DEAR HARRIETTE: My wedding anniversary is coming up soon, and I really want to do something special with my husband this time. Historically, he never wants to do anything. I always want to create some kind of celebration, and if anything happens, it’s because I plan it. I wish my husband would initiate an idea for us. Since that’s not likely to happen, what can I do to make the day special so that he will enjoy it as well? -- Anniversary Blues, Cleveland
DEAR ANNIVERSARY BLUES: You can start talking up your anniversary and approach it as a collaborative celebration. Remind your husband that you would like to do something special to honor the day. Ask him what he might like. A romantic dinner? A play? A weekend getaway? A party? Throw out a few ideas to see what appeals to him. Find out if he would like to do something just with you or with a few close friends. Figure in your own preferences. If you already know you would like to throw a party, say so. You must be proactive.
DEAR HARRIETTE: A friend of mine just wrote a book. She has been working on this memoir for more than 10 years, and she finally self-published it. She asked me to read it and tell all of my friends about it so that she can get the word out and sell it.
The problem is that I have read it -- well, as much as I can. And it’s not good. The writing is terrible. It doesn’t seem to have been edited. There are lots of typos and grammatical errors, plus the storytelling leaves a lot to be desired.
I don’t want to hurt my friend’s feelings, but I cannot in good faith tell my other friends that this book is worth buying. What can I say to her? -- Bad Book, Alexandria, Virginia
DEAR BAD BOOK: If you can drum up the confidence, you should tell her the truth. Start by acknowledging how long she has worked on this project and that you know she must feel a real sense of accomplishment in finishing it. Point out, though, that you have some concerns that you would like to share with her. Explain that they have arisen because she asked you to read and then recommend and promote her book. You took her request seriously, and now you have some comments to make before you think the book is ready to be promoted.
Ask for her blessing for you to continue. Then tell her of your concerns. In a perfect world, you will mark up a copy of the book with notations where there are mistakes. If you are adept at doing that, go for it. Otherwise, show her a few places where there are obvious errors, along with questions regarding the content.
Finally, tell her that you will be happy to promote the book -- when you think a paying audience will receive it positively.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)