Monday, June 6, 2011

Book Review: Simply Imperfect: Revisiting the Wabi-Sabi House


It takes me almost forever to finish a book these days what with, oh, life and all.  This is where I've been these last few days... stealing every precious moment that I can to read this lovely book.  This is the kind of book that calls for a cup of tea (or a vat glass of wine), a comfy spot and a teensy bit of peace and quiet.  I got the first two covered.  

Robyn Griggs Lawrence is Editor at Large for Mother Earth News (among other fancy things) and this is her second foray into bringing the wabi-sabi concept to western readers.  Her first book, The Wabi-Sabi House:  The Japanese Art of Imperfect Beauty has long been on my bookshelf.  

This new beauty, Simply Imperfect: Revisiting the Wabi-Sabi House is even better in my opinion.
She does a great job revealing the history of wabi-sabi in addition to exploring what it's evolved into today.  Robyn has been to Japan to discover the deeper meaning of this concept that is so dear to her heart (and mine) and she does a great job of taking the reader along with her.
The book is peppered with personal stories which gives it a cozy, familiar feeling and beautiful quotes from the likes of Thich Nhat Hanh (was there ever a cuter Buddhist than Thich?) that are both humorous and inspiring.  I really did feel like I was sitting around with a good friend having a long, leisurely chat.
I loved Chapter 9 (Space) with its gentle, but firm reminder that too much stuff is not necessarily a good thing and her suggestions for getting some of that stuff out of our spaces.
But it was the last chapter, Chapter 15 (Simplicity) that really made me fall in love with this book.  I'm gonna go out a limb and say to read it first.  Horrors!  I know, I know, reading the last chapter first is such a no-no, but I bet you feel the love too. (I wonder what Robyn will think of this suggestion.)

This book really is wabi-sabi: simple, lovely, unpretentious, meaningful.
I highly recommend it (as well as the first book).  You can hop over to that far right column here on the blog and find it in the My Favorites section.  Just scroll through the books until you find it then click on the link.

Happy Wabi-Sabing, y'all!

PS I "met" Robyn when she was kind enough to mention our outdoor shower area in her Mother Earth News column.  I told her how much I loved her first book and she graciously offered to send me a copy of this one.  I got nothing in exchange for this review other than a copy of book (woo hoo!).  This review is my honest opinion. 


  1. I had no idea (I admit) what wabi-sabi was before I ran into your blog. I honestly thought it was another form of hot pea. But I love the concept now. At least that's how I justify my un-weeded, un-pruned garden. :-)

  2. The whole wabisabi thing is just so amazing in all aspects of Life.
    I try not to have so much "stuff" in my own Life both mentally and physically.
    Thanks for your guidance.

  3. When I first learned about wabi sabi I knew I had always known but now I had a name. I thought I was alone.
    ms mdd

  4. Robyn Griggs LawrenceJuly 5, 2011 at 2:03 PM

    Thank you for this wonderful review! Your insights and the reader comments truly made my day! I love the suggestion of reading the last chapter is my favorite, too, and one that I often re-read myself, when I start making life complicated. Wabi blessings! Robyn


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