I am not a big fan of the whole “guilty pleasure” trope- I have come to this conclusion, I am certain, with age, maturity, and just the whole “feeling comfortable in my own skin” that living for 50+ years may have gifted me. I have no problem declaring my love for nerdy past times like reading and birdwatching (although I am pretty sure it is ‘hip to be square’ these days and if you don’t get that reference it means you are probably considerably younger than me) but I have detected a slight shift in my comfort level in sharing a particular ‘guilty pleasure’ in the context of my life as an academic and that is, my penchant for self-help books. You see, it’s not just that I am prone to picking up one or two throughout the year and flipping through them nonchalantly- I am, in fact, a bit of a connoisseur of the genre. And-I have been fairly underground about the whole thing– even going so far as to NOT include them on my Goodreads yearly “Reading Challenge” list! (That is going to change!) But, at any given moment I have a significant TBR pile (see photo below for just a very FEW that are currently in front of me…at this moment– and these don’t even include the ones on my Kobo or in my Audible library- Shout out to Thrift Books who keep me in good supply and save me from sending my family into complete financial ruin with my booking buying habit ). Some, for whatever reason, trigger more embarrassment than others. Brené Brown for example is an academic so I figure had more ‘street-cred’ while Gabby Bernstein has “only” a bachelors degree in Theatre (and how horrible that I would have any kind of judgement against her for THAT?!). My dear friend, who also happens to be a freshly minted PhD woman of a certain age shares my appetite for all things “woo-woo” (as we like to call it) which I must say helps me feel not so alone in my obsession (I will not ‘out’ her here in case she too feels the academic pressure to reject all ‘woo’.) mostly because she is wicked-smart and super-talented which gives me some validation that you can read the woo and be a ‘serious’ academic at the same time.
On my walk this morning, while listening to the audio book version of Gretchen Rubin’s Better than Before, it occurred to me that documenting some of the key findings from these book might actually help me process the information better and/or just help me remember who said what- so, I am going to give that a go and over the next few weeks ‘review’ (because that’s what an academic does, right?!) some of my favourite self-help books.
Long live the woo.