I have a huge problem with self-help books. The first – and the most obvious – one is that they’ve never helped me. (Actually there are some awesome self-help books out there, maybe once I write a post about them too.) I think the biggest problem with self-help books that you just concentrate on the problem when you read them. Your brain is around panic, anxiety, phobias and that’s why they help you to put your problem to the center of your attention. If you just one to find the solution you never will. And actually life is not just about anxiety, so the best thing if you keep your mind busy with something else.
So I brought you a bunch of books that actually helped me through rough times. The authors never wrote these books to help you ease your anxiety or phobias, but for me memoirs and fiction are really important. Sometimes you just need to look at other people’s struggles and fights and you instantly feel you can make it. So these are my favorite books about courage, endurance, adventure and to all that, just loving life.
Elizabeth Gilbert: Eat, Pray, Love
Elizabeth Gilbert appears twice on this list. Her life journey, her quest to find peace is really breathtaking for me. This book gave me strength I wanted to go on adventures. And you can learn a lot about classic meditation and mantras, that’s a huge asset.
Stephen King: Duma Key
Yep, this a strange addition, I know. Stephen King books are not always the calming type of books, but Duma Key meant a lot for me. The main character survived a bad accident, and he needs to build up his life again. Page by page I healed a little bit with Edgar Freemantle.
Cheryl Strayed: Wild
For an agoraphobiac Wild is a really great book. Cheryl Strayed are writing about her life struggles really openly. After a divorce and after the death of her mother Cheryl is going to the wild. Her journey on the Pacific Crest Trail is really amazing for me every time I read this book.
Jojo Moyes: Me Before You
Actually Me Before You is one of my favorite on the list. I almost tattooed on my wrist the best quote ever: Live well, just live. Just read this book if you feel that you are stuck. Really this is an amazing piece of fiction. For me the sequel After You is really comforting as well.
James Frey: A Million Little Pieces
James Frey book is about addiction and rehabilitation. I don’t know why, but these kinds of books help me too. If you realize your struggles are not as huge as other people’s, it’s kind of comforting.
Matthew Quick: The Silver Linings Playbook
Silver Linings Playbook is about really serious topics with some light-heartedness, written by Matthew Quick. I love the movie, loved to book. Sometimes you just need to look at the problem with a different point of view.
Jeannette Walls: Half Broke Horses
I loved Jeannette Walls’ books. The Half Broke Horses is about her Grandma’s life story. Lily’s life is filled with tragedy, but still she made it really good. Her courage and her life filled me with life-affirmation.
Nick Hornby: A Long Way Down
It’s a really funny book about a bunch of suicidal people. Nick Hornby’s book is about time and change, everything transforms if you give it some time. It’s really encouraging with Hornby’s humor.
Jeanette Walls: Glass Castle
This is also one of my favorite memoirs. In her book Walls shows her really unique childhood and her struggles with it in the adulthood. This is a brave piece of non-fiction with a really dysfunctional family. This is one of my favorite book of all time.
Elizabeth Gilbert: Big Magic
Big Magic is about creative life. It’s filled with passion, commitment and the magic of creativity. I think I need to re-read it from time to time.