Why Don’t I Do the Things I Know Are Good For Me? by BJ Gallagher (Penguin June 2009) turned me off at the title. But I had hope that it would be a self-help book that would provide a few kernels of how-to that you can actually do. The author is a motivational speaker, and she uses lots of real-life stories to illustrate the points in her book (the idea is that self care is necessary and important, and not selfish). Alas, there’s nothing much here to hold on to. The ideas are very basic. They may inspire you for a moment. but won’t really bring about lasting change if you’re truly a doormat, or put yourself last. Still, I gamely rambled through the book, and then the author totally lost me. She suggested creating a “God Box” into which you can put all of your troubles and challenges, and then forget about them because “he” will take care of these issues for you from now on. This just offended me no end. As an advice columnist, I have always told my readers never to abdicate responsibility for their own lives –that’s just misguided. To truly care for yourself is to understand that only you can change what’s not going right in your life and no one else can do it for you. I would never surrender this right and responsibility. Neither should you.
First Lady Michelle Obama was dubbed a modern style icon even before her husband became President of the United States. She posed for a Vogue cover, for example, when his political victory was still unsure. Mrs. Obama is an intelligent, highly-educated lawyer, not just a clothes horse, and her personal style is classic and business oriented. She has managed to capture the attention of the fashion world, and ordinary women want to emulate her. Michelle Style by Mandi Norwood (William Morrow 2009) helps them do so, by nicely breaking down “Michelle style” into do-able pieces that any woman can copy. The full color photos read more like a fan magazine of Mrs. Obama’s time on the campaign trail and in the White House, rather than a fashion manual. The pleasant combination of the two will make it a keepsake book as well as a how-to. The style tips are easy to understand, and easy to implement. The book will benefit any businesswoman looking to add a little more personality into her wardrobe, while still appearing businesslike, Whether you’re just a first lady fan, or want to know how she pulls everything together, this book is a must-read.
Bought by Anna David (Harper 2009) is fiction account of young women in Tinseltown who don’t accept cash (for the most part) for their “services,” but who make a living accepting expensive gifts from men in exchange for their “attention.” The book follows Emma Swanson, a struggling writer as she attempts to work her way up the ranks of an entertainment magazine in Hollywood. Emma stumbles upon the idea of chronicling the lives of girls who offer sex for gifts, and gets pulled, bit by bit, into their world. While it’s a fictional account, it appears that the author must have done some deep research into the lives of these “sad eyed ladies.” The sex for gifts barter arrangement is not fiction. The plot (struggling career girl in glam profession, meddling mother, bad boss, breakups with boyfriends, etc.) is predictable, but the author does a good job of providing a true-to-life account of what moves these girls to get into “the life” and how they operate, once in it. It’s a fast-paced, fascinating read
I didn’t previously read any of Joan Anderson’s books about how women can re-awaken their creativity and zest for life, in mid-life, but I was impressed with The Second Journey the Road Back to Yourself (Voice June 2009). In this book, the author realizes that her life wasn’t working well, even though she had inspired other women to move ahead and realize their dreams. She was stressed-out with no time for anything but obligations. In fact, she wasn’t even following the advice she gives to her own readers. To remedy this, she spends some time alone on a remote Island off the coast of Scotland. There, she finds that by re-connecting to her past, she is ready to go home and face her somewhat undefined, future. The book is charming, the characters she meets along the way. kind and inspirational. It wasn’t an earth shattering revelation that she shares in this book, but a personal account of how one woman finds her way back to her own vision of herself. Joan’s journey is filled with memories to share, and you are sure take take away a memory of two of your own by the time your each the end.