These days, a C-lister is just as likely to "write" a book as they are to get their own fragrance. Snookie? Lauren Conrad? Even Real Housewives of New Jersey star Teresa Giudice has her own New York Times bestseller. With so much clutter, here’s a round-up of must-read lifestyle books to get a well-rounded perspective on everything from healthful living to the fashion industry’s rich history.
1. Bobbi Brown Beauty and Bobbi Brown Beauty Rules, both by Bobbi Brown. With so many makeup artists offering up their tips, beauty maven Bobbi Brown stands out from the pack because of her belief that no one is perfect, and that we should embrace what we have. More than just a compilation of “pretty” pictures, Brown offers practical tips that women can actually use. In Bobbi Brown Beauty, she gives tips on how to deal with bad beauty days, makeup application in a hurry, how to pick products, and more. In Bobby Brown Beauty Rules Brown tackles similar beauty-style advice, but targeted more towards teens and 20-somethings.
2. Becoming Raw by Brenda Davis, Rynn Berry, and Vesanto Melina, and Becoming Vegan by Brenda Davis and Vesanto Melina. The ultimate resources for learning, leading, or transitioning into raw or vegan lifestyles. These two book are rich in scientific research, recipes, history, and tips to lead a more healthful life – even for meat lovers.
3. Secrets of Longevity and the corresponding Dr. Mao’s 8-Week Program, both by Maoshing Ni. Dr. Mao (as Ni is known) is a 38th-generation doctor specializing in longevity. He offers straightforward tips and both his book and diary – meant to help readers incorporate his teachings more easily into their lives– are organized into easy to follow chapters (think “Exercise”, “Genetics”, “Diet and Nutrition”). Dr. Mao’s book is brimming with information on preventing illness, small changes we can make to lead more fulfilled lives, ways to reduce stress, and more, making it a go-to when looking for a mental detox.
4. Fashion: The Twentieth Century by Francois Baudot. The name says it all; The book traces 100 years of fashion history in chronological order, offering readers a jam-packed look complete with designer information, trends, and photographs.
5. The Fashion Book. The Encyclopedia Britannica of fashion, The Fashion Book has over 500 entries with information on notable designers, photographers, models, and fashion icons. Each entry is of near-equal length and is accompanied by images, making it the ultimate fashion reference book.
6. The Fashion File: Advice, Tips and Inspiration From the Costume Designer of Mad Men, by Janie Bryant and Monica Corcoran Harel. Even for those of us who aren’t Mad Men fans, The Fashion File offers an interesting look at how the costume design process works, making it an especially useful read for anyone hoping to venture into that field. Along the way, advice is offered to help readers incorporate their own style and personality into their wardrobe, while dishing out useful basic fashion information that many women may not know (like finding out your bra size).
8. 4-Ingredient Vegan by Maribeth Abrams and Anne Dinshah, Speed Vegan by Alan Roettinger, Raw Food Made Easy by Jennifer Cornbleet. With the busy lives we all lead, it’s tempting to pick up something quick and easy to eat. Unfortunately, what’s quick and easy isn’t usually the most nutritious option. These books make cooking, for those in a pinch, wholly approachable, while offering a wide variety of snack, drink, lunch, and dinner options – many of which can be made non-vegetarian with lean meats and fish.
9. Blow By Blow: The Story of Isabella Blow by Detmar Blow and Tom Sykes and Isabella Blow: A Life In Fashion by Lauren Goldstein Crowe and Isabella Blow by Philip Treacy and Martina Rink. Hands down, one of the fashion industry’s most influential icons, Blow led a fascinating life as a magazine editor, muse, and style trendsetter. She discovered countless fashion superstars, including Alexander McQueen, and while her life ended tragically with her 2007 suicide, these books, the former being more of a biography and the latter presented in the form of letters, work together to offer us unprecedented insight into Blow’s life.
10. 100 Dresses: The Costume Institute/The Metropolitan Museum of Art by Harold Koda. A coffee table book filled with unforgettable dresses from designers including Coco Chanel, Alexander McQueen, Gianni Versace, and Madame Gres.