Fiction As Self-Help -The Season of Classics

I know this is a self-help site.

I know that I normally review self-help books.

But… sometimes… I find myself led in different directions. My gut never fails me.

This “season” finds me reaching for the classics.

You read my last post on To Kill a Mockingbird? If so, you were one of very few. People see the title and think… what? Nothing new? Nothing helpful, or in this case, self-helpful?

That’s where you (not you personally, the collective, that whole swath of folks who passed that post on by) would be wrong.

If I have proven nothing else while writing this blog, it is this:


It can be as small and simple as overhearing a conversation between two strangers at the coffee place…

… or as vast as being a witness to the wars (of all kinds) you see on the news.

Or, perhaps, it is being one tiny person in a sea of suffering during a pandemic…

… or feeling the heartbeat of your cat on your chest.

Dare I say, there is meaning in everything?

When it comes to books, every single one is created from a tiny seed. Some of the seeds are nurtured, watered and have their time in the sun. They are beautiful and wise.

Others are not so lucky. For whatever reasons, they are not given the care they needed to thrive. Still, they were once someone’s “baby” and have a message to give… i.e. even the crappiest books have something to say.

To be clear, I’m not saying all books are worth reading. Your time is precious and if you can’t do it… well, you can’t! How many times have I started a book, shoved a bookmark in, and put it back on the shelf? More times than I can count. Sometimes I go back to them… sometimes… not.

But also being clear, sometimes a poorly-written book really touches me, like The Celstine Prophesy. Redfield had something important to say… but boy, it was painfully difficult to read.

Even books that are not meant to teach, edify or dig deep into the psyche… can! I’m reminded of Tina Fey’s Bossypants (which, by the way, was fabulous!). There are nuggets throughout. Little moments to learn from.

Since I brought up Bossypants, here’s a quote I like: “When people say, “You really, really must” do something, it means you don’t really have to. No one ever says, “You really, really must deliver the baby during labor.” When it’s true, it doesn’t need to be said.” ― Tina Fey, Bossypants

^^^^ Is that, or is that not, gold?^^^^

So, the classics. I have a pile of them… some well-worn and loved… others?… not so much. I had To Kill a Mockingbird for years and never read it. Same with Moby Dick (which is the next in line for me). I believe I read them years ago… but can’t remember. Some traveled from California with me, others I got at thrift stores. Some, I bought new. All books I felt I *should* read.

At the moment, I’m right in the middle of the heartbreaking Flowers for Algernon by the late Daniel Keyes (2014). I saw the movie based on the book a few times, called Charly. The book is better – isn’t it always? – but the movie was no slouch. In fact, it was a multiple award winner!

My point is, self-help-ily speaking, please don’t get mad at me for taking new paths to the same place.

That place (for me) is a fort I’ve built with sticks in the forest. During the day, sunlight streams in. and I’m warm and comfy. I have pillows, cool water and fruit to enjoy while I travel to other worlds, into other lives, or work on things that are important to me – from fiction, to self-help books, to coloring in a picture with crayons.

It is a place of enlightenment and grace.

Where my inner child meets my fully-mature self and they embrace.

Where we (she and I) know that there are still things to learn and we welcome the lessons, no matter where they come from. Right now, it’s the classics. Tomorrow? Who knows?!

I will be sharing what I learn… as always.

Don’t worry…

Self-help books will still be here!

I am – after all – The Self-Help Whisperer. 🙂


  1. Flowers for Algernon: Should be required reading

    Moby Dick: Okay, just put the book down gently ~ GEN-tly … That’s right… Keep looking right here in my eyes… Now… GURL, WHAT WERE YOU EVEN THINKING??? 😆

    Liked by 1 person

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