The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up author—and star of Netflix’s hit show Tidying Up with Marie Kondo—has been “enchanted with organizing” since her childhood, she says, and founded her own consulting business at 19 while attending college in Tokyo. In the years since the publication of her book, Kondo has seen her simple de-cluttering and organizing approaches become the stuff of legend. (If you haven’t at least heard of her folding method, you’re doing something wrong.) Kondo’s philosophy stretches much further than clothes, though. For those of us lucky enough to have finished de-cluttering in time for the New Year, Kondo moves on to the bookshelf, sharing three essentials.
Scandinavian Gatherings: From Afternoon Fika to Midsummer Feast, by Melissa Bahen
This book features Scandinavian-inspired recipes for parties and entertaining, but I keep it as a coffee-table book rather than a cooking book. Its use of color and beautiful styling are so lovely that simply looking at the pages sparks joy for me!
Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, by Elizabeth Gilbert
As a writer, I deeply admire Elizabeth Gilbert’s work and the way she crafts a story. When a certain word or phrase intrigues me while I’m reading a book, I’ll earmark the page to revisit and reflect on it. I’ve done that in 46 places in this book. Big Magic will resonate not only with people who make a living by expressing themselves creatively but also with anyone who wishes to lead a life that is true to his or her heart. I had the pleasure of meeting with Elizabeth not long ago. She was soft-spoken, and her eyes emanated such a strong light that I could feel that she was no ordinary person.
Yamato Nadeshiko Seitai Dokuhon, by Makoto Saegusa
This book (available only in Japanese) is a bit old-fashioned, taking as its theme how Japanese people can maximize their physical energy to attain a healthier lifestyle. The book is not very long, and it features plenty of illustrations, so it’s a great one to flip through. It’s the kind of book that I like to turn to whenever I need to restore my physical strength, or if I notice that I’ve been getting tired too easily.