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Your self-help homework

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  September 3, 2012 08:46 AM

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As promised, here are your one-sentence self-help book reviews. Everyone did a fantastic job -- especially our co-op Andrew, who complied everyone's work. (Andrew's favorite entry was from OVER 35 AND STILL DOUBTFUL.)

Enjoy the read and have a nice Labor Day.

(As for the new comments system, keep emailing your suggestions. The folks in charge want to hear from you and are doing their best to make it work for us. Please bear with them.)

- Meredith

"When Your Children Marry: How Marriage Changes Relationships with Sons & Daughters," by Deborah M. Merrill; reviewed by EnjoyEverySandwich

If you thought that there was only one way to say that both wives and husbands are closer to her parents than his, you'd be wrong by a factor of 132 (pages).

"Extravagant Expectations: New Ways to Find Romantic Love in America," by Paul Hollander; reviewed by OlderNoWiser

Switching gears from politics and economics, noted sociologist Paul Hollander examines trends well known to the jaded Love Letters set, namely: in their relentless pursuit of love, today's daters have elevated traditional American individualism to new heights of narcissism, entitlement, and dissatisfaction; spend gobs of cash on dating sites and coaches while finding themselves lonelier than ever; and would likely fare better if they spent less time exaggerating their assets and more time getting to know prospective partners before yelling "next!"

"What Your Birthday Reveals About Your Sex Life: Your Key to the Heavenly Sex Life You Were Born To Have," by Phyllis Vega; reviewed by Laura

Vega's insightful and entertaining guide reveals intimate details about you and your lover's sex life; don't be surprised if your friends are fighting over who gets to read next at your upcoming dinner party.

"OMG! Guys: How to Survive 101 of the Most F'ed Dating Situations," by Jodi Miller; Reviewed by AB

At least 2+ options of how to realistically (or, ridiculously, depending on which you choose) make it through a plethora of dating situations.

"The Friendship Fix - The Complete Guide to Choosing, Losing, and Keeping up With Your Friends," by Andrea Bonior; reviewed by PAMMY

Such pretty, pink girl-fluff -- more a primer for adolescent girls than its intended audience of 20- to 30-year-old women -- even more to the point, if you are interested in this book, there's no need to buy it, instead, buy a box of note cards and write a letter of apology or support to your girlfriend, and I know you know the girlfriend I'm talking about!

"Shut Up and Stay Married: The Secret to Marriage Success,” by Yisroel Roll; reviewed by Candice

The secret to having a happy, harmonic, and healthy marriage and family life is to let go of all negativity, refrain from making any negative comments (shut up), go to your mental "happy place" when facing a situation where you are starting to feel negative emotions build, let the little things go, and listen and engage with your spouse with your full attention every day.

"Cheat On Your Husband (with Your Husband): How to Date Your Spouse," by Andrea Syrtash; reviewed by Lindsay

This is not a self-help book to save your marriage, this is a book with solid tips to help you build the marriage and life you and your husband desire and deserve.

"The Secret Lives of Wives: Women Share What it Really Takes to Stay Married," by Iris Krasnow; reviewed by Kayleigh

A refreshing outlook on the unconventional ways to actually make a marriage WORK, in a time where saying "I do" has been placed with "I do...for now."

"Big Big Love: A Sex and Relationship Guide for People of Size (and those who love them)," by Hanne Blank; reviewed by DM

Spinal Tap got it right, "The bigger the cushion, the sweeter the pushin'."

"Love for Grown-Ups: The Garter Brides' Guide to Marrying for Life When You've Already Got a Life," by Ann Blumenthal Jacobs, Patricia Ryan Lampl, and Tish Rabe; reviewed by OVER 35 AND STILL DOUBTFUL

Straight women over 35 need not despair, because they can still find love and get married by following these common sense guidelines, which they were too cocky to believe in when they were young enough to have their pick of the crop.

"Your Daughter's Bedroom: Insights for Raising Confident Women," by Joyce T. McFadden; reviewed by SheRidesABeemer

Grab a tall glass of water because Joyce McFadden has penned a dry one offering her insights that we, as mothers, are doing it wrong, and warning us that we need to be guiding our daughters down the path to sexual confidence, less we mess them up for all time.

"Forty Beads: The Simple, Sexy Secret for Transforming Your Marriage," by Carolyn Evans; reviewed by Tara

If wives are a sure thing, husbands will behave better and the couple lives happily ever after.

"The Joy of the Quickie: More than 150 Ways to Do It Now!," by Kate Stevens; reviewed by knowyourmind

More aptly titled "150 Ways to Do It Anywhere," this tongue-in-cheek (yet practical) guide describes in detail the joys and risks associated with discreet intimacy in all manner of inappropriate locations.

"The Power of WOW: A Guide to Unleashing the Confident, Sexy YOU," by Lori Bryant-Woolridge (founder of Stiletto University); reviewed by Elekktra

Earning your Masters of Sensual Arts from Stiletto University entails 9 weeks of tough coursework (comprised of lectures, homework, journaling and putting certain activities into daily practice) while transforming YOU from an unremarkable underachiever into a sizzling Summa Cum WOW-pot commanding a lifestyle so rife with opportunity, admiration, validation and bonuses that this reviewer prays she can graduate soon and report back that the program works.

"Your Brain on Sex: How Smarter Sex Can Change Your Life," by Stanley Siegel; reviewed by M

It's certainly not 50 Shades of "Grey Matter" (couldn't resist) but if you want to take bedroom cues from a semi-awkward male therapist, this is your book.

"11 Points Guide to Hooking Up: Lists and Advice about First Dates, Hotties, Scandals, Pick-ups, Threesomes, and Booty Calls," by Sam Greenspan; reviewed by Samantha in Boston

An A+ reference guide (in quirky list format) to anything and everything you've ever wanted to know about relationships, hookups, dating your boss and whether or not s/he is ACTUALLY into you, made complete by pop culture references and hilarious footnotes.

"The Breakup Bible: The Smart Woman's Guide to Healing from a Breakup or Divorce," by Rachel Sussman; reviewed by Ansley

The best thing a woman can do for another a friend who was just dumped, aside from being a shoulder to cry on, is give them this book.

"150 Secrets to a Happy Wife," by Joe Gumm; reviewed by Glumm

This book should have been named "150 Ways To Keep Your Wife Happy if it was the 1950's", as most of it seems to assume that every male is an office worker and every woman is a stay at home mom popping out babies.

"5 Steps To Decode Your Dreams: A Fast, Effective Way to Discover the Meaning of Your Dreams," by Gillian Holloway; reviewed by Amber

I learned that in order to properly decode my dreams, I must write them down in excruciating and humiliating detail, attempt to find the meaning myself (following 5 steps), and if all else fails consult a “dream group” of strangers who will need information about all aspects of my personal life in order to reveal the secrets of my inner psyche.

"Lifelong Love: 4 Steps to Creating and Maintaining an Extraordinary Relationship," by Phyllis Koch-Sheras and Peter Sheras; reviewed by Danielle

The first step to lifelong love is to view your relationship as an entity greater than the two people in it and then commit, cooperate, communicate, and build a community of other couples; lifelong Love is simple, practical and realistic advice that may change the way you think about marriage.

"Attached. The New Science of Adult Attachment and How it Can Help You Find - and Keep - Love" by Amir Levine and Rachel S.F. Heller; reviewed by defyuj

If you want to avoid writing to Love Letters with a complaint about why you and your significant other have a continual battle over what each of you need and want in a relationship, you may want to read this book and consider concentrating more on what type of attachment style your dates have instead of how tall they are or how good their jokes are.

"Intimacy & Desire - Awaken the Passion in Your Relationship," by Dr. David Schnarch; reviewed by somerville-247

Snarch surmises sexual slowdowns stimulate self-actualization -- and then there's a really long chapter about tickling which was weird.

"Everything I Learned About Love I Learned From Romance Novels,” by Sarah Wendell; reviewed by Raquel

Critics of the romance genre beware -- with wit and plenty of humor, Wendell dispels the skeptic in all of us and uses romance novels as a convincing blueprint for finding and maintaining love affairs of the heart, body, and mind.

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ABOUT LOVE LETTERS: Welcome to Love Letters, the place for love advice (giving and getting). Globe relationship columnist Meredith Goldstein and Boston.com readers are ready to take your letters and tell you what's what. Have a question? Click here to submit or email us at loveletters@boston.com.
Blogger Meredith Goldstein

Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.

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