Engaging Methuen Readers

girl in glasses with a mop, ready for major cleaning

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The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Books

If you’ve been pulled into the Konmari lifestyle by the newest Netflix craze, then you’re not alone. People can’t get enough of the process, from finding items that spark joy to folding tee-shirts in neat, satisfying tents. (Although we strongly recommend keeping your beloved books.)

If you just can’t get enough tidying, or if you like the idea of Marie Kondo’s method but not the details, try these alternative tidying books available at Nevins Library!

The Queen of Clean Conquers Clutter by Linda Cobb

Image result for The Queen of Clean Conquers ClutterLinda Cobb lends a regal air to the process of cleaning your house, which is helpful when you’re feeling more like Cinderella. Her advice skews strongly practical – for example, check your antiques in buyer’s guides before you toss them. She also delivers a dose of humor that’s fun, if a little dated. (There’s at least one Roseanne joke in there.) Cobb is a big fan of upcycling too, with recommendations for turning fur coats into teddy bears and fruit baskets into tea holders.

Clean Sweep by Alison Haynes

Image result for Clean Sweep Alison Haynes bookAlison Haynes doesn’t limit herself to de-cluttering, but gives you great tips on household cleanliness as well. For example, did you know that you can turn nearly-exhausted bars of soap into liquid soap by soaking it in water, boiling it, and then pouring it into a reusable dispenser? This book is packed with interesting tips like that. It’s also very allergy-conscious and offers lots of great cleaning alternatives for people with sensitive skin.

For Packrats Only: how to clean up, clear out, and dejunk your life forever! by Don Aslett

Image result for For Packrats Only: how to clean up, clear out, and dejunk your life forever!Don Aslett was a household guru in the nineties. His books are charmingly illustrated with quirky doodles reminiscent of an old-fashioned newspaper comic strip. Unlike modern minimalists, Aslett isn’t overly concerned with what a bunch of extra stuff will do to the planet – he just wants you to have a tidier life. The book offers a lot of advice about the lifespan of household maintenance substances, like spackle and hoses, that will be useful to people forging into their first homeownership experience. Also: did you know that canned food goes bad in under 18 months? So much for my fallout shelter.

New Minimalism: decluttering and design for sustainable, intentional living by Cary Telander Fortin and Kyle Louise Quilici

Image result for New Minimalism: decluttering and design for sustainable, intentional livingThe impetus behind this minimalist manifesto is sustainability. As the books correctly points out, there is no such thing as “away” – as in, if you try to throw something “away,” it’s just going to end up in someone else’s backyard. The idea behind this minimalism is to donate, repurpose, and create less household junk going forward.

The Joy of Less: a minimalist guide to declutter, organize, and simplify by Francine Jay

Image result for The Joy of Less: a minimalist guide to declutter, organize, and simplifyIn case you haven’t heard of the STREAMLINE method, think of it as Konmari before Konmari. It’s an acronym that stands for the process by which you can minimalize and declutter your life:

Start over

Trash, treasure, or transfer

Reason for each item

Everything in its place

All surfaces clear



If one comes in, one goes out

Narrow down

Everyday maintenance

Easy, right?

Clear the Clutter, Find Happiness: one-minute tips for decluttering and refreshing your home and your life by Donna Smallin

Image result for Clear the Clutter, Find Happiness: one-minute tips for decluttering and refreshing your home and your lifeThis handy little book includes tips for managing your house that you might not think of. For example, it recommends pouring boiling water down your drains once a week to clear out soap, hair, and other stuff. It also recommends pairing chores. For example, when you feed the dog, sweep the floor at the same time.

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4 Things You Didn’t Know About Sherlock Holmes

That’s right, kids: it’s Sherlock time! The world’s greatest detective (other than Batman) was born on January 6, 1854. He is now 165 years young and still the most filmed fictional character in the world. Here’s a little Sherlock trivia for true fans and movie nights.

1. He’s been on screen more than 254 times

As of 2012, Holmes had been portrayed on film an average of three times per year since his TV debut in 1938. This statistic comes to us courtesy of the good people at Guinness Book of World Records, who must have spent an awfully long time counting up Holmes appearances. That figure doesn’t even count more modern Holmes portrayals, such as the spoof that currently stars Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly.

In case you’re dying to see some obscure Holmes on screen, then the MVLC library system can connect you with such wonders as Young Sherlock Holmes, where Sherlock is a hip teen; The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes’ Smarter Brother, where Gene Wilder tries desperately and hilariously to live up to the real deal; and Sherlock Gnomes, which only gets away with that pun because it’s for kids. See the whole list here!

2. Holmes claimed he used drugs because he got bored between cases

Sherlock was addicted to both cocaine and morphine, which were technically legal in Victorian England. That said, their adverse health effects were well known to the medical community. Holmes’ friend, the medical doctor Watson, wasn’t anywhere near as bumbling in the books as he’s generally portrayed on-screen, and he voiced considerable alarm at Holmes’ drug use. In return, his friend shot him down with one of the lamest excuses in literature: he was bored. Here’s what he had to say in Chapter 1 of The Sign of the Four:

“My mind,” he said, “rebels at stagnation. Give me problems, give me work, give me the most abstruse cryptogram or the most intricate analysis, and I am in my own proper atmosphere. I can dispense then with artificial stimulants. But I abhor the dull routine of existence. I crave for mental exaltation. That is why I have chosen my own particular profession,—or rather created it, for I am the only one in the world.”

Maybe do a puzzle instead?

3. The TV show House was based on Sherlock Holmes

Suspend your disbelief for a minute and consider that Gregory House solved unsolvable medical mysteries through deduction, had a drug problem, and had a friend named Wilson. House is a close match for Home, which sounds like Holmes. Wilson and Watson are also close. House even lives at an address numbered 221b. Best of all, Hugh Laurie himself confirms that the surly doc was modeled on the Victorian detective.

4. Sherlock has never been played by a woman…until now!

It’s not surprising that a male detective from the Victorian era is generally played by guys. At the same time, there’s been a female Watson, a female Doctor Who, and lots of modernized adaptations of Sherlock Holmes himself. If Holmes can be a grumpy doctor, a garden ornament, and a New Yorker. Why not a lady?

In fact, a female Sherlock, who lives in Japan, is set to release on HBO Asia.

There’s one caveat that needs pointing out, however. Holmes hasn’t been played on-screen by a woman, but literature is a completely different story. In the Eleanor Arnason story Holmes Sherlock, an alien woman studying Earth literature adopts the stylistic peculiarities of Sherlock Holmes when she becomes enchanted by Arthur Conan Doyle’s mysteries. Incidentally, this alien’s people are universally homosexual and female-led. You can read the entire story here!