Thursday, May 6, 2010

In Which Trai Reviews 'Stuff Every Woman Should Know'

The Book: Stuff Every Woman Should Know

The Author: Alanna Kalb

How I Found It: Tiffany, the Marketing and Social Media Coordinator over at Quirk Books, asked me if I wanted to review it and very obligingly provided me with a copy. Thanks, Tiffany!

The Review: So you've pretty much got it all in the title: this really is stuff a woman should know, and I was surprised at how much of it I didn't know and how useful a lot of it really is! I'm not much of a how-to (sorta?) reader, but I found this one really useful and I'll definitely refer back to it on some things!

The table of contents divides the book into sections: Do-It-Yourself; Business and Pleasure; Relationships and Friendships; Beauty and Fashion; Etiquette and Socializing; and Mind, Body, and Spirit. Do-It-Yourself covers things like changing a tire or parallel parking (which is sometimes the bane of my existence). Business and Pleasure offers instruction on such diverse things as asking for a raise or throwing a football. Relationships and Friendships offers advice on how to make friends in the "real world" (i.e., outside of school) or how to respond to bad pick-up lines. Beauty and Fashion is self-explanatory: it details how to pick makeup, perfume, or clothes that will work for you. Etiquette and Socializing offers tips on how to throw a party or write a thank you note, or even how to cook. Mind, Body, and Spirit offers some really useful information on things like self-defense techniques and ways to stay healthy.

I will start off by saying that Kalb was the right person to write this book. She comes off as friendly and fun, the type of person you'd like to have as a girlfriend. It never once felt like I was reading a boring how-to book; the information was relayed in a conversational tone and had a dash of humor to it. It's easier to swallow information and advice when it's not directed at you in a condescending or overly educational way. Neither does the information go into excess--the book is clear, concise, and easy to understand. It's only 144 pages and sized to fit into a pocket or purse, but despite how small it is, it's packed with information.

A lot of the things in here were very useful to know. Some, such as how to remove a stain or how to iron, would help someone like me who is living on their own for the first time. (Well, not really as I'm at college and going back home, but still. It's a little nervewracking to do these things on your own for the first time!) Others, such as how to flirt or how to act confident, help in business or social environments. Some of the information was truly useful, whether it's how to buy a car without getting ripped off (I'd never heard some of the words Kalb mentions as useful, so that was a definite help) or how to perform a breast self-examination. Pretty much everything Kalb writes about will turn up at some point in a woman's life, and it's nice to have a starting point on how to deal with those things.

So, while the book is tiny and might not seem like much, I'd definitely recommend it to any woman who needs a common-sense guide to little or big things in life. I'd even say it's an excellent gift for a high school or college graduate or someone just starting out on their own. It's full of excellent, well-written information that can be used at almost any age, and that's what makes it a standout how-to guide.

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