7 hot books for Summer reading!
A Butler’s advice, a doctor’s view on life, a dominant’s playbook, a playboy bunny’s life, a Paris guide that’s unlike any you’ve read, a divorced man’s journey in dating, a devil wears prada turned on it’s stilettos, a book that will spark your interest in craft distillers. These are the topics of the eight fabulous books I’ve selected for your reading pleasure this Summer. All of these are new books, and all are available for your e-reader (I’ve included links to Amazon.com so you can download the ones you like right now).
Happy Summer, Happy reading!
Alison Blackman, Editor in Chief, advicesisters.com
The late, talented and elegant designer, Oscar de La Renta has been famously quoted as saying ” Luxury is a feeling.” According to Charles MacPherson, author of The Pocket Butler: A Compact Guide to Modern Manners, Business Etiquette and Everyday Entertaining ( Appetite by Random House (May, 2015)) Mr. de la Renta explained that luxury needs to make you feel special, appreciated and acknowledged. Paying a high price for a cup of coffee in a fancy hotel if the person serving it to you pays no attention to you, is not a luxury because you don’t feel (special, appreciated and acknowledged). Which brings me to this little book of etiquette by Charles MacPherson, who is the founder of North America’s only registered school for butlers and household managers. As someone who had read many etiquette books over the years, it’s amazing to note that the basic rules of etiquette remain the same throughout the decades but it’s the attitude about “civility” that has changed. You may not be interested in being a butler, but in your everyday work, manners matter. It appears that civility is dead or dying in America, and younger generations of Americans don’t know and don’t care about being “proper.” But this new compact book which could fit in a pocket or purse, is a must-read for anyone who doesn’t know the basic rules of behavior. For those who snicker, take heed: if you don’t know and use basic etiquette you are very likely to lose jobs, friends, opportunities and more. So take an hour or so to peruse this new book. Etiquette, after all, is less about how to use a finger bowl or the the right way to address royalty as much as giving you a way to handle difficult situations with ease and grace. For example, in “Reception Protocol” MacPherson suggests not over working the room at a formal event to promote your business, but a time to make new connections (so you can promote your business after the event in a more appropriate setting). While most of the book is a quick primer on entertaining, how to shake someone’s hand, etc. there are kernels of wisdom for everyone. It’s a good investment. Once you know the basics you will realize how many people, Be gracious because you now know better!
The Doctor is In is at title that many have used before, but The Doctor Is In: Dr. Ruth on Love, Life, and Joie de Vivre by She was a sniper during Israel’s War of Independence. The perky, upbeat Dr. Ruth has had her share of tragedy, misery and joy and she has led a fascinating life. Did you know she was a sniper in the Israeli army and met her husband on a ski weekend? In this book, she shows readers how to deal with the things life throws at you, and still have a life filled with joy and fun. Yes, I loved the book — it completely energized me. As an advice expert, I give it two thumbs up. You can get this in paperback, CD, or hard cover, but I suggest downloading now. Let “the Dr.” change your attitude for the better.
*Editors Note: I recently heard Dr. Ruth Speak to the public in NYC’s Bryant Park. She had us laughing and listening carefully. It occurred to me after I heard her talk that it’s not so much what Dr. Ruth says about sex, but how she presents it (with candor, lack of self consciousness, And humor), Dr. Ruth is up to date on everything that’s going on about relationships, the Internet and the world around her, but her advice is simple, and sound. If your mother told this advice to you the chances are that you’d be embarassed, or tune her out. But when Dr. Ruth says something her fans and clients (she doesn’t call them patients because she is not a medical doctor) listen to every word. Dr. Ruth is a true treasure!
As with reality television shows, sometimes you keep reading a book about someone’s day, especially someone’s personal life, because it is so much less pleasant than your own and it makes you feel grateful you’re not that person. That’s how I felt when I read Stuck in the Passing Lane, a Memoir by Jed Ringel (About Face Press (May, 2015). Mr. Ringel appears to be writing an honest account of how his intimate relationships have been since his divorce from his (STBE “soon to be ex”) and beyond. Like most people who are not young and haven’t dated for a while, he is kind of clueless, and the readers squirms as he makes mistakes, and suffers for them. As a dating and relationship expert myself, I wanted to literally scream at him to stop being so self conscious and so self centered. Most of the time, the author is thinking only about how his dates might be viewing him, not so much about how they might be feeling about him. Even though the women he seems to seek out have their own issues, the emotional baggage that Ringel brings is so squirm-worthy, I could understand why so many women dropped him after dating him a short while and why he failed to find the love he supposedly was seeking, time and time again. The internet provides both men and women with a never-ending supply of potential people to date, but finding the right person is still part luck, part hard work, and part knowing your own liabilities as well as your assets.
Collared Cooking: Recipes to Spice Up Your Kitchen… and Your Love Life by Dominique Schiavoni Lulu Publishing Services (March, 2015) is an interesting and informative way to look at D/s relationships. In the wake of so much “50 Shades” hype, there is also a lot of misconceptions about the D/s lifestyle. In fact, most of the books that come across my desk are either pure fiction/fantasy or basic information that “hints” at nothing more than the purely physical aspects of dominance and submission. Collared Cooking goes beyond that (although there is plenty of “how-to” as well), to focus on the emotional and intimate connection involved in D/s. Schiavoni makes this personal, using his own life and stories about his fiance and submissive, reinforcing the absolutely essential message that trust, communication and intimacy are the things that make a D/S relationship unique. Together , Dominique who is also a chef, and his fiance/submissive, also cook Italian food. In this slim book which I was able to finish in just one sitting, the author provides the most honest account I’ve ever read of what it takes to be a Dominant man, why women are attracted to the D/S lifestyle, and how a man can “woo” a woman to be a willing and happy submissive. In between the detailed descriptions of dominance and submission are recipes, some of which are mouth-wateringly delicious and easy to make. In short, this is part lifestyle primer for novices who want to enter into a Domination and submission relationship safely and part a collection of the author’s most beloved recipes. While the lifestyle might not be to everyone’s taste, the recipes, surely will be. The D/S lifestyle might or might not heat up your intimate relationship, but the book will find you heating up your stove, for sure! I found the book, simply fascinating. *if you’d like to learn more, read Dominique Schiavoni’s exclusive guest article about his book and his relationship on Leather and Lace Advice.
there is also a color edition” Collared Cooking Special Color Edition: Recipes to spice up your kitchen… and your love life
One of my favorite cites is Paris, France. What’s not to love? It’s a place where history, culture, food, fashion, and romance just seem to bring excitement and joy every day I’ve spent there. A Passion for Paris: Romanticism and Romance in the City of Light by David Downie (St. Martin’s Press (April, 2015) is a colorful and fascinating (if wordy) “walking tour” that you can take sitting in your armchair, but store ideas for things you will want to see, for a real visit later on. The book is very well researched, and interesting, full of history too. Alas, the author’s “overly flowery” and and verbose style didn’t always captivate me and keep my interest. Like Proust, the author likes to hear himself write and there are a log long-winded accounts of the love lives of a couple of literary figures from the 19th Century. You may or may not care. In the author’s defense, it’s difficult to put the past, the present, and a travel guide together in one book and in this book, the author tried just a bit too hard. Still, anyone who likes French Literature and history, and who loves Paris, will wade through it and feel more than satisfied.
When you see beautiful Playboy Bunnies frolicking in photos or at the Playboy Mansion it looks glamorous and fun. So many wonder what that lifestyle is really like. One who desparately wanted to be among “Hefs Girlfriends” and got her wish, has written a book about her experience called Down the Rabbit Hole: Curious Adventures and Cautionary Tales of a Former Playboy Bunny by Holly Madison (Dey Street Books June 2015). The book is surprisingly well written and there isn’t an editor or ghost writer included in the credits. If Ms. Madison did write all of this book herself without too much intervention, she did a stunning job. The book is fascinating, mostly because so many girls believe the fantasy of being a Playmate or living in luxury at the Playboy Mansion, but Holly’s account of what it really was like, including the backstabbing and dissension among the other girls, makes life at the Mansion seem more like a “mean girls pajama party.” A lot of the details in the book are truly squirm-worthy and life with Hugh Heffner was really not lovely. What’s clear from reading Down the Rabbit Hole is that nothing is what it appears on the surface,. Even though Ms. Madison ended up with her own Las Vegas review and plenty of fame as a reality star on The Girls Next Door and Holly’s World, Holly found herself losing hope along with her sense of self-worth. At one point, she even considered suicide. Holly turned her life into something positive and that’s really the take-away: if your dreams don’t materialize the way you planned, do something else and take control of your life back. Holly did and this is her story. It’s a great beach or travel read. Share it — especially with any young woman who pines for “the Playboy Life.”
What does it take to be a “more mature” woman in a field where youth reigns supreme? Anyone who is past 40 (perhaps even 30) will applaud Imogen Tate, the heroine of The Knockoff: A Novel by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza ( Doubleday (May, 2015). In this chick-lit novel, Imogen Tate is the editor in chief of Glossy magazine who returns after a hiatus at Harvard Business School to find that her 20-something former assistant, Eve Morton, has turned “Glossy” into sometimes entirely different. “Evil Eve” taunts fat girls, makes them work ungodly hours, , has gotten rid of all the “grey heads” wants Imogen’s job. To accomplish her goal, she makes Glossy high tech, planning to transform the lavish 768-page September issue, into an app. The book is rife with sterotypes (the authors know their way around the fashion industry) and yes, it is just a turn-around on The Devil Wears Prada. Both Imogen and Eve are social climbers, but Imogen is portrayed as a “fossil” while tech savvy nemesis Eve is just so over the top nasty that no one would allow her behavior for long! I might have personally handled the situation a bit differently, and the book is full of name-dropping, designer clothing descriptions, and other fluff, but there’s an important and empowering message here too: fight back — learn what you need to know — be determined and don’t give in or give up — and remain loyal to friends, acting professional, and knowing your “stuff” because that will help you triumph. The Knockoff is NOT a ripoff — the book is a fast, funny, fun read. Honestly, I really liked it.
Craft Spirits are all the rage, especially popular with millennials. If you want to find one of these boutique brands/companies, you don’t have to look any further than New York State, where there are plenty of them. To be a “craft distillery” you have to be independently owned, the spirit must have been run through a still be a certified craft distiller, and the company can’t produce more than 100,000 gallons of whatever it is they’re creating, each year. There are at present, more than 70 distilleries at different stages of the licensing process. But there are quite a few pouring their libations for those who are interested in finding and using these products. For them, there’s a unique book: Discovering the New York Craft Spirits Boom by Helather D. Dolland Waldorf Publishing; 1st edition (July, 2015). The book has fabulous color photos to inspire you along with recipes chronicling the lives of 30 different craft Distillers from Brooklyn to the Finger Lakes. What’s your pleasure? There are recipes for every taste and palate. If there’s one issue it’s that the recipes require that you use the particular craft product, and that’s not going to be so easy for everyone to access. But in most cases you could substitute another brand. Also, there are links to online stores and addresses, should you want to go out and see some of these places for yourself. Still, it’s fun to read and discover all these creative products that are “made in New York.” It’s’a slim but fun book to leave out on your table for people to view, or to give as a gift to a discerning drinker.