A Novel Idea: Spring Forward With These Empowering Reads

By Barbara Bellesi

If you’ve been hibernating all winter, these books will give you the inspiration you need to revive your physical, mental and emotional well being this spring.

Ecstasy of Surrender cover

“The Ecstasy of Surrender: 12 Surprising Ways Letting Go Can Empower Your Life” • Judith Orloff
Stop dreaming about the life you want and start living it. Dr. Orloff explains a dozen ways in which you can let go of what you don’t need so you can let in what you do need to lead a happier, healthier, fuller life.

Things I Should Have Told My Daughter_cover

“Things I Should Have Told My Daughter: Lies, Lessons, and Love Affairs” • Pearl Cleage
Life can get messy, and Cleage isn’t going to disguise that fact. In a new memoir, the award-winning playwright and Oprah Book Club author reflects on her un-Photoshopped life in order to uncover life lessons for her daughter, as well as other women eager to live and be true to themselves.

Real-life Lessons

From the author of Oprah Book Club pick, “What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day,” comes a new memoir that brings a true dose of reality – and not the kind of “reality” you see on TV.

In “Things I Should Have Told My Daughter: Lies, Lessons, and Love Affairs,” award-winning playwright and best-selling author Pearl Cleage examines her own life – the mistakes as well as the triumphs – and sets out to leave a better legacy to young women than what our current perfection-driven society can offer.

Messiness is a part of living life, according to Cleage, and as she wrote her memoir, she achieved “a new kind of understanding about how important it is to tell the full story.” In relaying life lessons to her own daughter, the author also shares them with a generation brought up to believe that success is like a season of “American Idol” – that it comes quickly and all of the mistakes and failures are edited out.

“People are looking for something to happen really fast, and it makes them dissatisfied with themselves [when it doesn’t],” Cleage says. It’s her aversion to this false sense of perfection that led her to consider the legacy she is leaving not only to her grown daughter, but her two grandchildren. The result: An engaging memoir that covers the good, the bad and the ugly in her own life’s journey.

“Any sense of your own beauty … all begins with a real commitment to always tell the truth.”

“Not About the Clothes” • Luke Reichle
A fashion stylist can make anyone look amazing on the red carpet, but what about feeling amazing? Unlike other stylists who pen books about how to look like A-listers, stylist-to-the-stars Reichle has written one (the first of a trilogy) that focuses on dressing your body and loving the way you look.

“Your Vibrant Heart: Restoring Health, Strength & Spirit from the Body’s Core” • Cynthia Thaik, MD
A strong, healthy heart makes for a strong, healthy person. But physical health is only part of the bigger picture. Drawing on her vast knowledge of both Eastern and Western medicine, Dr. Cynthia (as she is known) encourages readers to revitalize both their physical and emotional hearts through a holistic approach to daily living.

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“DARE: Straight Talk on Confidence, Courage, and Career for Women in Charge” • Becky Blalock
This book is the closest thing to having a GPS for driving your career right to the top – no matter if you’re just starting out or have found yourself stuck in a “pink ghetto” job that is going nowhere. Blalock also profiles 28 C-level female executives to prove that there is a way for hard-working women to crash through the glass ceiling.


“1,001 People That Suck” • Kerri Kochanski
Sometimes, it’s really not you, it’s him. Or her. Or all of humanity. Kochanski’s hilarious book calls out 1,001 types of folks who really know how to rain on your parade. Misery sure does love company – especially when the company is this hilarious!


From the Page to the Screen
Some the page-turners we’re eagerly awaiting to see on the big screen this year: “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn, which stars Ben Affleck as a husband suspected of murdering his wife; the sure-to-be-funny “This Is Where I Leave You” by Jonathan Tropper, featuring Jason Bateman and Tina Fey; and “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed, in which the ever-likeable Reese Witherspoon chronicles the 1,100-mile solo hike Strayed took along the Pacific Crest Trail after the loss of her mother and her marriage. Log onto Facebook.com/BellaNYC to tell us what books you’re looking forward to seeing at the movies this year.

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