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…

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Gentry Does It Tuesday, Nov 17 2009 

I love books that are embroiled in fantasy – supernatural creatures, other worlds, you name it, I love it. One of the best authors in this genre (In my opinion, of course) is Laurell K. Hamilton. 

Laurell has written a massive series about a vampire slayer called Anita Blake (17 and counting) This is no Buffy wannabe series. Anita is a short, impatient necromancer (raises the dead) who also works for the police. She carries a gun, she hates girly things and she is absolutely against dating men of other “species.” She goes on to fall for both a powerful vampire and an alpha werewolf. Life isn’t simple for Anita. She fights for her life, bones are broken, scars are earned and friends are lost. Every book leads her dangerously into a world she can never escape from. 

Thats one series by Laurell K Hamilton. The other, is about a woman named Meredith Gentry. She works for a fey detective agency in the human world. In this series, there are also faeries. The Fey, the Sidhe, the Seelie. The world knows of them, treats them like royalty, like celebrities. There is the Dark Court and the Light Court. Meredith is a Princess from the Dark Court, and ran away to the human world to escape the vicious full-powered fey from her court. Meredith’s powers are little and few, and she finds her life threatened in her mythical world. But then she is hunted down by both courts and is dragged back, given the opportunity to become Queen of the Dark Court if she can get pregnant and finally give the Fey fresh blood.

These books are gorgeously dark, violent and filled with sex. This is a series about a people who have been around for thousands and thousands of years – with histories unlike any we could ever imagine. There is beauty and horror, love and betrayal, pain (Lot’s of pain) and pleasure (Lots of that too!). Eight books in this series so far, and not ONCE do you get bored. Not once do you think “Oh this has been done”. This is so amazingly different, so well written and so powerfully character driven that I hop up and down with excitement whenever I hear a new installment is coming out. I never know which direction Meredith is going to go in this story. She isn’t perfect, and with so much threatening her, things get confused and change quickly. But you just can’t help but read on to find out what happens next. Will she live or die? Will she get pregnant before her sadistic cousin Cel knocks up someone else and kills Meredith just for kicks? Who is more evil? Meredith’s Aunt, the Queen of the Dark Court or Meredith’s Uncle, the King of the Light Court? Who should she trust? Who should she help?

Absolutely wonderful, beautiful, enthralling writing that changed my literary life. I advise anyone who enjoys reading, especially this genre, to give it a go.

Laurell K Hamilton's Books