• Books

    Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris

    A funny and light autobiography. I actually read this book straight through rather than choose any choices as I wanted to make sure I didn’t miss anything. While not completely linear, going by the actual page numbers was fine. NPH and the book publisher made it relatively cohesive if you read it straight through.

    I laughed a couple of times which is all one can really ask for from a biographic work of an actor known for comedy.

    Content wise, I was amused by the celebrity gossip and most of the stuff did not shock me. I like NPH, but I didn’t really start to know him until “How I Met Your Mother”. I enjoyed that show in its early years (not so much later). Harris’s insight on the show tickled me because he addresses how he himself loved the Robin character and engineered it so that Barney and Robin would get together. I was a Barney/Robin shipper because I saw the attempts at chemistry. I’m glad it was intentional.

    All in all, a night and frothy cocktail of a memoirs.

    Read June 16-17, 2015.

  • Books

    The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo

    This is a small book on tidying, organising and minimalizing in life.

    As with many people, I like stuff. I would say I am a collector too. I have small collections of pens, agendas, writing paraphernalia, bags, clothing, and of course, books. I like to think that I have decent self-control with shopping and finances too. I do love a good deal. I love window shopping and I routinely even put things back in the store. I am not particularly dirty or particularly organised. Everything could be better so I dabble in minimalism by reading such topics and books.

    There are lots of nice tips in this book that spoke to me. I think on the whole, it addresses the issue that people will and do get attached to things and objects, but they must serve an emotional and practical purpose. This is why Kondo recommends people asking “Does this spark joy?” and actually talking to the item. I discard clothes more easily through donation and take the same perspective as well. I also try to do the vertical folding method, but it can become inconsistent.

    The book reminded me to not buy if I didn’t need it. There were good tips about having a closet for each person in the household. I also appreciated the sentiment how parents find it difficult to see their children discarding things. Most of the things I use less frequently, files, books, out of season clothing, and more are at my parents’ place. When I tried to donate some clothing from there, my mother said I shouldn’t and got anxious about it.

    I still need to clean my own one bedroom flat. I am lucky to have two closets. I don’t think I could do all that Kondo recommends for my current situation and life, but I can definitely use the philosophy behind it.

    After reading the book, I read the Good Reads reviews and was surprised by how many people hated it. In fact, many called Kondo “crazy” or “insane”. I guess it’s the kind of book that you either understand or don’t. I think a lot of the negative reviews took Kondo’s method too literally and they also didn’t exactly understand her lifestyle or Japanese mentality and culture. I think this book is very Japanese and Eastern. I would even venture to say that the method is very spiritual. Kondo talks about her own experiences working as a Shinto temple maiden and the idea of respecting your possessions and imbuing them with energy aligns to many Eastern religions which emphasize minimalism and energy. She emphasizes the present day as well when evaluating items which is important to Buddhist philosophy of living in the moment.

    Personally, I can take many of these tips to my own life. I hope to keep a copy of the book with me so I can review it in the future. I look forward to evaluating my items in my next clean-up.

    This is a quick tips list of Kondo’s method on Today.com.

    Read June 15, 2015.