2018 Book of the Year, In My Opinion

As I do practically every year, I read dozens of books. I usually read three books at any one given time from different genres that inform, inspire, motivate or purely for entertainment. The books I read typically are new authors or first editions of the established authors, but not necessarily. Sometimes, I do not become aware of a book that urges me to read it until perhaps years after its’ first publishing date.

The best book I read in 2018 was first published in 2010 and copyrighted again in 2016. What attracted me to this book was the book’s title and premise as it related to one of my three words to live by in 2018, the word, frugality.

After selling our tiny cottage in the lower peninsula of northwest Michigan, I realized (not for the first time because my husband is good at reminding me) that I am a pack rat. Everything is a memory to me, especially when the item reminds in some way of my children. I also tend to hang on to things I think I can reuse or re-purpose without ever finding the use or purpose. The cleaning out and moving experience with our cottage inspired me to the idea of minimalism. After unburdening of myself of so many things at the cottage, I found myself freer and lighter in mind, body, and spirit that I felt motivated to declutter our primary home in southeastern Michigan.

The Joy of Less Cover

After researching books on frugality and minimalism and reading many book reviews on the topics, my research led me to the book, “The Joy of Less – A Minimalist Guide to Declutter, Organize, and Simply” by Francine Jay, Miss Minimalist. The book’s first copyright was in 2010 published by Anja Press, and then again in 2016 published by the First Chronicle Books LLC, San Francisco, CA.

The Joy of Less

The book discusses the philosophy of the minimalist lifestyle and achieving that lifestyle through the author’s STREAMLINE method – the effective techniques for achieving and maintaining a decluttered home. But this book is much more than then the book’s premise I just described. The author’s non-judgmental approach to thought-provoking questions to root out the reasons for the reader’s materialism and clutter was inspiring and motivating. I felt her kindness through her phrasing and ability to guide me through the process of “useful stuff, beautiful stuff, and emotional stuff,” as well as, her compartmentalizing action steps into “trash, treasure, and transfer.”

Life Lessons

From the author’s bio on the inside back cover, Francine Jay appears to be a very young woman, however, her book, The Joy of Less revealed to me that she is an old soul. Not only did she share a different way of looking at the material things I have collected but helped me understand why I have something in the first place, why I have held on to it, and helped me to decide whether keeping an item would enhance my life.

In Francine Jay’s words, “decide which objects enhance our lives and put only those things back into our space.”

But the lesson Francine Jay taught me best was written just before those words, words that would change the way I think not only with material objects, but how I must think in mind, body and spirit.

“Decluttering is infinitely easier when you think of it as deciding what to keep, rather than deciding what to throw away.”

That one sentence blew me away.

The minimalist lifestyle

Although I was devouring the book, The Joy of Less, I put the book down for a few days to take in what I just read. I went back and read my blog post, Three Words to Live by, and I realized I had not entirely lived those words in 2018. And that is why I must choose this book, The Joy of Less – Minimalist Guide to Declutter, Organize, and Simply for my personal choice for the book of the year in 2018.

“… sacred space not a storage space.”

I love this phrase from the author, Francine Jay. That concept must not only apply to my physical living space, but be applied to my mind, body and spirit space as well.

Applying minimalism to the mind, body and spirit

What am I storing?

Why am I storing it?

Is what I am storing enhancing my life?

What and who do I choose to keep in my life?

The author continued to endear herself to my heart not only in reading the rest of her book, but including the wonderful words from the Haiku poet, Basho who wrote after his house burned down that he had a better view of the moon.

A better view of the moon

As I reflect on my three words to live by in 2018 and moving forward into 2019, I have a better view of the moon after reading Francine Jay’s book, The Joy of Less. As she reminds the reader that this is a book to be kept out on the coffee table or desk as a reference guide. Achieving a minimalist lifestyle is an ongoing process even after the initial decluttering, and I would add, even in mind, body, and spirit. I think I found my new therapist in Francine Jay.

Hoot Rating

On a hoot scale of 1 to 5, The Joy of Less by author and Miss Minimalist, Francine Jay receives an enthusiastic 5 Hoots from The Blogging Owl!

Read more about author, Francine Jay and the minimalism on her website at http://www.missminimalist.com and on follow her on Twitter at @MissMinimalist.

1 to 5 Hoot Scale

Any Book Recommendations?

Give me a hoot by email: Hoot@TheBloggingOwl.com. I would love it if you would follow this blog and at The Blogging Owl on Facebook, as well as, on Twitter @TheBloggingOwl and Instagram.

(c) 2017-2018 All Rights Reserved

Review: The Drifter by Nick Petrie

The DrifterI like to scan the bargain priced books at my local bookseller. Not because I am cheap (only when I have exceeded my monthly book budget), but I typically find good first novels. I found this gem, The Drifter by Nick Petrie, published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons, New York, New York.

I loved the characters in Nick Petrie’s debut novel, especially Peter Ash, a veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The author gives the reader an opportunity to learn not only how coming home from war can impact a veteran’s daily life but finding their mission at home.

This thriller debut novel is about Peter Ash’s personal investigation to get to the truth about the suicide of a friend from the Marines. It is a riveting story with complex characters filling the reader with a range of emotions to get to the truth.

I thoroughly enjoyed Mr. Petrie’s writing style and character development. The author’s storytelling is not overwrought nor is it simple. I am always in awe of the bravery of men and women who have served in the war including the grit of their families left behind as evidence in this novel. Readers of Mr. Petrie’s first novel, The Drifter will enjoy this crime fiction on all fronts.

The Drifter is the first in a series of Peter Ash novels. I am not a book series kind of reader; however, Nick Petrie has released the second novel, Burning Bright and third book, Light It Up with the fourth book, Tear It Down to be released in January 2019. Although I am a little shame-faced to know I am behind the times with this new crime fiction author, I may just be persuaded to add Mr. Petrie’s latest Peter Ash entries to my reading list.

The moral of this book review

Don’t walk past the bargain priced book aisle!

Hoot Rating

Genre:
Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Thrillers & Suspense > Military
Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Thrillers & Suspense > Crime > Murder
Literature & Fiction > Literary

On a scale of 1 to 5 HOOTS, The Drifter by Nick Petrie earns a 4 hoot rating.

4 hoot rating

Happy Reading!

New web photo - Sheri

Any Book Recommendations?

Hoot at me by email: Hoot@TheBloggingOwl.com. I would love it if you would follow this blog and at The Blogging Owl on Facebook, as well as, on Twitter @TheBloggingOwl.

(c) 2017-2018 All Rights Reserved

Review: The Hideaway by Laura K. Denton

The Hideaway

Lauren K. Denton’s first novel, The Hideaway published by Thomas Nelson, Nashville, TN, a registered trademark of HarperCollins Christian Publishing Inc. is a USA Today bestseller and recommended by The Blogging Owl.

After her grandmother, Margaret “Mags” Van Buren dies, Sara Jenkins returns home to Sweet Bay, Alabama from her life as an interior designer and shop keeper in New Orleans. Sara is the only living family member and heir to her grandmother’s shabby bed and breakfast home, The Hideaway.

Sara’s journey will resonate with many readers as it did with me.

How well do we know or understand family?

Do we really want or need to know our family legacy?

Are we always sure of where we belong?

How can we be sure of our decisions?

Lauren Denton’s simple storytelling of a young woman finding her place in life and in love is a wonderful first novel. It is only after reading the novel that the reader can appreciate the beauty of the author’s writing. There are many lessons sweetly planted and nurtured in the author’s first novel, The Hideaway about family, love, legacy and home.

I am looking forward to reading her second novel just released this past spring, Hurricane Season.

Hoot Rating

Genre:  Christian Books & Bibles > Literature & Fiction > Romance > Historical
Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Small Town & Rural
Romance > Clean & Wholesome

On a scale of 1 to 5 HOOTS, The Hideaway by Laura K. Denton earns a 4 and 1/2 hoot rating.

1 to 5 Hoot Scale - 4-half stars

Happy Reading!

New web photo - Sheri

Any Book Recommendations?

Hoot at me by email: Hoot@TheBloggingOwl.com. I would love it if you would follow this blog and at The Blogging Owl on Facebook, as well as, on Twitter @TheBloggingOwl.

(c) 2017-2018 All Rights Reserved