Mental Health Monday: My Ideal Self-Help Bookshelf

Last week I sent in my “ideal bookshelf” to Corey Mesler, owner of Burke’s Books in Memphis, for inclusion in the “My Ideal Bookshelf: Memphis Edition” site. It’s lots of fun to read everyone’s shelves. Mine is published here. And here’s a picture of it.

My Ideal Bookshelf: Memphis Edition
My Ideal Bookshelf: Memphis Edition

But I had a hard time (as I’m sure most folks did) stopping with just 10 books. My shelf included 5 novels, 2 memoirs, 1 anthology of essays, 1 book of essays and poetry, and 1 self-help book. I would have preferred to submit several shelves:

My Ideal Fiction Bookshelf

My Ideal Memoir/Creative Nonfiction Bookshelf

My Ideal Self-Help Bookshelf

My Ideal Poetry Bookshelf
My Ideal Bookshelf by Writers on Writing

My Ideal Spiritual/Religious Bookshelf

And since this is Mental Health Monday, I decided to share my own Self-Help Bookshelf. (Maybe I’ll do the others in future posts.) I did this list from memory, since I’m not at home looking at my actual bookshelves.

Susan's Self-Help Bookshelf
Susan’s Self-Help Bookshelf

I feel like I’m leaving off a couple of important books, but these are the ones that come to mind today:

Drinking: A Love Story by Caroline Knapp

Acedie & Me by Kathleen Norris

How To Be an Adult by David Richo

This is How… by Augusten Burroughs

I Hate You—Don’t Leave Me: Understanding the Borderline Personality by Straus & Kreisman

The Wounded Heart: Hope For Adult Victims of Childhood Sexual Abuse by Dan Allender

Cracked: Putting Broken Lives Together Again by Pinksy & Gold

Eating, Drinking, Over-Thinking: The Toxic Triangle… by Susan Nolan-Hoeksema

The Noonday Demon by Andrew Solomon

Appetities: Why Women Want by Caroline Knapp

I’m only two chapters into another book that might have made it onto this shelf—Brene Brown’s Daring Greatly: How the Courage to be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead. The chapter I just finished deals with our culture’s never-ending problem of scarcity—how we worry about never having or being enough:

  • Never good enough

  • Never perfect enough

  • Never thin enough

  • Never powerful enough

  • Never successful enough

  • Never smart enough

  • Never certain enough

  • Never safe enough

  • Never extraordinary enough

I don’t know about you, but I’ve spent most of my life thinking/feeling most of those inadequacies about myself. I’m looking forward to continuing the book to learn how to move away from shame and towards what she calls “wholeheartedness: facing uncertainty, exposure, and emotional risks, and knowing that I am enough.”

What books would be on you’re “My Ideal Self-Help Bookshelf”?

4 thoughts on “Mental Health Monday: My Ideal Self-Help Bookshelf”

  1. I would add Richard Quis’ Thinking Anew: Harnessing the Power of Belief. Add it to your self help shelf, will be worth your time!

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