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By Richard Sumrall

[OCT. 27, 2004]  The Lincoln Public Library District has a new selection of self-help books. Here's a sample:

"Invisible Acts of Power: Personal Choices That Create Miracles," Caroline Myss, Free Press, 2004, 269 pages.

Over the last 20 years Caroline Myss has studied how people put their personal power to work in their lives. In her new book, "Invisible Acts of Power," Myss points her message in a new direction.

According to Myss, individuals become "channels for divine grace and a conduit for miracles through kind, compassionate, generous actions." This "invisible act of power" is without a private agenda or expectation of credit or reward. As God works anonymously through the individual, these invisible acts, such as prayer, allow the individual to experience an incredible journey of personal empowerment.

Individuals can empower themselves through these selfless acts by following Myss' seven stages of gifts of the earth: financial support, creative support, self-esteem, the heart, choice, wisdom and the spirit.

* * *

"Your Own Words." Barbara Wallraff, Counterpoint, 2004, 278 pages.

Everyone has a desire to better express himself or herself and convey thoughts. In her new book, "Your Own Words," columnist Barbara Wallraff answers some common questions about the English language and how you can become a "language expert."

Although the book contains useful information on dictionaries, stylebooks, usage manuals and thesauri, its real value lies in how to make a good writing form your own. This book helps you think about what goes into a good style of writing and encourages you to "reach your own conclusions and develop a style that expresses you at your best."

The chapter entitled "Do It Yourself" is especially entertaining reading and provides guidance on those frustrating linguistic problems we sometimes encounter when writing.

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"Off the Cuff: The Essential Guide for Men
-- And the Women Who Love Them."
Carson Kressley, Dutton, 2004, 168 pages.

Are you sick and tired of chasing the latest trends in men's fashion? In "Off the Cuff," author and fashion expert Carson Kressley helps readers develop a timeless style, concentrating on clothing that "mines each man's unique personality and physique." He lets readers in on his "best-kept secret -- that the only thing sure to stay in fashion is the man who wears what's right for him."

Kressley covers the entire contents of a man's closet -- from underthings to shoes and everything in between -- in an edgy and sometimes hilarious writing style.

One focal point of the book's message involves his 10 fashion commandments. The most notable commandments include "Never go shopping alone" and "A garment should never be made of more than 25 percent of an unnatural fiber."

* * *

"Christopher Lowell, The Hassle-Free Host." Christopher Lowell with Frances Schultz, Clarkson Potter/Publishers, 2004, 176.

For any host or hostess planning a party, the devil's always in the details. Now, with a lavishly illustrated book, the Emmy award-winning Christopher Lowell and the television personality and author Frances Schultz take the headache out of hosting the perfect party. Readers of "Christopher Lowell, The Hassle-Free Host" will discover super-simple "tablescapes" for guests, along with recipes that are sure to please the party crowd.

The book is divided into two sections. Section one, "Let's Party," contains a dozen different themes for setting a great table. Drawing from different cultures, colors and themes, Lowell and Schultz have created extravagantly beautiful yet easily created table settings that will dazzle your guests and make your party a success.

After you have selected your table theme, it's time to decide what to serve. Section two, "Ridiculously Easy Recipes," contains a dozen menus that are suitable for any occasion. One favorite menu is entitled "Lunch on the Sundeck" and has recipes for making and serving chilled avocado soup, grilled beef salad, garlic bread and frozen key lime pie with macadamia nut center.

This book is a must for anyone looking for fresh ideas in party planning and fine dining.

[Richard Sumrall Lincoln Public Library District


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