I’ll admit it (though with a hint of embarrassment, I guess) that I read quite a bit in the genre of self-help…or memoirs that deal with growth, change, enlightenment, etc.
I don’t do it because I am lost or helpless or hapless or guileless. I do it because reading a good memoir makes me feel connected to the writer. I feel like I can learn things from the experiences of others. And reading a good piece of self-help can lead me toward epiphanies I may otherwise not have had. Sometimes I’m looking for an answer. Sometimes just inspiration or a connection.
Let me make a quick distinction, as well. A “good” piece of self-help is one that speaks truth in a way that connects with me right now. It’s specific and vulnerable and raw and honest. It doesn’t come across as gimmicky or superficial or patronizing. It grabs me right away and begs me to listen. It doesn’t have to be written by a doctor or a psychologist. The best writers of self-help, in my opinion, are those who have helped themselves (for real) with the methods they explain. They’ve found some sort of healing or awareness through their experience and they are sharing it, hoping it might help others.
I do a lot of professional reading and reading of various types of fiction and non-fiction, though I must admit I go through phases with particular genres, authors, and topics.
The Top Memoirs I Read (or Re-read) this Year
The Top Self-Help Books I Read This Year
The Top Fiction I Read this Year