Some bookstores call it the “self-help” section. In recent years the buzzword “mindfulness” has been another way to describe that area of the shop where people can browse books which offer ideas on living a healthier, more meaningful life.
Our little shop can’t afford such dedicated shelf real estate, and so we mix those books we prefer to call “self-development” in the non-fiction section.
They sit well in this company. Besides, plenty of biographies, history and science books, psychology and business books also have the capacity to assist in our quest for enlightenment and contentment.
Mother’s Day is on Sunday and maybe it’s too late to think about choosing one of our three current favourites featured below. But if you or your mum, or someone you love is keen to explore their inner selves with the help of a good book, then read on.
Phosphorescence: On awe, wonder and things that sustain you when the world goes dark
At a time of lockdown, when many of us have had to shift gear to a quieter life and discovered we rather enjoy it, Phosphorescence arrived on our bookshelves.
Who would have thought Julia Baird’s beautiful story – the manuscript of which was finished months before COVID-19 arrived on our shores – would find such an amenable and enthusiastic readership?
This is truly a book for these times and one in which the journalist and writer explores through her own life’s events aspects of the human condition which help us lead happier and more meaningful lives.
Resilience, our capacity to support and love one another, finding joy in simple pleasures, not sweating the small stuff, and nurturing the light within – as recent weeks have taught us, it can be done.
When a new book is selected by actor Reese Witherspoon for her Hello Sunshine Book Club (think Oprah’s Book Club for the Under 45s), our ears prick up.
And then when social media starts to chatter about American activist and writer Glennon Doyle’s new memoir, we acquire some stock.
And then as sales tick over, we realise how effectively Doyle’s story of navigating love, motherhood, divorce and finding her own voice, has found a global readership. ‘
As Brene Brown, another powerful voice is the “self-development” sector says: “Some books shake you by the shoulder while others steal your heart. In Untamed, Glennon does both at the exact same time.”
Nonna Knows Best
Melbourne bookseller Jaclyn Crupi’s gorgeous little book, which includes illustrations by the very talented Felicita Sala, sits on our counter as a reminder to customers that sometimes the simplest messages – and messages based on the advice of wise older women – might be the best.
Crupi mines her Italian background for sayings, advice, secrets and recipes passed down from nonnas to younger women.
“If you want to have more pleasure, more joy, more excitement, more community, more delicious food and more wild gesticulating, they you need only look to the nonnas,” advises Crupi.
We’ll grab a Campari and drink to that.
Corrie Perkin is a Melbourne journalist and bookseller whose Hawksburn shop is still open via mybookshop.com.au. My Bookshop is also taking book orders on 03 9824 2990 and offers free home delivery within 10kms of the shop.