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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

8 Books for a More Organized You

Is decluttering a near spiritual, Marie Kondo “if it doesn’t bring you joy, toss it” exercise for you? Or maybe you’re looking for a practical guide with small, easily achievable steps for getting organized. Whatever your needs, Fairfax County Public Library can help. Here are eight books to help you downsize, regroup and be less overwhelmed by your stuff.

Books about how to organize your life have been around for ages, but Marie Kondo hit a nerve in the U.S. with her book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Is it because of the book's no nonsense, hardcore approach or the spiritual aspects of how she views possessions and gives us permission to let them go? We wrote about Life Changing Magic several months ago in this post, and the book has continued to be in high demand as more and more people try out her KonMari method. The follow up companion Spark Joy is new this year and is an illustrated guide to the folding, keeping and storage concepts Kondo discussed in the first book.


Don't think you have the time to do a full-scale evaluation of all your items and instead need quick, fast, simple results? Try these two titles: Clear the Clutter, Find Happiness, which offers one-minute tidying solutions, and Keep This, Toss That, a guide to paring down your possessions.  

For those looking to classic books in this genre, Sandra Felton has been encouraging us to declutter for years. Her latest book 5 Days to a Clutter Free House is a good place to start. If you're looking for organizing solutions specific to the office, try her Smart Office Organizing.

For a slightly different perspective on decluttering your life, you might check out these two books: Clutter Busting Your Life, a title that focuses on clearing out your physical and emotional clutter to improve your relationships and Say Goodbye to Survival Mode, a book by blogger Crystal Paine. In her work, Paine talks about how she learned to live a more intentional life and better manage her time by cutting her schedule clutter. Two different approaches, but both explore the psychological side of being overwhelmed by to do lists and our possessions.

Here's to a more organized 2016 for us all!

-Ginger Hawkins, Patrick Henry Library

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

What YOU'VE Been Reading: 2015

Thanks again to all our great readers who made 2015 a busy year. Each month customers check out 1 million books on average from Fairfax County Public Library, including our busiest "branch" - our OverDrive e-book and e-audiobook platform. Here were the most popular checkouts from 2015. For the full list in all categories, click here.

Top Adult Nonfiction checkout
The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Baldwin

Top Adult Fiction (Print) checkout
Gray Mountain by John Grisham

Top Adult e-Book checkout
The Martian by Andy Weir
Top Children's Series checkout
Top Children's Title checkout
Top Teen Fiction Series checkout
The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins
Top Teen Title checkout
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Once Upon a Time: All Grownup

On cold, dark winter days, I love nothing better than a magical story that starts off with “Once upon a time.” This has led me to some lovely adult and teen literature as well as some fairly horrible movie adaptations (Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters – say no more). Even if you’re the type that disdains Disney princesses, don’t let that stop you from exploring these modern tales geared towards adults. These stories entertain with beguiling settings, intriguing characters and surprising magical twists. Like the best classic fairy tales; however, they also challenge you to gaze into the enchanted mirror and explore some of the darker truths of the society they reflect.

In the novel Uprooted by Naomi Novik, every ten years the Dragon chooses the most special girl in the village of Polynya to work in his castle. In return, the Dragon protects the village against the encroaching evils of the living woods. Everything changes the year the dragon chooses Agnieszka the most unlikely girl in the village. This adaptation of a Polish fairy tale will uproot many of your preconceptions about fairy tale heroes and heroines.

In the exquisite but eerie novel Boy, Snow, Bird, Boy Novak weds the widowed Arturo in a small 1950s New England town. Although she loves her beautiful, charming step-daughter Snow, Boy cruelly sends Snow away after giving birth to her daughter Bird. This Snow White adaptation by Helen Oyeyemi explores complex issues of identity, beauty and race.

In The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman, an older man decides to revisit the farm of a childhood friend, Lettie. At the pond by the farmhouse, he begins to remember a dangerous and terrifying childhood experience with magic. Lettie, along with her mother and grandmother, try to protect him when an evil force enters his home. Magic, however, always comes at a price in this haunting story that reverberates with classic mythological themes.

In Raven Girl, Audrey Niffenegger marries a dark yet lovely story of personal transformation with aquatint etching techniques. This graphic novella, the subject of a 2013 London ballet, features a lonely postman who rescues and falls in love with a raven fledgling. Tragedy ensues when a doctor offers transformative plastic surgery to their daughter who longs to fly, yet is trapped in the body of a human girl.

-Rebecca Wolff, Fairfax Regional Library