It’s been a while, and whilst I can blame it’s because of the lack of books I’ve read, the general decline of my blog is a reflection of the flux in my life. It’s been a interesting year – and I definitely started this year completely naive to the challenges of adulthood.
As I’ve learnt (and have been told), it’s peak time to explore options before settling.
And much like my choice to explore possible career paths, I’ve started to do this with my reading.
I have never pigeonholed myself into reading one book genre and I’m generally open to reading anything. I fell into reading YA because of the clear presentation of the books. I know what I’m getting. And plus, being an adult is too stressful – I don’t want to read about it.
So where has my impulses led me?
Okay okay, you probably have no judgement to this. But self-help books have a lot of stigma behind them. And for this reason, I’ve been putting off writing anything because of my choice of reading.
Recently, Nigella Lawson was featured on Ottolenghi’s podcast Simple Pleasures – and she mentioned that she likes to ‘indulge‘ in ‘self-improvement rubbish‘ where if her iPad went missing ‘it’d be very embarrassing‘.
There’s some truth in her conversation but also – why? Why should we be embarrassed?
We know the self-improvement book market has been growing and one part of its growth is down to mindfullness. I have never seen so many people on the train reading a copy of The Power of Now.
And when you look at self-help books, half the topics they cover are based around self-care, an area which can be seen as a selfish act (or so the books say).This has become such a big focus in non-fiction that Fearne Cotton has written three books about self-care (Happy, Calm and Quiet).
Maybe it is a selfish act and we should be embarrassed.
Or maybe we are more concerned over our wellbeing, in the fast speed of life, and want to take a moment to slow down, re-evaluate ourselves and improve.
I like how Geeta Sidhu-Robb summed it up in an interview with The Metro. She said self care ‘rejuvenates your mind and leaves you feeling able to communicate with those around you, being a better version of you‘.
And to me that doesn’t just encompass self-care but also self-development/self-help/self-improvement…
I struggle with the idea of self-care and have driven myself to exhaustion multiple times myself. Kindness comes in chunks depending on success. I’ve been on huge mood dips and reading these books are another way of exploring what to do – to ensure I stay sane.
There shouldn’t be embarrassment – it doesn’t sound whimsical and it doesn’t matter whether or not you believe in the overall message of a book, that’s up to the reader.
They say a narrow mind is the worst kind of one to have.
So f*** it. I’m reading self-help books. I’m reading a tonne of them. Books about courage, life, and yes, mindfullness. Books about observation and slowing down.
I am reading books that are there for comfort and reassurance and go and argue they’re probably non-sense but, in the moment, right now, they are inspiring and optimistic.
So what are you reading?