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self help

Self-help books have been growing in popularity over the past decade and we can’t help but wonder do they actually work?

The shelves of bookstores are now jampacked with titles about the best ways to improve your life; from diets that will make you happier to ways to cut out toxic people from your life.

It’s safe to say there isn’t a lack of advice out there, but do these books stay true to their promise?

Illustration: Lisk Feng

When it comes to Love For Imperfect Things, the answer is yes.

The second novel by Zen Buddhist Haemin Sunim is the one book you just need to add to your to-read list in 2019.

The uplifting and beautifully-illustrated book is full of nuggets of wisdom that you’ll carry with you long after you’ve finished reading.

You know that feeling when you curl up on the sofa with a cup of warm tea after a long, draining day at work? That’s the feeling you get when you read Love For Imperfect Things.

It lifts you up with positive yet honest advice that is actually easy to incorporate into your day-to-day life.

Each chapter is full of reassuring tales and pages of encouraging quotes that will help you through each day.

Love For Imperfect Things was my companion on dull train journeys to the office for the past week and I found that even reading a mere 10 pages helped boost my spirits on rainy mornings and gloomy evenings.

The words of Haemin Sunim were comforting and heartwarming. The stories he shares are personal which help you accept the advice he shares far easier than your average self-help book.

Love For Imperfect Things shares realistic advice that will truly help you accept the person you are instead of pressuring yourself to be the perfect, flawless person the world expects you to be.

The book doesn’t force you to take up eccentric hobbies or to try obscene diets, it simply encourages you to be kind to yourself. Something we can all admit we neglect at the best of times.

Illustration: Lisk Feng

It is a book you will turn to in times of doubt, worry and fear. It will give you the guidance and reassurance you desperately need on the good and bad days.

Love For Imperfect Things by Haemin Sunim is published by Penguin Life. Treat yourself to a copy for €12.99 from all good bookstores.

Feature Image: Haemin Sunim Instagram


Autumn time is here which means we can finally curl up with a book and a cup of tea without feeling guilty. Gone are the days when we felt bad for not making the most of every ounce of sunshine. The chilly weather has finally arrived and we must admit we are feeling pretty happy about it.

September brings cooler weather, darker evenings, but fear not bookworms, it also brings a ton of new releases that you must add to your to-be-read lists.

These three books are going to be keeping me company on early morning commutes and during cozy evenings at home.

If you’re struggling to find a September read then look no further than these perfect tales.

The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter by Hazel Gaynor:


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My love for Hazel Gaynor’s work knows no bounds so it’s safe to say I was overjoyed to hear about this book. The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter is a must-read for those of you who love a little mystery. In 1838, the lighthouse keepers daughter Grace Darling realises the people on board a small ship may not survive a brutal storm. The young woman takes matters into her own hands and rescues the passengers with the help of her father. Her heroic act is celebrated throughout the country.

In 1938, Soon-to-be teenage mum Matilda Emmerson is sent away in disgrace from her home to New England. She has no choice but to stay with her reclusive relative Harriet Flaherty, who is a lighthouse keeper. Matilda discovers a discarded portrait that opens a window to a secret that will change her life forever.  

The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter is published by Harper Collins and available to buy here.

Normal People by Sally Rooney:


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This book has been one of the most highly-anticipated books of the year so far. Book lovers are bound to adore the work of the Conversations With Friends author. Her debut novel was a mass success so there’s no doubt this tale will fly off the shelves. Normal People follows the lives of Connell and Marianne, who come from the same town but are part of very different worlds.

When they start studying at Trinity College they develop such a strong bond that carries on into the future. Normal People looks at the hearty theme of how love can change a person. It opens readers’ eyes to the massive impact love and a relationship can have on a person. Plus, can you ever go wrong with a love story set in Dublin? We are so ready to dive into the pages of Sally Rooney’s second fictional triumph.

Normal People is published by Faber and Faber and is available to buy here.

Help Me! by Marianne Power:


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I’m sure most young women in her twenties have at least one self-help book on their bookshelf. We can’t help but read them with the hope that a book can magically solve all of our problems, but do they really work? One woman put that question to the test and tested the plethora of self-help books that don the shelves of bookshops.

Marianne Power spent one year of her life practising the advice from self-help books to see if they really do what they say on the cover. The books promise to make us better people. They vow to transform us into upbeat, organised souls who go for jogs at 7 am in the morning and always have perfectly ironed clothes, but Marianne realises that maybe the help they’re offering isn’t as beneficial as it may seem.

Help Me! by Marianne Power is published by Pan MacMillan and is available to buy here.


We all loved Lane Kim, Rory's BFF in Gilmore Girls.

And actress Keiko Agena ahs nwo written an amazing book, No Mistakes: A Perfect Workbook for Imperfect Artists, about embracing failure and dealing with anxiety. 

Sounds like something we might need. 

Keiko told Bustle, "I love books like this, that dive into what we need to do as artists. So, I asked myself 'What do I need?' and 'What am I scared of?' Well, I’m constantly scared that I’m not good enough, or I’m not the right type of something, and that I’m a failure,"

She continued, ''it had come to a point in my career where, even though I had been acting for a while, I was –  and still am to some extent – fearful of speaking out. Even though I’m older now, I always defer. My comfort zone is to defer to other people that know better. But at this age that I’m coming into, it was a question of ‘Well, if I don’t start to feel comfortable speaking for myself and trusting my voice, then when?' If I want to do it, I’d better start now!"

Thr book is divided into ten different chapters, each dealing with different creative lessons including "Failure Is Fodder For Courage" and "Cherish Your Voice.''

Shr has been very open about the fact that writing this book wasn't planned, but rather it stemmed from a form of therapy.

She said, ''I will say that if there is one thing that I do give myself credit for, it’s that I know when there is an opportunity and I will fight hard to live up to the grandness of whatever that opportunity is. So, I think when this did start to happen, I just jumped on it. Even though I’m such a Nervous Nelly that I was like ‘It will never happen’."

We've always had a soft spot for Stars Hollow's resident punk rocker and we'll deffo be seeing what this book is all about. 


Willow Smith has been thrust into the public eye not just because she's the daughter of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, but also due to her career as a recording artist. The now-17-year-old was only nine when her song 'Whip My Hair' blew up, going platinum in the US.

Following the release of the popular single, the singer felt she was in a 'black hole'. Her mental state eventually drove her to self-harm.

"It was after that whole Whip My Hair thing and I had just stopped doing singing lessons and I was kind of just in this grey area of, 'Who am I? Do I have a purpose? Is there anything I can do besides this?'" Willow explained to her mother and grandmother, Adrienne Banfield-Norrison, on the web series Red Table Talk.

"After the tour and the promotion and all of that, they wanted me to finish my album, and I was like, 'No. I’m not gonna do that.'"


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The I Am Legend actress continued, "And after all of that kinda settled down and it was like a kind of lull, I was just listening to a lot of dark music. It was just so crazy and I was plunged into this black hole, and I was cutting myself."

Jada and Adrienne were shocked by the revelation, and Willow's mum said she 'never saw any signs' of her daughter's struggle with self-harm.

Willow admitted that, until now, she had only told one friend about it.

"I never talk about it because it was such a short, weird point in my life," the teenager said, "But you have to pull yourself out of it."

She stopped cutting after she thought to herself one night, 'This is actually psychotic'.

Willow is certainly not alone in this issue, either. "A lot of adolescent girls struggle with self-harm," she said.

Indeed, the Irish Examiner reports that nearly 2,700 children here in Ireland are waiting to see Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, and while not all if them self-harm, these children need treatment.

In fact, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services saw a 10 percent rise in the number of kids waiting over 12 months for an appointment. Mental health issues, including self-harm, affect children regardless of their background.

We wish Willow the best as she heals, and hope that her story helps raise awareness of how young people are impacted by self-harm.