Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Two books that have been really helpful to me

Title: Home Comforts
Author: Cheryl Mendelson
Format: Paperback reprint, 2005 (I have the cloth from 2001); Ebook, BN.Com
ISBN-13: 9780743272865

This book contains some of the only descriptions/discussion of housework I've ever encountered that does not make me want to pull my hair out or feel sullen.
Seen from the outside, housework can look like a Sisyphean task that gives you no sense of reward or completion. Yet housework actually offers more opportunities for savoring achievement than almost any other work I can think of. Each of its regular routines brings satisfaction when it is completed. These routines echo the rhythm of life, and the housekeeping rhythm is the rhythm of the body. You get satisfaction not only from the sense of order, cleanliness, freshness, peace and plenty restored, but from the knowledge that you yourself and those you care about are going to enjoy these benefits (10).
Housekeeping creates cleanliness, order, regularity, beauty, the conditions for health and safety, and a good place to do and feel all the things you wish and need to do and feel in your home. . . . It is your housekeeping that makes your home alive, that turns it into a small society in its own right, a vital place with its own ways and rhythms, the place where you can be more yourself than you can anyplace else (7).

Title:Be Happy without Being Perfect: How to Break Free from the Perfection Deception
Author: Alice D. Domar
Reader: Karen White
Format: Audiobook/MP3 file
Publisher: Books on Tape, Inc., 2008
ISBN-13: 9781415945650

This book has sane, smart suggestions on letting go of perfectionism, and lots of great relaxation techniques.

It gives an interesting list of the components of a healthy relationship, which I'll paraphrase:

--involves give and take
--partners compromise and take turns
--partners care about each other
--communication is open
--partners offer reciprocal gestures of caring
--partners benefit equally from [Ed. looks like I wrote "hord" here, but that makes no sense. Oh.] bond.

Also really good is Domar's Self Nurture.

The only way to heal old wounds that cause us to grasp for love or possessions is to recognize them, grieve for our losses, and nourish ourselves with compassion" (15).


  1. Cheryl Mendelson has also written some wonderful fiction. She wrote a trilogy of novels that take place in the Morningside Heights of Manhattan. They are definitely worth a read. I quite enjoyed each of them.

    On the other hand, her appearances on old episodes of Martha Stewart make her look a little crazy.

  2. Hi Thomas,
    This is Jana. And while Beth wrote that review, I also have Home Comforts. I didn't know she wrote fiction - I'll have to check that out.

    I wonder if her Martha segments are on YouTube . . .

  3. Thanks for the rec. I like her prose, so I'll check out her fiction. Unfortunately, everyone looks a little crazy on MSL.