January's book display featured self-help books to support all those New Year's resolutions. Self-help books can be found in the non-fiction stacks shelved according to the subject. So browsing through the Dewey Decimal system, here are some self-improvement titles in the Berkeley Heights Public Library.
Religion and Spirituality -
A Cluttered Life, searching for God serenity and my missing keys (158.1 DIN) by Pesi Dinnerstien explores the topic of messiness from all angles but not from the angle of going out and buying lots of cute boxes to put all your old useless stuff in. This is more a meditation on messiness or possibly another way to avoid actually tackling the pile of clutter, but just learning to accept it and embrace it.
The Cloister Walk, (255 NOR) by Kathleen Norris is a sort of religious/spiritual memoir and a New York Times Notable book of the year 1996 by the author of Amazing Grace.
Mindfulness Yoga, the awakened union of breath, body, and mind (294 BOC) by Frank Jude Boccio. The subtitle says it all. Many yoga books can be found in the exercise/health area (613.7), but books often end up in unexpected subject areas, so be sure to check the catalog or ask the librarian to help you track down those books which strayed from what you might consider the most 'logical' location.
Careers and Finance -
In the business/career section we found Encore, finding work that matters in the second half of life (331.5 FRE) by Marc Freedman.
Women and Money, owning the power to control your destiny (332.024 ORM) by Suze Orman offers her usual practical personal financial advice.
How to Build a Time Machine (530.11 DAV) by Paul Davies, while not exactly a viable self-improvement project, didn't you always want to understand physics better than you did the first time around in high school? Here's your chance and if you do succeed in making the time machine, you could go back in time to make decisions which would lead to a better you later on which would mean the new you wouldn't have to read self-help books. You followed the logic there, didn't you?
How to Speak Dog, mastering the art of dog-human communication (636.7 COR) by Stanley Coren. Reading this book offers the opportunity to improve not only yourself by learning a foreign language (doggish), but also to include your best friend in your new year's resolutions. It's a win-win premise! Did I mention that one of my dogs in the distant past, ate a dog training book that I had checked out of the library? Really. I guess she didn't like self-help books.
I've been fiddling with this self-help book post for a couple of days. Self-help books are everywhere in the library, in every subject area, so I wasn't sure how to approach what has become such a huge part of publishing, the bestseller lists and most library collections. I happened to pick up a copy of New York Magazine in the doctor's office yesterday with the story "The Power of Positive Publishing, how self-help ate America' by Boris Kachka. Mr. Kachka has given this self improvement genre a lot of thought, so take a look at his article for a history of this publishing phenomenon. The magazine also includes brief summaries of several self-help books which you can read online: How to Read 31 Books in Four Minutes.
Reading self-help books can be like going to continuing education classes, or professional development conferences or taking webinars. Once you have sorted the self-help wheat from the chaff, you are bound to pick up a few pointers to improve your life. If not, you can give the book to your dog. Not the library books please.
I totally expect some comments about the best and worst self-help books or advice you have ever gotten.