One of my most well-read friends, Erin, told me once that the “Books I Heartily Recommend” list featured on this site has a tone that’s all about our need to be fixed. It was coming from a place of telling people how to be better or heal their lives.
She had a point. I explained it was mostly the life coach in me that had created the list because I wanted people to have tools to understand themselves better. But there’s been a shift.
This popped into my head today as I added a new book by Natalia Ginzburg to the list. The last few entries have, in fact, not been about self-improvement but about women who have chronicled their lives in strikingly honest ways. The course I’ve been taking at NYU, Women Write Their Lives, has given me the opportunity to change the “What I’m Reading” list almost weekly and I’ve added most of those to the “recommend” list once I’ve moved on.
What a blessing all around. It has escalated and broadened my reading as well as my outlook. It has opened up a world of wonder and possibility. We’re finishing out the semester with Lorrie Moore, Katha Pollitt and Louise Gluck.
A whole different kind of self-help. I think Erin would agree 😉