A useful, highly structured reference book on home organization.

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TOP-TO-BOTTOM HOME ORGANIZING

A COMPLETE GUIDE TO ORGANIZING EVERY ROOM IN THE HOME

A debut guide tells readers how to arrange their homes.

A disorganized home is a stress on an individual’s space, time, and psyche. The worse the problem gets, the harder it is to try to fix it. “People don’t know where to begin or how to approach organizing,” writes Kempner in her opening chapter. “This book helps to guide you through various organizational tasks by breaking down each task into manageable steps that can be spread out over time.” Employing a minimalist approach to home organization—promoting the belief that less is better and the unnecessary should be eliminated—the author walks readers through the various areas of their dwellings in order to show them how they might be properly sorted, simplified, and freed up for better use. After an introductory section on storage essentials, common challenges, and maintenance strategies, Kempner gets into the specific areas of the house and their particular needs. She tackles bedrooms and closets (including “closet systems”), kitchens (“The Pantry: An Overview”), bathrooms, laundry rooms, home offices, and even the dreaded garages. Each section proposes several alternative templates accommodating whatever spatial situation readers might have to work with. The author includes numerous bulleted lists of tips as well as cute diagrams by debut illustrator Erickson depicting efficient (and aesthetically pleasing) storage techniques. The author writes in an authoritative but calming voice, succinctly anticipating the requirements and instincts of readers: “The most important thing to accomplish with footwear storage design is not to end up storing any loose shoes on the floor, no matter how well they’re initially lined up. Inevitably, order will be lost, and the closet floor will become a mess.” While the book becomes a little dry when read straight through—Kempner does not inject anecdotes or personal experiences into the work, giving it the feel of a true manual—the sections are meant to be consulted out of order according to need. Anyone with a hall closet or kitchen nook that has gotten a little (or more than a little) out of control would do well to see what the author has to say on the subject.

A useful, highly structured reference book on home organization.

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2019

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 333

Publisher: Yaz Publishing

Review Posted Online: Dec. 31, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2019

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Not an easy read but an essential one.

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HOW TO BE AN ANTIRACIST

Title notwithstanding, this latest from the National Book Award–winning author is no guidebook to getting woke.

In fact, the word “woke” appears nowhere within its pages. Rather, it is a combination memoir and extension of Atlantic columnist Kendi’s towering Stamped From the Beginning (2016) that leads readers through a taxonomy of racist thought to anti-racist action. Never wavering from the thesis introduced in his previous book, that “racism is a powerful collection of racist policies that lead to racial inequity and are substantiated by racist ideas,” the author posits a seemingly simple binary: “Antiracism is a powerful collection of antiracist policies that lead to racial equity and are substantiated by antiracist ideas.” The author, founding director of American University’s Antiracist Research and Policy Center, chronicles how he grew from a childhood steeped in black liberation Christianity to his doctoral studies, identifying and dispelling the layers of racist thought under which he had operated. “Internalized racism,” he writes, “is the real Black on Black Crime.” Kendi methodically examines racism through numerous lenses: power, biology, ethnicity, body, culture, and so forth, all the way to the intersectional constructs of gender racism and queer racism (the only section of the book that feels rushed). Each chapter examines one facet of racism, the authorial camera alternately zooming in on an episode from Kendi’s life that exemplifies it—e.g., as a teen, he wore light-colored contact lenses, wanting “to be Black but…not…to look Black”—and then panning to the history that informs it (the antebellum hierarchy that valued light skin over dark). The author then reframes those received ideas with inexorable logic: “Either racist policy or Black inferiority explains why White people are wealthier, healthier, and more powerful than Black people today.” If Kendi is justifiably hard on America, he’s just as hard on himself. When he began college, “anti-Black racist ideas covered my freshman eyes like my orange contacts.” This unsparing honesty helps readers, both white and people of color, navigate this difficult intellectual territory.

Not an easy read but an essential one.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-50928-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: One World/Random House

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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UNTAMED

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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