As we waddle into the new year, the weight-loss ads and get-fit advice begin to sound like the grownups in a Peanuts TV special. The following books on perfecting your personal style act as a spritz of lemon in cold mineral water for the jaded self-renovator.
Real renewal starts with the interior, of course, but a balanced checkbook, great job and a pair of sexy heels wouldn't hurt, either. Former Oxygen Media producer Melissa Kirsch covers the gamut and gives a bright, breezy Life 101 course to post-college and pre-marriage women spit out into the cruel world in The Girl's Guide to Absolutely Everything. True to its title, the book covers topics ranging from health and body image to dating and sex, dealing with bosses, managing money, cultivating a good credit rating and making major purchases like a car or house. The guide also covers how to keep or dump friends, achieve spirituality, get along with family, say you're sorry, use the right fork and escape the yoke of the college major. Kirsch's sardonic sophistication is splattered everywhere, especially in her section titles ( The Black Sheep Grows the Prettiest Wool, Temping Without Contempt, Chablis is Not a Breakfast Drink ) and her concise, kick-butt advice is surrounded by least you need to know sidebars, experts' two cents and plenty of sharing by friends and acquaintances about what would have made their lives better had they known it earlier. Girl, meet World, Kirsch writes. World, play nicely. Deanna Larson is a writer in Nashville.