The Nerd Journals

Filling up journals as proof of my meager existence.

Tag: nonfiction

The Gratitude Diaries

3/5 stars

I was skeptical about reading a book about gratitude from a woman who seems like she has it all, but after reading it I felt judgemental for going in thinking that Janice Kaplan had nothing to offer me. As it turns out, we all have our moments and we can all improve by practicing gratitude. Since reading the book I have brought daily gratitude into my life and I can feel a small positive impact already. Yeah, it’s all in my head, but where else would I want it to be?

Spark Joy

4/5 stars

I like this book much more than The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. It was about the same length (from what I remember), but it was packed with more directive information, adorable illustrations and it was a little less oddball. I would say Skip The Life Changing Magic of Tidying up and just enjoy Spark Joy instead. You won’t miss out on anything important, I promise.

Discipline Equals Freedom Field Manual

3/5 stars

I kinda feel like a red-headed stepchild after reading this book, but I know my drill-sergeant stepdad only wants what’s best for me. I think it’s fair to note that this book is roughly 1/3 exercise plans which I had no interest in since I already have my fitness plans under control. Not an overly deep book but several little nuggets of “get up and go”.

The Easy Way To Mindfulness

2/5 stars

This is one of the few, maybe even the first, book I’ve read on mindfulness. I’ve been intrigued by the topic for quite a while but I’ve only done some light research on the Internet. When The Easy Way to Mindfulness became available on NetGalley I was very excited to give it a try, however, after finishing it I think I am more disappointed in this book despite it’s few nuggets of wisdom and exercises it offers. I feel this way because the book was mostly aimed at heavy addictions. Despite this, there was some information that I can still use and implement in my life.

More than anything this book felt like an advertisement for Allen Carr and The Easyway to Stop Smoking. While how to quit smoking mindfully sounds like it may help some people with the mental part of their addiction, there is still a physical aspect to their addiction (nicotine, sugar, booze) that needs to be overcome. I think that needs to be acknowledged more in the book.

Also, even though I don’t have an addiction I do consider Carr referring to addictions as “little crutches”. I found it offensive and I don’t even have a “little crutch”. Methinks Carr should rethink how he speaks to people.

Art on the Rocks

5/5 stars

Thank you to NetGalley and Walter Foster Publishing for an advanced reader copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.

This book is a very detailed guide for rock painting. The author tells you the tools you need, where to find rocks and how to prepare them, and how to finish them with varnish. The author is also very informative with step by step directions on how to paint designs ranging in difficulty from beginner to expert. Using this book you will learn how to paint beautiful mandalas and other artwork on smooth rocks of any shape. Art on the Rocks is filled with gorgeous photography of inspiring artwork.

The Journal CEO Magazine – 1st Issue

3/5 stars

I had been wanting to read this magazine since shortly after it was published for Kindle, but I held out waiting for a sale- it was finally lowered about ~$10.00USD in price and it currently is still sitting at $1.99 if you want to check it out as well.

The Journal CEO Magazine is a quick read based on non-art journaling, which is the type of journaling I’ve been doing off and on my entire life, but regularly since 2009. This magazine has a lot of fun things to offer like pictures you can print out to put in your journal, recommendations of products and apps, and long lists of prompts and types of journals you can keep.

The problem with this magazine is that it’s very repetitive and has a number of editing errors. I would also have liked it more if the writer had told us what secret writing with a lemon and a lamp was without me having to Google it after reading about it.

A Life In Parts

5/5 stars

Well written and entertaining memoir! Bryan Cranston has led a life worthy of as much attention as Walter White himself. Listening to Bryan talk about playing Hal on Malcolm in the Middle was especially interesting and heartwarming.

My favorite part? “I’m so full of bacon, my body’s meant for shakin’.”

This is the first audiobook I have ever survived listening to and it has opened me up to trying more in the future. Thank you, Bryan, for sharing your life story and reading it to us with gusto.


4/5 stars

This book has a lot of obvious advice and a lot of not so obvious advice. I feel like anyone who reads this will learn at least a few things they didn’t already know about how and what to do as well as how to behave to be a proper full-functioning adult. There was some advice about moving which was extremely helpful since I moved almost right after reading this book and downsized from a three bedroom house to a one bedroom apartment.

Also, I found this book pretty amusing at times and I did enjoy the author’s self-deprecating sense of humor- it was fun while not being too over the top. I wish I was able to give a more in-depth review but, as I already said, I read this book and then moved, and since then I have a lot of other things on my mind and I don’t remember this as fully as I should. I may reread this in the future, or at least give it a skim through.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

3/5 stars

I think this book had a lot of good ideas for decluttering but it was awfully fluffy and repetitive at points. Also possibly a bit crazy. I think a lot of the bad reviews for this book are from people who didn’t understand that this book was about decluttering unnecessary items (you don’t have to ask yourself if your medication sparks joy) and I think a lot of the really great people are from people who didn’t actually use this method for dealing with their extras.

I’m somewhere in the middle and I would have rated this book 2.5 stars if that had been an option, but I decided to round up since overall the KonMari method has definitely been helping me deal with the excess in my life. But honestly, some advice in this book is a bit insane. The author tells us that she washes her dishes and puts them on the veranda to dry in the sun so she doesn’t have to keep a dish rack in her home. I mean, that’s nuts, right? Who does that?

I also found a bit more of what I consider bad advice, as someone who is financially strapped. The author recommends getting rid of excess (of what I call “overstock”) of things like toilet paper, shampoo, etc. That’s crazy! It’s stuff that is definitely going to be used and in the not-too-distant future. My recommendation would be to keep the overstock that you buy for cheap with coupons (just don’t go overboard) in a container in the bathroom closet or under the sink.; somewhere you don’t forget about it. And use it! Don’t buy excess when you have a few bottles already (good sale prices always come again and coupons go in cycles in your weekend newspapers).

People are shitting all over Marie Kondo for her thoughts about speaking to objects and thanking them for their service. I think this is one of the lesser crazy ideas in the book because I think the brain is very powerful and cues such as thanking an object before discarding it is a great mental cue to move on from something you may have been hoarding. Not to be in a battle of theologies, but what’s the difference between thanking god and thanking a book for entertaining you? It’s a nice way for closure and to remind yourself that you probably wouldn’t read it again anyway. Just last night I discarded a beautiful Roots team Canada hockey jersey that I was given for Christmas about 15 years ago. It was still in impeccable shape, but I haven’t worn it for more than a decade. It was time to let go so I thanked my jersey before putting it in the donate pile. It feels like saying goodbye to an old friend.

In the end, I’m glad I didn’t buy a copy of this book because it didn’t spark joy and I would end up having to discard it.

Writing Life Stories

3/5 stars

I picked this book up from my local library hoping it would help me with my personal journals. It wasn’t exactly what I was looking for* but it is still a good book. It’s very informative as far as actual information about memoirs and helpful with suggestions and exercises. I saved a lot of the exercises listed in this book to go through at a later time.

* if you have a suggestion for a book I should check out please leave me a message.

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