Monday, January 30, 2012

Book Review: I am the Messenger

Well, I'm rubbish at blogging lately. Life, you know? Gets in the way sometimes.

So a couple weeks ago, I finished I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak. I've been meaning to write a review for a while now, but am only just getting to it. It was, quite simply, amazing. Some books are like ice cream, you tear through them as fast as you can because they are delicious and fleeting. Other books, you savor like the most decadent dessert from a five-star restaurant. I'm happy to say that I am the Messenger was most definitely the latter. After reading a number of breezy stories, I was so happy to find one that truly took me away from the world and placed me firmly in the mind of Ed Kennedy, underage taxi driver and unlikely hero.

The story opens during a bungled bank robbery that Ed manages to foil. From there, we're launched into Ed's amazing journey of self-discovery via a series of unexplained playing cards. Ed is called to deliver messages to a number of people who need his help in one way or another. More than anything, this story is one of affirmation. Through Ed, I found stories of hope and heartbreak, but none was more profound than that of Ed's own.

If you've read The Book Thief by Zusak, you might already be a fan of his poetic prose. I know I am (wink, wink). In this story, I particularly love Zusak's formatting. It brings meaning to the words without thesaurusing us to death. That, I really liked.

If I could write a review comprised of nothing but overused superlatives (Great! Grand! Breathtaking!), I would. But, in honor of Ed, a simple guy with simple needs, I'll only say this: read the book. It will linger with you longer than the stench of Ed's loveable dog the Doorman. You'll love it. I promise.

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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Is Minimalism the Secret to Happiness?

I try not to post more than once a week. I know everyone has enough to do without being bombarded by my dribble. Alas. I read this article that linked to this blog post that I really want to comment on. It sounds more convoluted than it is. SIDEBAR: Sometimes, I want to do that brain map thing where I track my thought process. If I transcribed what I was thinking all day, I'd make Mrs. Dalloway look like kiddie reading (Joking! Just joking! Virgina Woolf could probably have kicked my butt)./SIDEBAR

The Deal: Andrew Hyde is a known entrepreneur and meeting organizer. He is young and (from what I read) not hurting for spending money. But all that is rather ordinary. What makes him so interesting is that he owns 15 things (8 of which are clothing items (not including undies)). This floored me. How can anyone get by without owning more clothing, for one, and more stuff , for another? Well I guess this guy does.

In the interview, he talks about how his change in mindset allowed him to clear the clutter (literally and figuratively) and get his life more relationship centric vs. stuff centric. This is a surprising feat since we live in a very consumerist culture where every holiday is an excuse to buy, buy, buy! I've always admired people who can do without because I never thought of myself as someone who ever could.

If you've read Blue Like Jazz, you might remember a story the author recounted about a friend who went a whole year without buying clothing for herself. A whole year! I still think that's nuts, but as I grow up (and I do, little by little, day by day), I find myself wishing that I was more like those people who didn't need material things or feel driven to consume more. But, like so many things I've just never felt motivated enough to try it.

Cue grand experiment! I'm going to attempt to not spend any money (outside of groceries and gas) for an entire week. Starting Monday (because Mondays already suck and I would hate to inflict this on some other less sucky day of the week).

Anyone ever attempted this? Thoughts and such welcome!

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Monday, January 9, 2012

Book Review: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

I just finished The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by