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…

Go Ricky, Go Ricky! Sunday, Nov 29 2009 

Last night I went and saw the new Ricky Gervais movie, The Invention of Lying. Now, I have been climbing the walls waiting for this movie ever since I heard it was coming out. Why? To be honest, I just love everything Ricky does. So even if I had to pay $15 to sit and watch Ricky sit on a couch and eat cheese (His apparent fave hobby) I’d gladly do so. But going by the ads and write ups, the movie seemingly had more going for it than just Ricky himself. And so it did.

First off, the plot is exceptionally different. I mean, don’t expect this movie to win an Oscar or anything (Really good movies never do) but it’s definitely one I’m going to buy on DVD when it comes out. Mark Bellison (Gervais) is a man living in a world without lies. In this world there is no such thing as embellishments, no fiction, no flattery. Everyone is brutally honest, and Mark struggles to find success in this reality as a writer, despite the content being flat-out boring (Imagination doesn’t exist). His romantic life is just as sad, due to the fact he is a “little fat man with a snub nose” in the eyes of Anna (Jennifer Garner) who is looking for a great genetic match to father children with. It is in this depressing, unimaginative reality that Mark suddenly discovers the ability to lie. The results are fantastic, hilarious, and to my complete surprise, utterly heartbreaking. The way it shone a light on human nature really got my thinking – which is quite a feat for a comedy! I wont go into detail other than to say this isn’t a fast paced flick, it’s a thought provoking comedy that makes you sit there afterwards and think about our society as a whole. Makes you consider the impact of religion, why we do the things that we do. Made me laugh, made me tear up – and made me high five my friend @FrostyBoy (See blog on the left hand side) when Stephen Merchant had his cameo.

Secondly, the cast is great! (Aside from the great Ricky Gervais and brilliant Stephen Merchant of course!) Jennifer Garner plays the romantic interest and plays it with surprising sincerity, Rob Lowe plays the nemesis (but you kinda want to pinch his cheek anyway), and then there’s Tina Fey, Jonah Hill, Louis C.K., and even PC! (As in, Hi I’m Mac and I’m PC!) John Hodgman is just hilarious and I loved his small part in this movie. 

All in all, I enjoyed it. I was hoping for more of Ricky’s humour to be inserted into the character, but then that’s the fan inside me talking! I was holding out for a glimpse of Karl Pilkington but alas, he must be off researching Monkey News or something! Joking aside, this movie was worth the price of the ticket and I walked out smiling. What more could I ask for?

The Invention of Lying