Regular Programming Interrupted… or Decluttering and Flying

I’m switching it up a bit today.  I very rarely read non-fiction books as they’ve never really appealed to me.  It could be one of those vicious self-fulfilling cycles – I think I don’t like non-fiction, so I don’t spend time searching out the interesting ones, and then the non-fiction books I do read bore me.  Rinse and repeat?

Having said that, I did read two non-fiction books over 2015 (I know, a whole TWO) and my Goodreads reviews ended up being on the lengthy side, so I thought I’ll post them here as well. (Another 2016 resolution – post more of my reviews on my blog!)

Also, one non-fiction book I do want to read during 2016 is Atul Gawande’s BEING MORTAL: MEDICINE AND WHAT MATTERS IN THE END – I’ve been hearing good things about it (and that it’s not a morbid read, despite the subject matter!), and Lisa’s review @ Books Lists Life tipped the balance. I’ve requested the book from the library (that means you may get another non-fiction review in… a year’s time?).


The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying UpThe Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondō

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m never sure how to grade self-help books (probably due to the fact I read so few!) – would it be based on how useful I’ve found the book?

If so, Marie Kondo’s book was incredibly useful when it came to decluttering my (very small) flat – deciding what to keep, and more importantly, how to let go of items that I was holding onto “just because”. I don’t necessarily agree with all of her views (especially the one about pruning your bookshelves, I suspect most readers would eye that section with some dismay) and I’ll be honest, some of them struck me as way out there; on the other hand, some takeaways were invaluable.

The ones that stuck with me most (note that I’m probably paraphrasing the actual point horribly):

  • When deciding what to keep and what to give away, ask yourself if the item “sparks joy” – it makes a difference when you’re only surrounded with things that make you happy.
  • If you’re struggling to give away an item, try thanking it for its service as this helps you let it go – this initially struck me as one of the slightly more outlandish items, but it actually works! Especially if the item was a gift from someone important to you (and you really don’t like it) – in a sense, the gift’s served its purpose by making the giver happy.
  • And on a more practical note, sort by category of item, not by room – it’s much more efficient if you sort out all your sheets at once, for example, as opposed to sorting the sheets in your bedroom separately to the sheets in your airing cupboard.

It’s a fairly slim book, and I’ll recommend borrowing it from your library if possible. There are lots of KonMarie forums/sites online, and you can probably pick up most, if not all, of her tips from these, but for me, it was worth reading the original book once.


Cockpit Confidential: Everything You Need to Know about Air Travel: Questions, Answers, & ReflectionsCockpit Confidential: Everything You Need to Know about Air Travel: Questions, Answers, & Reflections by Patrick Smith

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I borrowed this from my library after someone rec’d it for the nervous flyer. I’ve never been particularly nervous about flying, but after a couple of rather turbulent flights, I’m not totally blasé about it either… okay, fine, is it possible to develop a flying phobia?

Anyway, I thought I should give this book a go, and yes, it was useful to read about turbulence from a pilot’s perspective – especially that turbulence NEVER rarely(?) causes plane crashes. I admit I can’t actually remember the definitive answer to that now, so I’m going to pretend that my takeaway is that turbulence is not going to cause your plane to crash (but keep those seat belts on!).

A bit dated (it was published in 2013, so obviously skips the recent aviation tragedies), but a quick read and a good one if you’re in the “information is power” camp when it comes to flying.


10 thoughts on “Regular Programming Interrupted… or Decluttering and Flying

  1. These both sound pretty great. I’m definitely going to pick-up the one called Cockpit Confidential. I have absolutely loathe flying and used to have some impressive panic attacks anytime I got on a plane. I hate turbulence the most, so it will be interesting to read this one. And yeah, you can develop a fear of flying. Mine didn’t come about until I was about 15 and went through a horrible flight in a snow storm.

    The tidying up title also sounds interesting. I might snag it from the library since I’m aiming to organize a lot of stuff this year and get rid of some items with no sentimental value.

    • I used to be perfectly fine about a bit of turbulence, but after a couple of rather rough flights, I started getting pretty nervous every time that seatbelt sign came on. Reading the science behind turbulence has definitely helped.

      Marie Kondo’s just released an illustrated version – I had a flip through in the bookstore, and am tempted to borrow that version as well, seems a bit more user-friendly! Definitely rec her book if you’re looking to do a clean-out, it helped me so much in making decisions.

      • I’ve just requested the new illustrated version (SPARK JOY, IIRC) from my library – massive reservation queue already! Obviously there’s a market for decluttering tips…

  2. You’re good! I have difficulty reading mainstream fiction… so let alone non-fiction! I remember reading your review for The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondō. The issue is at heart, I’m a collector 😛

    • LOL – as long as you’ve the space, there’s nothing wrong with collecting! If I had the room for it, I’d have all the books in the world…

      I very rarely read non-genre fiction too – can probably count the number I read last year on the fingers of one hand. And non-fiction rarely grabs me, I only read the ones where I think I can get something useful out of it? Not sure if that’s the best mindset to have.

  3. Haha, I think I would definitely benefit from the Marie Kondo book! Somehow, no matter what my efforts, my place ends up feeling much too cluttered! And the books – yipes! – I don’t think I can ever prune those. Even books that I dislike, I can’t bear to give away….I tried many times and filled up boxes. But then, after I’m done, I’ll peep into the box and have second thoughts. And I’ll be able tot hink of a second-thought for every book in there 😦 Book-hoarding troubles!

    • Most of my book purchases over the past few years have been e-books, so the physical books I still have are from 5+ years ago. In a way, that makes deciding which ones to give away easier – they’re the ones that I don’t really remember reading now!

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