I was just lamenting to someone the other day about the poor quality of galleys I picked up at Book Expo America. Galleys, if you’re not in the biz, are preview copies of books that are given to folks like me in the hopes that we will write about them. I usually pick up so many good books that I’m set reading wise for months.

This year? I didn’t like anything I grabbed. I also said that a lot of books coming out seem like longer versions of Glamour magazine articles, and I have little love for Glamour. It’s one of those women’s magazines you can rely on to tell you the same three things every issue: you’re too fat, you don’t please your significant other, and you’re going to die young (probably of breast cancer).

Sarah Ivens, author of No Regrets: 101 Fabulous Things to Do Before You’re Too Old, Married, or Pregnant, has written for Glamour and another one I love to hate, Cosmo. She’s was editor-at-large for OK! magazine, which is in a boat load of financial trouble (she left in December). The book definitely recalls a pre-recession time. It tells women to do things like Shop Till you Drop in New York City, Buy a Burberry Trench Coat and take fabulous trips to far flung countries as “must do” while I know most of us are just trying to hang on and save every penny we have.

And, yes, it reads like a really long Glamour magazine article (without the “you’re going to die young” part though it does focus on looking younger and skinnier — Spanx aren’t something everyone should do to feel better about themselves), but it’s not ALL bad. I can see someone in a rut, whether from heart ache, job ache or general ennui, finding some of these 101 things to do inspiring. It’s a “kick in the pants” kind of book — just skip over some of the sillier suggestions, like getting fake eyelashes and get a Brazilian wax. Really? Not something everyone needs to do.

I’ve done 59 of the 101 things she recommends. I did pretty well up until the travel and beauty parts. With travel, I can’t afford a lot of the vacation suggestions. For beauty, it’s stuff I would never want to do or can’t do (can’t dye my hair back to my childhood color since I don’t dye my hair and, yes, it’s the same color). Not bad for someone who has little interest in the magazines the author writes/wrote for.

Subscribe via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Jen Miller

Jen Miller

Jen A. Miller is a an author and freelance writer. Her memoir, Running a Love Story, was a Philadelphia Inquirer best book of the year. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, SELF, Buzzfeed and the Guardian, among others.

Leave a Comment