Recommended Reads For The Modern Gal Monday, Aug 16 2010 

There is absolutely nothing that beats the luxurious experience of reading a good book. A book can offer escapism, knowledge, fantasy and fun. It can save you from a bad mood or monotonous day in one articulately written sentence. It can also give you access to thoughts and ideas that you have never touched on before, and at times things that not only teach you but can make you a better person.

Now, I’m not going to go on to tell you to read Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream, or Emily Brontës Wuthering Heights (though both true gems and are classics for a reason!) I am here to recommend a few books that I believe most young women should read – for different reasons.

Can You Keep a Secret? by Sophie Kinsella (NZD$24.99 from Fishpond)

This is a hilarious, fluffy read for the “in-between” girls out there that are no longer teens, but not yet saddled with a mortgage/husband/2.5 kiddies etc. The heroine, the incorrigible Emma Corrigan, is a bubbly, early twenties girl with aspirations of a perfect life. There’s one problem – she tells little white lies to everyone she knows. To her boyfriend (he thinks she is several sizes smaller than she actually is), to her parents (she killed their goldfish, but replaced it before they cottoned on!), to her colleagues (never admits that it’s her that keeps breaking the photocopier) and so on and so forth. This is a fabulously funny book, adorably romantic but also highlights the failings of our society on the up and coming generation. The fact Emma can’t admit the small flaws to herself and the people around her, that she needs to skew things to make herself feel more of a success, is something I see in people every day. This is a good rainy day read, not too heavy, but I think has a good message to it.

Can You Keep A Secret? by Sophie Kinsella

The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pick-up Artists by Neil Strauss (NZD$39.99 from Fishpond)

Now, you may be wondering why the hell I would recommend this kind of book to women. Basically, knowledge is power, right ladies?

I heard about this particular book during a conversation with a male friend. He told me about Neil Strauss, a nerdy writer who couldn’t find love and so took it upon himself to meet the Masters of Seduction around the world. This book tells the story of how he became a part of this bizarre secret society, who he met and what he learned. (There are other books by Strauss that are more dating self-help types, but I think this one gives the better picture.)

Basically, this book goes through how a society of men have developed ways to manipulate women into sleeping with them. Ugly, boring, nervous, creepy, skinny, fat, sleazy, shy – no matter what the drawback of the male, these Masters of Seduction were able to show these ill-equipped men how to bed hot ladies that normally wouldn’t notice them. I read this book with utter fascination – was it possible for women to be manipulated this way? Certainly tricks and lines, gestures and clothing couldn’t get us to fall for someone totally not our type – right?! Well, as I read, I got that sinking gut feeling. Though not all of the tricks would work on all of us, there was real merit in what he was saying. I am glad I read this book – purely so I now know what to look out for! Ladies, beware.

The Game by Neil Strauss

He’s just not that into you by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo (NZD$23.99 from Fishpond)

I would be extremely surprised if you haven’t heard of this book already. It was a phenomenon a few years back, even made it onto Oprah! There has also been a movie made about it, and many a female discussion revolving around it’s teachings.

Basically, this book goes on the list because I know too many gals that haven’t read it when they really should have. This is a must read. A dating bible if you will. It’s not heavy, it’s not all about loving ones inner self. It’s a friendly prod to say – Girl, you are great, but if that guy isn’t asking you out? He DOESN’T WANT YOU! A little bit harsh, perhaps. But sometimes we need a bit of a slap in the face. I know too many girls who justify not getting a text from “that guy” for weeks, because maybe he lost his phone, or maybe he’s really busy, or or… You get the point. This book is brilliant. Makes you laugh, makes you cringe with self realisation, makes you open your eyes to the realities of dating. If he doesn’t call you, he doesn’t like you. If he only calls you at 3am for a drunken stopover after town, he just wants to f#%& you. Plain and simple. You’d think we could figure all of this out on our own, but sadly, when you mix emotions in with a woman’s thought processes, everything goes a bit whack. Hence, why all ladies should read this book!

Seriously!

He's Just Not That Into You by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo

So there you have it… One book that is light and fluffy, one that depicts the inner workings of seriously screwed up men, and one that guides us poor ladies into the dating light (if you will).

Enjoy! More to come…

It’s Called A Breakup Because It’s Broken Saturday, Dec 5 2009 

Almost everyone goes through breakups. Whether it be because you have moved on, or they have, or because the other half is an a$#hole and cheated on you with someone else, it happens to the best of us. It hurts. It’s depressing. It’s completely consuming.

A few years back I went through a breakup and was having a hard time, when I stumbled across the book It’s called a breakup because it’s broken by Greg Behrendt and Amiira Ruotola-Behrendt. This book is the BEST thing to read when you are nursing a broken heart.

It’s a self-help book, yes. But it’s not a rambling, over the top philosophical or even psycho-babble type read. It is a strangely honest, funny and awkward look into breakups and how they affect us. Both of the authors talk of their humiliating past breakups, of the idiotic ways they reacted and how it led them down a path of even deeper depression. But there are also letters from the public, sharing their stories and hurts, making you feel less alone and happy to have something to relate to. You don’t feel quite so pathetic, either, when you realise everyone else struggles to cope, too. 

The book advises you on what and what not do do after a breakup, from not calling them when you get lonely at 2 AM to getting fit and healthy, as opposed to drinking yourself stupid. The tips are really great, helpful to the nth degree. 

The authors main goal, and you can tell this as you are reading, is to make you feel like a sexy, wonderful person. They basically say – their (the ex) loss is someone else’s gain. They don’t tell you its silly to be in so much pain. They don’t tell you to just get over it, like some people in your life are inclined to do if they don’t understand the agony of heartbreak. They gently, and humorously, guide you through the steps to help you heal. They make you laugh, make you cringe at the mistakes of others facing what you are facing, and also help you move on without embarrassing yourself to that jerk, err, one that got away. 

So if you are getting over a breakup, or you know someone who is, I recommend buying this book. It isn’t expensive, and it does help. It’s funny how you can rationalise your actions when you are so emotional. Seeing some of your thoughts and actions written down in the stories of others snaps you back to reality quick-smart, and helps you move away from that dark place.

It's Called A Breakup Because It's Broken