deliver a 10-year-old girl who had been a captive of the Kiowa for several years back to her relatives. But Johanna does not wish to leave the Kiowa, the only family she remembers. This makes for a fiery relationship between Kidd and the girl during their treacherous 400-mile journey. The audiobook is excellent!

You can find the complete list of books that speak to various challenges here.

My Favorite Reader: Scott Brick

The Grammy Awards were recently handed out, but you probably missed the award for Best Spoken Word Album. It’s not surprising; it’s an often overlooked category. And that’s why I’m calling attention to it. Nominees and winners for this award have run the gamut, from Barack Obama to Betty White to Elvis Costello. And while my favorite reader, Scott Brick, has not won this award, I want to introduce you to him.

Brick is one of the most prolific readers in the industry, reading the works of many bestselling authors, such as Steve Berry, David Baldacci, Clive Cussler, Douglas Preston and Harlen Coben. But it is his breadth of reading that I admire most. I’ve enjoyed listening to titles that I otherwise wouldn’t have selected except for wanting to hear his mellifluous voice while driving in my car. Learn more about Scott Brick here, and check out these audio titles featuring his voice.

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

by Gabrielle Zevin

This was the audio that started it all for me! Brick’s voice will always be that of A.J. Fikry, a book-loving curmudgeon who is coming around to the fact that he will spend his days in the quiet bookstore he owns on a quiet island. That is, until the day his life takes a drastic turn. A heartwarming, funny, sad book about books, and love, and what’s important in life.

In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex

by Nathaniel Philbrick
Philbrick has become one of my favorite nonfiction writers, but I only listened to this because Scott Brick was the reader. Brick relates the story of the whaleship Essex, which was rammed and sunk by a whale. What follows is a story of survival and endurance, decisions made both good and bad, and, ultimately, a movie that was not as good as the book, Chris Hemsworth notwithstanding.

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Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania

by Erik Larson
Erik Larson is another one of my favorite authors. His writing is chock full of information, and he goes off on many tangents but then expertly brings everything together. In Dead Wake, Larson writes of the Lusitania and the lives of the people on board, as well as those who bring about its destruction. Brick’s reading makes the density of this book a lot more palatable.

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A Lowcountry Heart: Reflections on a Writing Life

by Pat Conroy
We lost Conroy last year, but his writing lives on in this compilation of his blogs and letters and a wonderful introduction by his widow, writer Cassandra King. Listening to his writing is like listening to a song — and it makes me miss him all the more. He’s buried in Saint Helena Memorial Gardens in his beloved Beaufort, South Carolina. The cemetery is owned by the Brick Baptist Church, and he was interred there even though he was not African-American or a Baptist — a lesson on inclusion and acceptance we could all learn from.

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In Cold Blood

by Truman Capote
I always thought this story was creepy, and listening to Brick’s narration makes it that much more creepy. The wonderful prose of Capote makes unsettlingly real the murder of a family in a small Kansas town and the investigation, trials and executions that followed. The movie Capote, starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, covers much of what the author writes in the book and the aftermath.
I think you’ll find some enjoyable listening with these titles. And you can find more of Brick’s work in this list or by searching our catalog.

The Life-Changing Magic of Trying to Tidy Up (My Life)

Sigh … January 2017 is already in the rearview mirror and most of my New Year’s resolutions have been left in the dust! To be honest, I’ve never been good about resolutions, except one. A few years ago I decided my life was filled with too much material and mental clutter, so I set about trying to simplify and tidy up. I’m not perfect, and I’m definitely not a neat freak (just ask my wife), but along the way I’ve come across a few books that helped me organize, simplify and declutter. Maybe one or two of these will work for you.

 

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Zen Habits – Handbook for Life: Hundreds of Tips for Simplicity, Happiness and Productivity
by Leo Babauta

Babauta got me moving toward a less-cluttered life. He writes about finding simplicity and mindfulness in the daily chaos of life in his blog Zen Habits. He took many of the best tips from the blog and put them in this book. He’s written other books on simplicity, organization and mindfulness — they are all on his blog, and a number of them are available from Douglas County Libraries.

 

 

 

 

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
by Marie Kondo

The big book in the world of decluttering is this tiny book by Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo (and it was also DCL’s most checked-out nonfiction book in 2016). This New York Times bestseller highlights her KonMari Method for simplifying, organizing and storing. I picked a few choice methods from the book instead of subscribing to the entire method, and I still fold socks and t-shirts as prescribed in this video as my little bit of life-changing magic.

If you want more KonMari tips, read Kondo’s follow-up release Spark Joy.

 

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New Order: A Decluttering Handbook for Creative Folks (and Everyone Else)
by Fay Wolf

In less than 180 pages, New Order covers physical and digital decluttering, organization, productivity and collaboration, and provides a bunch of resources on how and where to donate and recycle all the stuff you’ve tossed. It’s an informative, quick read!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Unf*ck Your Habitat: You’re Better Than Your Mess
by Rachel Hoffman

This book is a new entry (2017) in the organization/simplification scene. It’s written for those of us who don’t have the time to follow a complex system of organization. Designed to develop better habits in your habitat, the book has a simple goal: “Not everyone will have a showcase of a home, but whatever your habitat, you deserve for it to bring you happiness, not stress.” You don’t need to be perfect and have tons of time to follow the advice in the book — you just need to start!

 

 

 

 

 

The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload
by Daniel Levitin

For those more interested in the “why” than the “how-to,” Levitin’s book looks at organization in the 21st-century human by examining brain science, and how “new research into the cognitive neuroscience of attention and memory can be applied to the challenges of our daily lives.” Although a bit dry at times, The Organized Mind is an interesting read filled with illuminating examples and a little how-to as well, and it’s a good match for those who like reading Malcolm Gladwell.

 

 

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The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck
by Sarah Knight

On the opposite end of the spectrum and subtitled How to Stop Spending Time You Don’t Have With People You Don’t Like Doing Things You Don’t Want to Do, this book is written as part parody and part remedy to complex organization-overload manuals. The book talks of finding ways to better enjoy your life by focusing on the things that matter to you, instead of worrying about what others think. It’s R-rated and funny, but also filled with practical advice.

 

 

 

 

 

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High Fidelity
by Nick Hornby

Huh? If you’ve gotten this far, you are probably wondering why High Fidelity is on this list. One reason is that I really like the book (and the movie as well). But I also think it fits — at its core, it’s a story of a guy trying to organize and declutter his past relationships so he can move forward. And isn’t that what simplification/organization/decluttering projects are all about? Let’s stop living in the past, holding on to stuff we don’t need anymore, and let’s look to the future!

 

Best of luck in the rest of 2017 — may it be simpler, less cluttered, and more enjoyable!