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The Book List #46

Friday, April 29, 2016
The Book List #46

Guantánamo Diary by Mohamedou Ould Slahi

year: 2015 | pages: 379 | rating: 4/5

Mohamedou Slahi has been imprisoned at Guantánamo Diary Bay, Cuba since 2002. Despite never being charged with any crimes and a federal judge ordering his release in 2010, the United States and U.S. government have refused to release him. Slahi wrote a diary that has become a vivid record of his life as a Guantánamo prisoner, his imprisonment and interrogation. This is a deeply personal memoir that is historically important; the contents are deeply unsettling and profoundly shocking.

South: The Endurance Expedition by Ernest Shackleton

year: 2004 | pages: 416 | rating: 2/5

In 1914, Ernest Shackleton led a party of 28 men to make a grueling first crossing of the Antarctic continent. Their ship was surrounded by ice floes, which eventually crushed their ship and marooned the men on polar ice. This is the story of their harrowing voyage and brutal survival in an unforgiving environment. While the true story of Shackleton and his men's fight for survival is incredibly interesting, South: The Endurance Expedition is a torturiously slow and monotone account of the events that unfold, lacking emotion and very clinical in writing style that makes it very difficult to connect on a personal level with the story.

Don't Get a Job… Make a Job by Gemma Barton*

year: 2016 | pages: 144 | rating: 5/5

This book is a celebration of design, creativity, and passion including interviews, inspirational advice, and first hand experiences of how to take a creative approach to employment. While school teaches you there is only one path to employment - work hard, pass exams, and settle with whatever job comes your way - this book encourages you to carve your own path and make your own job. Although aimed at "creative graduates" I think it's a worthwhile read for anyone, even people like me who have already "made their own job" and become a self-employed creative. There is a wealth of inspiring stories and experiences to encourage us all take more risks and be more creative with our lives.

5 Things to Remember When Buying New Clothes

Thursday, April 28, 2016
5 Things to Remember When Buying New Clothes

When you’re shopping for new additions to your minimal wardrobe there are three main things you must remember: you are not your dress size, vanity sizing is real, and there are no fashion rules - wear whatever makes you happy.

1 | Don’t Shop The Sales (Without A List)

Sales are dangerous, they convince you the heavily discounted items on the rails are a bargain too good to ignore. If you don’t need a garment it’s not a bargain regardless of how much has been knocked off the retail price. If you’re looking for new pieces to add to your wardrobe shopping the sales is worthwhile but only if you take a list and remain headstrong with the purchases you make. If you don’t need anything, don’t shop the sales at all.

2 | If It Doesn’t Make You Feel Great Don’t Buy It

If, in the changing rooms, you try on an item of clothing and don’t instantly think “yes, this feels great” - do not buy it. Every item in your wardrobe should bring you joy; don’t take home anything that you would not want to wear anytime, anywhere. It’s important to focus on fit and function; purchasing clothing that makes you feel comfortable and empowered. If you need to tug, adjust, pull, or wrestle with a garment to make it fit just right, it’s not the garment for you. Put it back on the hanger and walk out of the shop.

3 | Always Check The Label

Price isn’t always an indicator of quality; ignore the price tag, touch the fabric, and always check the label. High quality fabrics do tend to be pricier - think: wool, cashmere, silk - but pricy clothes don’t automatically indicate quality (and cheap products don’t always mean poor quality.) Learning to feel for high quality fabrics and making sure you check the label for what materials have been used will make sure you’re paying for quality not branding.

4 | Ignore The Size

Instead think about how you want a garment to fit, how it feels on your body, and whether you’re comfortable wearing it. Size labels for women are ridiculous; no two shops are alike and you are not your dress size. If you need to size up or size down it has no bearing on how you should feel about your body. Do not let a nondescript label dictate how you feel about yourself. If it really bothers you, cut the label out and forget about it.

5 | Identify What Makes You Feel Good

You don’t need to listen to “fashion rules” to tell you what you “should” and “should not” be wearing. Learn the type of cuts and shapes that make you feel amazing and seek out clothing items in those styles. Developing personal style is the key to feeling confident and empowered by our fashion choices. Ignore the fashion advice telling you to opt for “flattering” pieces and focus on buying clothes that bring you joy.

A Guide To Creating A Minimal Home

Tuesday, April 26, 2016
A Guide To Creating A Minimal Home

Minimalism is characterised by simple forms or structures and the simplicity of adornments or decorations. Very slight in size or amount, minimalism aims for a minimal standard of living with the least possible things that allow for an adequate existence. That, of course, varies from person to person yet the principle remains the same; a minimalist home is about eliminating the unnecessary and streamlining our lives.

Tackle One Room At A Time

Unless you have only just moved in, trying to tackle your entire home at once is a huge mental and physical chore. Start one room at a time; focus intensely on that space until it is complete before moving on to the next.

Clear The Floors, Surfaces, And Walls

Eliminate unwanted, unused, and unsightly items that are cluttering up your home. Keep only the essentials and meaningful belongings; if you can live without it, remove it. Floors should have nothing but furniture on them, surfaces should be free of clutter with minimal decoration, and the walls should be adorned with selectively chosen artwork.

Remove Unused Furniture

If it’s unused or getting in the way, donate to friends or family who might find a better use for it. Furniture should be chosen for its form and function, unnecessary furniture is just bulky clutter that we’re better off living without.

Replace “Busy” Patterns And Colours

A minimalist home works best with a neutral colour palette. Remove and replace busy patterns and loud colours with subtle tones and the whole atmosphere of your home will change. While most minimalist opt for while, any solid muted colour works well although pops of colour can still be introduced.

Give Everything A Place

Keeping a home tidy is easier when things have a place to belong; store as much as possible out of sight and provide a place for everything to be stored. Making sure items are stowed away after use helps maintain a minimalist home with a clean and tidy appearance.

Decorate Sparingly

When making new purchases, remind yourself of the type of space you’re trying to create. Decorate sparingly with consciously purchased items. Find a purpose or use for them otherwise keep decorations and adornments to a minimum. Houseplants are a more enriching alternative to ornaments if you’re looking to introduce a little more life and colour to a home.

Contrary to popular belief, minimalist homes do not have to be sparse, lacking in colour, or void of personality. Minimalism is about reducing things and being conscious of our environment. It’s not about adhering to someone else’s rules about how we should or should not live.