Jayne Ann Krentz, author of fifty novels, including the recently released romantic thriller Secret Sisters, tells Read It Forward about the two books that have changed her life for the better.
Literary lists are popular for a reason. People love lists. Newspapers and magazines come up with books lists all the time: “Ten Books That Will Make People Think You Are Really Intelligent.” People join book clubs so that someone else will provide them with a list of books to read. (Helpful hint: Figuring out whether a book is a real Book Club book is easy. Just check the back of the book to see if there is a list of discussion questions. No discussion questions? You are not reading a Book Club book).
There are other kinds of book lists, as well: “Guilty Pleasure Books for Summer” or “The One Hundred Books You Should Have Read Before You Graduated But Didn’t.”
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But a person’s list of life-changing books is probably going to be fairly short. I know mine is. Sure, I’ve read books that enlightened me or amazed me or horrified me or entertained me. But life-changing books? That’s another category altogether. The books on my short list are: The Nancy Drew series and The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo.
Nancy Drew books shaped my youth. In that series I learned the importance of doing the right thing and also that it’s extremely useful to have your very own Roadster in which to do the right thing. In addition, I discovered the importance of friendship. Of course, if you actually own a Roadster you will probably find out fast that you have plenty of friends who want to ride in it. A real win-win.
The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up gives us the psychological and motivational tools we need to figure out what stuff we really, truly want to keep in our lives. The technique can be applied to social situations and relationships as well as the organization of cupboards and closets. One simply asks “does it spark joy?” If it fails to spark joy, there’s no need to keep it around. What can possibly go wrong with a rule like that?
I am convinced that with those two literary guideposts a person can navigate just about anything life throws at her.
Image credits: Penguin Random House, @meandorla/Twenty20