Librarian, Heal Thyself!

(CC image by Nevit Dilmen)
(CC image by Nevit Dilmen)

My first exposure to the self-help/advice genre was with the book Write Your Own Horoscope. (I still own the crusty little thing!  Consider it my own personal ready reference.) I needed a quick answer to a burning question.  Could I, with my sun sign in Libra and Sagittarius rising, find everlasting happiness with David, a Scorpio?  (Answer: No.)  In an effort to improve my odds, I next turned to the book How to Make a Guy Fall in Love with You.  It was quite popular in its day. “How to Coerce Trick Make a Guy Fall in Love” advocated using techniques commonly employed by used car sellers to “seal the deal”. I am sad to report that although I followed the author’s instructions exactly, I was unable to achieve the desired results.  Perhaps if I had today’s resources- Get The Guy, and the informative Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man. I would have experienced a different outcome.

Advice books are a thing.  Each Sunday the New York Time Book Review ranks best sellers in this category, lumped together with how-to and miscellaneous (and, oh, I do so love miscellaneous).  In the how-to category, Touro Libraries has 498 titles in the “For Dummies” series alone. Of these, 68 are in physical format, while a whopping 430 can be accessed as eBooks.  Want to learn a computer language, a foreign language, or the English language? The Dummies books are for you.

We are no slouches in the self-improvement category either. We currently have 63 titles cataloged with the Library of Congress Subject Heading “Self-help techniques”.  Of these, of interest to me (and the other lovelorn among us) are the following:

Conscious Women, Conscious Relationships – This Oprah Winfrey recommended book contains the inspirational stories of several women who share their experiences of love, loss, and finding happiness.

Help! I’m Living with a Man Boy  This self-help manual illustrates how improved communication will result in more effective resolution to common problems facing the woman with an immature partner.

Relationships: Love, Marriage and Spirit– The author, John-Roger (why only one name?  Does he think he’s Cher?) writes about marriage, communication, and avoiding negativity in relationships.

For those of you who are love-saturated, but not without issues, I suggest the following titles:

Little Ways to Keep Calm and Carry On– a resource for people who struggle with anxiety, the psychologist/author presents 20 lessons from cognitive behavior therapy designed to reduce stress and increase personal resilience.

Three Minute Therapy: Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life –provides a concise explanation of rational emotive behavior therapy, and how it can be used to alleviate anxiety and depression.

Feeling Better, Getting Better, Staying Better– the inventor of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy illustrates practical techniques to enhance emotional health.

Touro Libraries owns 90% of the books among the top recommended self-help titles listed on  Of these, I would like to draw attention to Feeling Good: The New Mood

The author provides a number of written exercises which must be completed in order for the reader to derive the maximum benefit from this book, touted as a drug-free method for curing depression, anxiety, and negative thinking.

If you are looking for a source of inspiration to help your recovery from emotional, economic or physical distress, refer to:

50 Self-Help Classics: 50 Inspirational Books to Transform Your Life from Timeless Sages to Contemporary Gurus

Just as the name suggests, this book gives the condensed version of 50 well-respected self-help masterpieces.

As your librarian, I prescribe the aforementioned books.  Take one, read it, and if you are not feeling better, call me in the morning.



Contributed by: Carol Schapiro, Librarian, Midtown Library

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