Crooked Reads: Happy Times

Hey, look! It’s a (few weeks into the) new year. Instead of writing about the many things I wish to do to make myself sparkle as a human unicorn, I’m sharing some of my favorite self-help books I read last year.

Because self-help books aren’t always stereotypical and for dummies, and books should never be a guilty pleasure.

This Is How: Proven Aid in Overcoming Shyness, Molestation, Fatness, Spinsterhood, Grief, Disease, Lushery, Decrepitude & More. For Young and Old Alike by Augusten Burroughs. First of all, let me tell you that listening to Augusten Burroughs read his books is ten times better than reading them in print. He has made many hours of my commute a delight.

This book was the first of his I listened to, and man. He’s so great. He comes at serious issues with actual advice, and also fake, sassy advice. It is exactly what you would expect from good ol’ Augusten. It’s not your average self-help book full of affirming statements; instead, he gives new ways to look at your life and your problems. Tough love, baby.

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Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed. The perfect book for anyone in need of a good cry or good advice or just a good read. Read it. Read it right now.

Strayed is a beautiful person and a beautiful writer. Her advice column-turned-memoir will fill you with more emotions than you know what to do with.

And I can’t give the review without using the classic line: She writes like a motherfucker.

Related: She has a Dear Sugar podcast that is nice to listen to when you need your fix of advice on love and life into your ears.

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The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up by Marie Kondo. I listened to this shortly after moving out of my parents’ house and in with a dear friend who is not as tidy as my mother is (BLASPHEMY). It is soothing.

Some of her suggestions are a little silly, like saying hello to your home when you walk in, or emptying your purse every night onto a soft rug, or telling your items you appreciate them.

But the general sentiment is good: Respect your crap or else get rid of it. Because it likely does not spark joy.

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3281681We’re Having A Kitten!: From the Big Decision Through the Crucial First Year by Eric Swanson. My friend threw this at me at a library book sale (Yeah, the library book sale that led me to have to buy new bookshelves) as a joke, but I threw it in my $5 bag o’ books just in  case it had useful information in it. AND IT DOES.

This book is so surprisingly helpful (and funny!). It speaks the truth about owning a cat and getting used to kittens destroying everything you own. It also is chock full of tips on training your kitty. And lists of kitty ailments and what to do if you spot symptoms. Basically, if you have a cat, you need this book. The end.

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In non-book recommendations, my biggest helper with managing goals last year was a handy little app called Habit List. Of course, after I paid $3.99 for it, I realized there are others that do the same thing for free, but whatever. It’s delightful. Set habit, set how often you want to accomplish it, and watch as you build streaks (or don’t). It’s super helpful for mindfulness (be present, take a deep breath, see a friend, be adventurous) and doing ordinary things you’d forget to do (lookin’ at you, remembering to floss and to take vitamins).

Or, just follow this carefully crafted cleanse to get you through 2016 in the most glamorous way possible.