Friday, January 15, 2016

Spark Joy by Marie Kondo

Marie Kondo took the world by storm with her first book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. The companion to that book, Spark Joy is rapidly following suit.

Whereas Kondo's first book lays the foundation for what is dubbed the "KonMari" method of tidying up, Spark Joy fleshes out in more detail and description how to apply her principles to every area of your home. The illustrations are just simple little renderings that illustrate various points--almost as if you've glanced into an artist's sketchbook.

I would definitely encourage readers to start with her first book but I would also recommend that they immediately read Spark Joy as I felt that things were explained more fully and her suggestions seemed less rigid and dogmatic in the follow up companion. In Spark Joy, Kondo's voice seemed more gentle and understanding. The idea is not to get rid of all "stuff" but rather to choose to only surround yourself with things that bring you joy.

Note that Kondo's world view is influenced by her Japanese heritage and may not line up with western thought.  I have to admit that the idea of thanking my possessions seemed a little odd.  In spite of my difference in world view, Kondo had many valid points about how to go about ridding ourselves of the clutter that weighs us down and keeps us from joy.

I liked how she explained more fully in Spark Joy what that actually means. While a hammer may not make one feel joyful, you can still appreciate the service it provides helping you accomplish things in your home.  Other tools that we need in life can be viewed as a practical help even if it doesn't provide the same joy as a favorite blanket might.

Kondo encouraged people to really use the things they love--not just keep them packed away for "someday."  If it's worth keeping, it's worth using and/or prominently displaying.  And if you find that something no longer has a place in your life, then letting it go (by donation or disposal), can be very freeing.

Kondo has helped hundreds of people tidy up with very little rebounding back to their old ways. I love that Spark Joy is a small book that makes it easy to read and re-read.  Keep it by your bed or in the bathroom and work away at reading it as you can. You'll most likely have pages dog-eared or tagged so you can refer back to her suggestions as you tackle specific areas in your home.

If you are ready to spark joy in your life and home, then grab a copy of Marie Kondo's Spark Joy. Visual learners may benefit from watching some of Kondo's YouTube videos demonstrating some of her techniques. Visit Kondo's website for more about her products (including a new app coming out in 2016).

Need some encouragement from others on your joy sparking journey?  Check out any number of Facebook groups of people trying to implement Kondo's methods. Fans share their journey of tidying up (often with before and after photos). There are some pretty remarkable stories of people who truly experienced life-changing results through the magic spread by Kondo.  

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of Spark Joy from Blogging for Books for the purpose of review. No other compensation was received.

Monday, December 28, 2015

The Lion Comic Book Hero Bible by Siku, Richard Thomas & Jeff Anderson

The Lion Comic Book Hero Bible

I have glanced through a few other graphic novel versions of the Bible.  This particular volume caught my eye because of the reference to Marvel heroes.  After reading through it, I had mixed feelings about the book.

  • Visually engaging
  • Clever titles (many of which will go over young reader's heads)
  • Creative renaming of characters (which could actually confuse children so may also be a con)
  • Bible passages for the stories are included for reference (wish they'd been documented within the text for greater ease)
  • Anachronistic language
  • Lots of overt violence and spears run through people
  • Historically inaccurate clothing (capes and horned helmets for Israelites?)
  • Sensual edge to female characters
  • Unnecessary references for children (e.g. Rahab was shown to live in the Red Light District--is that really a term readers needs to know?)
One thing that surprised me was that although the Ten Commandments were referenced more than one, they were never actually written out in the text.  Seems like a pretty big omission! 

I really, really, wanted to like this book because I do feel like a comic-like Bible could be a wonderful tool to reach a certain group of kids. Just not sure that enough of the genuine message was left intact.  My biggest concern in creating a comic like world with superheroes is that it relegates the men of history into some make believe category of mythology.

I certainly would not recommend this book as one's sole exposure and foundation of Biblical knowledge. More of an entertaining supplement for older teens.  Younger readers may be confused by the new names for characters they have grown up learning about as well as being left with some pretty graphic images of violent deaths. Unfortunately, I think the strongest appeal will be to the youngest readers and I would caution parents to preview the book prior to giving to an elementary age child.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of The Lion Comic Book Hero Bible from Kregel Publications for the purpose of review. No other compensation was received.