Entertainment » Vol. 66

Learn to love yourself through reading

Kimberly Ruscitti

In her newest book, Cottage by the Sea (Ballantine Books), Debbie Macomber takes readers to the idyllic beach town of Oceanside, where the community is picture-perfect, but the lives of those who live there are not. Annie Marlow is working hard as a physician assistant – and playing even harder – until she loses everything she has ever loved in one sweeping tragedy. Unable to move beyond her guilt and the events of the past, Annie seeks out her happy place, which leads her to the small Oceanside cottage where she used to spend the summer with her family growing up. Desperate for a change and an escape from her depression, Annie rents the now run-down cottage, secures a job at the local clinic and quickly befriends many who live in the town, including the strong, very silent Keaton. Through his actions, and very few words, Keaton helps Annie adjust to her new life, which includes trying to get to know her shut-in landlord and helping a teenage barista with a rough home life. Just as Annie begins to forgive herself for her past and finds happiness in her present, the offer of a dream job threatens to disrupt her new life. Annie must decide where her future lies – back in the bustle of city life or in the comfortable confines of Oceanside. Macomber, a master storyteller, once again introduces the reader to relatable characters and weaves a heartwarming tale about friendship, love and forgiveness in Cottage by the Sea.

Beauty Redefined: How to Feel Authentically Beautiful in Today’s World (Austin Macauley Publishers) is every woman’s handbook on how to survive a world in which ever-changing beauty standards are the leading cause of low self-esteem in women. In her book, author Seline Shenoy draws upon her personal experiences with body image and self-worth in hopes of encouraging other women to overcome feelings of self-doubt and live a more positive life. She uses the first few chapters to explain the long history of “beauty” and the extreme measures women have employed to meet these standards, from ancient Greece, when women used poisonous, lead-based, skin-whitening powder to lighten their complexions, to the Victorian Era, in which dangerously tight corsets gave a pleasant hourglass figure but caused internal organ damage. In recent decades, women have spent millions of dollars on cosmetic surgery or developed eating disorders in order to emulate Victoria’s Secret models. While Shenoy recognizes that the 21st century has embraced a broader range of ethnicities and body shapes, the world has fallen short in accepting all beauty – women are still killing themselves to look beautiful. However, Shenoy arms readers with ways in which they can recognize their inner beauty and let it shine and provides the tools needed to ignite one’s own “beauty renaissance.” None of Shenoy’s advice requires extreme dieting or a tanning booth – just an open mind to help you learn to love yourself, just the way you are.

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