Surprise Yourself + The Life-Changing MANGA of Tidying Up

Posted September 20, 2017 by shooting in Book Review / 29 Comments


Surprise Yourself: A Creative Journal to Get Out of Your Head and Into the World by Lisa Currie

Review by Lauren

source: copy for review; all opinions are my own

Official Summary (add on Goodreads)Brimming with fun and quirky ways to learn, create and grow, this charming journal presents simple activities to make every day count. Prompts include:
Memorize a poem
Compliment a stranger
Be a tourist in your own town
Learn to say “hello” in five new languages
Write a fan letter
Avoid the news for a full day
Write a five-star review
Send an overdue apology
Filled with delightful illustrations and plenty of room to record your own progress and insights, this is a DIY happiness guide to share with a friend or use as a secret personal playbook for jump-starting each day. Flip to any page and begin!

Review: Surprise Yourself is a really fun guided journal of sorts that tries to take you out of your everyday life. Not every “activity” or entry in the book is something that will make you leave your comfort zone, because there are things like “noticing the color yellow throughout the day” and/or “find yourself a good luck charm.” However, there are other entries where you “create a club and host your first meeting” and/or “organize a treasure hunt.”

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I love the variety of things in this book and the way each page is set up so you can maximize your creativity. Everything is in black and white, but there are fun bubbles and shapes for certain entries. It lets you add the color and fun to the page! One of my favorite aspects of Surprise Yourself is that the pages you would tear out have “blank” back pages so you aren’t losing one thing to take out another (blank is in quotes because it’s a design/pattern). One of the pages that is set up like this that I’m a personal fan of is titled “DIY Film School” and it’s a blank list where people can write down their favorite movies – some you might have seen, but others you might not have, and if you haven’t, then it’s a good recommendation list! There are small boxes before each line to cross off when you watch the movie. A lot of my friends are always telling me to watch certain movies, so this would be great to keep track of those!

Other pages I really love are “organize a care package for someone”, “tiny bucket list (part one, two, and three)”, host a themed dinner party,” and much more! There are three pages at the end of the book with bubbles of each item in the book (each page has a blank background so you can take them out and hang them up). As you do the items in the book, you color in each bubble!! How fun is that, right?

This would make a great graduation gift, or something to give that creative person in your life – the holidays are coming soon!

The Life-Changing Manga of Tidying Up: a magical story by Maria Kondo, illustrated by Yuko Uramoto

Review by Lauren

source: copy from BloggingForBooks; all opinions are my own

Official SummaryMarie Kondo presents the fictional story of Chiaki, a young woman in Tokyo who struggles with a cluttered apartment, messy love life, and lack of direction. After receiving a complaint from her attractive next-door neighbor about the sad state of her balcony, Chiaki gets Kondo to take her on as a client. Through a series of entertaining and insightful lessons, Kondo helps Chiaki get her home–and life–in order. This insightful, illustrated case study is perfect for people looking for a fun introduction to the KonMari Method of tidying up, as well as tried-and-true fans of Marie Kondo eager for a new way to think about what sparks joy. Featuring illustrations by award-winning manga artist Yuko Uramoto, this book also makes a great read for manga and graphic novel lovers of all ages.

Review: I’m sure most of you have heard of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, but it’s not a book I’ve actually read. I have, however, read a lot of great reviews and I knew that some of Marie Kondo’s methods for keeping your home – and life – tidy worked really well. Therefore, I was excited to read this manga edition of the book. It’s not a word-for-word adaptation of the other book; instead, the book follows Marie and a fake client named Chiaki who needs help tidying up her apartment. Marie helps her learn about keeping only items that spark joy and figuring out what you want your place to represent or feel like after the tidying process. At the end of each chapter is a bit of a summary of each step in the process, but overall, this is a fictional account of Marie Kondo’s tidying tips.

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I thought the story was a lot of fun – it helped me learn about Marie’s methods, step by step, but in a easy to read and understand manner. I especially liked the part in the book where Marie tells Chiaki how to fold certain clothes. Because there are illustrations, you get a nice guide on how exactly to do this! I’ll have to try it out – especially with my shirts, since I have so many of them!! The book is set up like a manga, with panels and speech bubbles when the characters talk. However, manga (the Japanese comic) is usually told backwards – you read from the back of the book to the front, and the panels go backward. Don’t worry! This manga is set up like an American comic, so you won’t have any trouble following along!

Definitely a fun way to learn about Marie Kondo without investing a ton of time at first! I won’t follow all the tips, but I did like some of them!

29 responses to “Surprise Yourself + The Life-Changing MANGA of Tidying Up

  1. I read a spoof of Marie Kondo’s book that was possibly more my style, lol. But this one actually sounds kind of neat so I might have to check it out. The journal book sounds amazing! I definitely get stuck in my own head so this would help a ton!

  2. That journal sounds awesome! I definitely need to get out of my head more. I also really need to declutter. I’ve heard about that first book, but this one seems to be more my speed. The illustrations sound cool and helpful.

  3. That’s so interesting re: reading the book back to front. The only other time I’ve seen that is for Passover when my family reads from the Haggadah –I’m probably spelling that wrong lol. Anyway, both books look interesting. Love little prompts for each day and also cleaning is one of my favorite things (I know, I’m weird!).

  4. I need the creative journal – I LOVE books like these – not just because it helps with creative writing and what not, but because it doubles as something to keep my mind off of things like depression and anxiety. YES books like those are wonderful for that! Ill need to check this out! Thank you so much!

  5. I love the concept of Surprise Yourself, I had no idea the author is an Australian too. Pretty cool. I think the concept of the little goals and tasks might be to slow down each day and maybe be more aware of your surroundings, stopping and smelling the roses so to speak. I love little books like that, handy to keep in your bag too. Thanks for sharing Lauren and looking forward to picking up a copy <3

    • shooting

      Thanks for the comment, Kelly. I’m glad you like the idea behind Surprise Yourself. Isn’t too fun? Definitely a nice thing to carry around!

  6. That journal sounds really fun. I love books like that with prompts that guide you. And I haven’t read Life Changing Magic but now I totally want to read Life Changing Manga–it sounds even better than the original!

  7. I read The Life-Changing Manga of Tidying Up last year and I had thought I heard about this Life Changing Magic book, but never looked more into it. This sounds like a really fun book, the prompts sound very interesting!


  8. I spend a lot of time in my head, so this book seems like it’d be a fun one! :] I like the “organizing a care package for someone” idea too!

    I’ve heard about the tidying up book and probably need that in my life, hahaha. I seriously need to declutter!

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