Saturday, 15 April 2017

What's on your Bookshelf? with Katie from Katie L Clark. We talk Hygge, Marie Kondo + Audiobooks

I'm back with the second chat in the series, this time with Katie who blogs at Katie L Clark: a lifestyle blog about minimalism, vegetarianism and living a zero-waste lifestyle! Besides being super put together and an environment conscious human being, you'll also learn from her bio that she's currently doing a Law Masters and belt in karate?!

Again, this was such a fun chat because a. we talked about books (and there's always fun to be had on that front), I learnt a lot and we also ventured onto other topics!

From blog design to blog posts to her actually lifestyle, I'm going to be bold and say I think minimalism is at the forefront of Katie's blog. But first of all, I did have to ask because I thought they were the same. What's the difference between minimalism and zero waste? 

“So I started zero-waste as a reduction of plastics. Minimalism is about the reduction of "stuff" and zero-waste is about a reduction of rubbish basically. It's about buying things in the most sustainable way possible so you produce the least amount of waste! So I've switched to bamboo brushes rather than plastic, you can get reusable bags, use stainless steel lunch boxes and water bottles rather than plastic... just trying to send the least amount to landfill possible.”

Does minimalism play into your book reading/collecting/buying habits. Or maybe books that sum up your collection?

*Enter beaut hardback books*  

"Yes it does, I try not to have too much stuff so I'll tend to have 5 books per semester. And then I give them away before buying new ones". This is really healthy. That way, you don't end up being a book hoarder and I think you'd put more thought into your choices. And I think it can be done in different ways. I for one have a Kindle and a personal monthly limit on how much books I purchase.

Now, I thought, that Katie's current collection is quite reflective of her lifestyle! As you may have noticed, two of the books are on hygge and if you'd read her blog before the whole hygge phenomena, you'd be with me when I say that Katie's blog was hygge before we all knew about hygge even was;  which by the way i learnt from this chat, is correctly pronounced "hugga" and not "hiig". She just has that vibe about her, I don't know. Anyway, you know I had to ask because I find this subject fascinating. That sentence looked v sarcastic, but I'm being serious. Isn't it interesting that hygge is a word none of us can define but we all have a grasp on its meaning?!

"This is more of a lifestyle book that you can dip and out of, at least that's how I use it. Its got recipes, chapters on clothing ... it works quite well as a nice coffee table book! (I agree I mean, look at the cover :') ) ... I tend to use recipes from Pinterest but if there's something special you want to do, say for a dinner party or friends, this is the one."

Hygge: The Danish Art of Hapiness by Marie Tourell Søderberg 
“This is the far more word heavy book on hygge. The other one is ore of a coffee table book whereas this one has more information.”
Speaking of Denmark another book Katie is currently reading is The Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell which she explained to me is “basically a woman who is happy with her life and wants to stay where she is and then one day her husband gets a job in Denmark and they have to move there. So she agrees to the move for a year to see whether or not she likes it. She's quite sceptical of Denmark [and I guess its reputation as the happiest country in the world] so each month, she documents how it's going - living in the "happiest country in the world". It’s a bit of a culture shock for her."

This is classic example of how we mustn't judge a book by the number of appearances on Instagram. You see I've seen this book all over Instagram and thought it was a book about how great Denmark was or something I don't know. But I imagine not many books like this exist so it'd be really interesting to see someone break down the wall. Also, isn't it kind of surprising that someone could have a culture shock living in Denmark?! I think we forget, or at least I do, that the different European countries have a really different cultures.

We also talked about another wildly successful book:  The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. Now, I for the life of me couldn't understand why this book was so popular. Like, seriously, y'all didn't know a tidy space is a tidy mind? A clean home is a happy home? I'll stop there. But just know I did not hop on this band wagon, at all. Well in Katie's most recent blog post, it's clear that she too is a super tidy person who hates mess. So while it didn't surprise me that she'd be interested in a book like this, it surprised me that she'd buy and read it. That is, until she explained the whole ethos of the book. "I'm already a tidy person but the book keeps me on track with being minimalism and keeps me focused." The book actually instructs on how we keep tidy, decluttering and making it a part of our lifestyle. You can be tidy and still be a hoarder so I definitely understand it's appeal now.

Another fun fact I learnt, "It's been translated from Japanese so you might find some of the language is a bit weird. For instance she [Marie Kondo] personifies objects a lot in the book, things like socks. So it's a bit weird at times. Some people didn't like it for this reason,  some expressions get a bit lost in translation."

A book that was a bit more controversial was its follow up book Spark Joy though Katie says, that's the better book. "It's actually quite similar to The Life Changing Magic but it's more of an improvement. If anything I'd buy this one instead. It's just more structured and it's got more pictures and diagrams to help you on your way."

I looked into the controversy surrounding this book a bit later, after our chat. Basically, some people argue that whether or not cleaning methods or certain objects "spark joy" doesn't take into account large families, and  some argue that we all have things in our lives that don't spark joy but are necessary. I don't know where I stand on this, I'd have to read to it to say. But I suspect this may have something to do with the translation misunderstanding we were talking about earlier. By all means, its good knowing about this before. I like being able to challenge a book as I read it too. 

So! If there's one book on your shelf/in your collection you'd recommend straight away, what would it be?
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

"This is more of a lifestyle book that you can dip and out of, at least that's how I use it. Its got recipes, chapters on clothing ... it works quite well as a nice coffee table book! (I agree I mean, look at the cover :') ) ... I tend to use recipes from Pinterest but if there's something special you want to do, say for a dinner party or friends, this is the one."

If you were on a desert island and you could only take 2 books, what would they be and why?
The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle

I've tried to read Sherlock Holmes in the past and gave up. I didn't find the style the easiest to get into and, I prefer just watching Benedict Cumberbatch n my TV. But this version is giving me alllll kinds of new inspo. “ Crime books are the books out of fiction I gravitate towards ... I love books by John Grishame.”

Katie reads quite a few classics and another favourite of hers is The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde of which she has 3 copies.

"I also recently got into audiobooks and a book I'd recommend is Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari. When I listen to audiobooks, I prefer non-fiction ones. I love walking around learning as I’m going, so Sapiens was a great start… I can learn about everything whilst just walking to and from campus every day!

For more from Katie, check out her blog. Here are some posts I personally enjoyed: The Importance of Minimalism - which whether you call yourself a minimalist or not we can all take notes from!, Dear Lady on the Bus and Turning 21.

Until next time ✌

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