My plan was to finish this post up yesterday to get it up on Show Us Your Books Day, but instead after voting I came home and took a 2 hour stress nap, then watched the results unfold until the bitter end. I haven’ slept. Guessing most of you haven’t, either. Lots of love with everyone struggling to figure out how to face not only today, but the foreseeable future.
So I never did finish writing about all the books I read this month, but I’ll go head and share the two I did get around to reviewing. After you check out what I read this month and then head over to Life According to Steph and Jana Says to see what dozens of other awesome bloggers have been reading, and fill your to-read list with all kinds of goodness. Then go out and hug someone who is really hurting to day.
Unf*ck Your Habitat: You’re Better Than Your Mess by Rachel Hoffman
This book will be released in January, 2017. Got my advance review copy courtesy of the awesome folks at Netgalley.
I’ve followed the UfYH Tumblr for years. It’s not a daily read, but it’s great to open when you need some inspiration to get things done, kinda like turning on a Hoarders marathon. A lot of the book’s contents can be found on the website, if you have the patience to dig through like 5 years worth of posts. The book version is great if you’d prefer all of the suggestions and motivation in one place, though.
One thing I love about the UfYH book is that the author takes into account situations that most organizing or cleaning blogs or books don’t consider – things like living with roommates, dealing with mental or physical illnesses that make cleaning tough, or living in just one room of your parents’ house. She even includes an easy to follow guide for those times that you need to do a last minute emergency clean-up before something like an apartment inspection or important visitors. It’s the perfect hand-holding guide if you often find yourself overwhelmed and just not sure where to start.
If you’ve already got a pretty good handle on keeping your house looking great, you probably don’t need this book. But if you’re like me and often get so wrapped up in work and life that you often look up and notice that things have gotten out of control without you even noticing, or if you simply didn’t grow up in a home where you learned how to clean and maintain your space and you could use a breakdown of the basics, it’s definitely a handy guide.
Radical Self Love
I liked Gala’s blog back in its early years (I think I read around 2008 or 2009?) but I eventually stopped reading because that thing happened where a blogger gets popular and their whole writing/posting style changes (Rarely for the better) and they become something of a caricature of themselves. I’m always curious about books by bloggers, though, so I requested this one from Netgalley when I saw it was available there.
It’s strange… Gala is clearly a creative, bright woman, so why is 75% of her book totally generic self help stuff? It’s 2016… who is NOT familiar with the concepts of affirmations and getting rid of clothes you haven’t worn in the past year? Disappointing, especially since she seems to lead an unconventional life and so I’d expect her to have some more interesting advice, or at least fresh takes on the old standards. It felt more like a collection of “here are all of the points you should talk about when it comes to self help” than “here’s my unique take on life and happiness”.
Even with so much generic padding, the book did have a few bright moments, and I did get feel a little motivated to do things just from reading.
Unfortunately, it seemed like every time I’d be impressed by an interesting idea or suggestion, weird word choice or awkward phrasing would break the spell and bring me back down. For example, there are several instances n the book that begin with “It may sound silly, but…” followed by something totally mundane. (The example I highlighted was “It may sound funny, but when it comes to shaking hands, a firm grip is very important.” ) Also a lot of instances where word choice came off like an old person trying to sound cool, or as just trying too hard to be creative and just coming off awkward instead.
An example: “It’s pretty common to believe that we’re just going to end up like our parents, but once you get hip to the fact that you can create your own life, those thoughts become as dated as disco!”
There are also countless prompts to visit her website to get additional info/tips from a companion guide. Why not put those things in the book? It comes across as desperately seeking pageviews (or probably newsletter sign-ups… never visited the page). She also gives the URL to her blog page about tapping (EFT) at least a dozen times. Her “solve everything by tapping” philosophy is also a little worrisome. It’s great if it truly worked for her, but given that she claims it cured her eating disorder overnight, it seems like she’s bordering on giving unqualified “medical” advice. I was also amused that she said she first heard about it in 2006 when she claims it was “very fringe”. If I was introduced to it in early 2007 in middle of nowhere Missouri, it can’t have been THAT fringe. And although she claims in the book that she doesn’t know anyone it hasn’t worked for, I know I saw no results from it. Anyway, it worries me that a lot of younger girls will probably read this book and then wonder why their body issues or depression or other problems they should be seeking real help for aren’t being immediately cured by tapping on their head. Recommending it as a way to work through problems is fine, but praising it as the magical cure to any issue really is not.
Since pretty much everything in the book is either common knowledge or covered on her blog, I feel like it would been so much better if she’d written a book about something like using your uniqueness to grow an online following/presence, since she’s definitely been successful at that.
I saw a Goodreads review that said, “It’s fun to read in a Cosmo Magazine kind of way.” and I feel like that hits the nail on the head. Entertaining, but take the advice with a grain of salt and don’t expect anything too deep.