The Little Book of Life Hacks: How to Make Your Life Happier, Healthier, and More Beautiful by Yumi Sakugawa.
St. Martin’s Press, New York, 2017.
Nonfiction, 200 pages.
An illustrated guide to a wide variety of diys, life-hacks, how-tos, and helpful tips.
It seems to be a pattern that I discover famous people and trends through reading. This was a random pick at the craft store – however not chosen to be diverse (like my Target Picks), just a book I grabbed on a whim because the artwork was so cute.
The cover is really appealing although it doesn’t photograph well. The gold elements are shiny and there is a lot of texture. This book is easy to pick up, read a few pages, and put down, although I read through it traditionally the first time. One element I disliked, is that while there are page numbers, only about half of the pages are numbered. So it was difficult to refer to a specific page.
Another challenging element for me was the text. While every page is a combination of illustration and text, some of the pages used slanted handwritten capitals. I found those difficult to read and wished more care was taken in the lettering. This also pointed to the intent of the book being a dip-in read.
The book is divided into 7 chapters: DIY Beautiful, Staying Runway Ready, Design Your Dream Pad, Domestic Diva, Feed Yourself, Social Butterfly, and Love Your Body Love Your Mind. The first two chapters were the least interesting as I simply don’t care much about beauty and fashion. I did like the recipes for making beauty supplies with typical household items.
The Dream Pad chapter also didn’t feel very applicable to my life. Most of it was aimed at apartments and low-cost decor while I live in a house (with other people to accommodate) and am at the stage of life where I’m trying to rehome furniture more than I want to decorate. There was some helpful information about plants though.
The Domestic Diva and especially the Feed Yourself chapters were my favorites! Domestic Diva had a lot of helpful tips and while I knew many, some were also new. Cooking and food management is a challenge for me. These chapters had a lot of advice on fridge use, vegetable storage, ways to maximize your rice cooker, how to make egg dishes and salads. If you are already good in the kitchen, then these might have less value to you, but I am finding them very helpful as a reference.
The Social Butterfly chapter mainly dealt with party situations (how to throw one, how to act at one) although it included advice on confidence and anxiety. The final chapter has lots of home remedies and wellness advice. Although this book is very DIY and does suggest essential oils and other trendy solutions, I did appreciate that it never positioned them as alternatives to medical help or taking your regular medications.
I’ve used most of the suggestions on the common cold page before, and they add comfort. This book is all about little changes that can make your life better.
The life hacks are mostly two page spreads, with some just one page and a few that are 4 pages. The coloration varies. Some are black and white with a third color, others use the full spectrum of color. While some pages have more text, others more illustration, and a few are heavy on the doodles, there is a pretty good balance between different types of illustration as well as good color balance through the book.
A few of the hacks are ones I’ve seen before but I still find it worthwhile to have them collected here for easy reference. However, I don’t specifically follow lifehacking sites. If you are very into how tos, you may find more of these familiar.
Since this is a diverse book blog, one aspect of this book I definitely want to point out is the prominence of characters of color. Not all of the characters in this book look like people (some are anthropomorphized cats or rabbits), but of those that do, people of color are in the majority. There are a few white characters, so it’s clear that they are drawn differently and lighter. In the hair and skin section, characters were drawn appropriately to the advice given. However, the hair advice did not include much for African American hair.
While I didn’t see anything overtly inappropriate for teens or even younger readers, there were quite a few references to alcohol, including some on how to mix drinks. Some older people might find this useful or interesting, but it is aimed at new adults. The references to home life mainly talk about apartments or small spaces and there’s nothing about work or parenting.
I think this would be a great gift for a young woman just graduating college or moving into their first apartment. There were parts that apply to anybody but that is the primary market.