Saturday, 30 November 2013

The books don't work

I'm licking around the edges of the yoghurt lid of a cold, dark time. I'm dipping a toe in the murky water of chaos, mess and upheaval. I'm venturing into stick, black trauma.

Yep. I've started packing. This may not sound like a big deal but you mustn't underestimate how intrinsically lazy I am and how very much I want to just snap my fingers like a much more dour Mary Poppins and have it all done and dusted.

I don't want to go through my 2,000 books and decide whether I can bring myself to cull any. I don't want to then decide which of my precious paper babies I will be leaving in storage and how many I can get away with taking to the Isle of Wight. I don't want to choose which Jesus pictures come with me and which have to lie face down in the cold, dark storage place. I don't even know where the storage place is. In a couple of weeks, men will arrive and will take my stuff and cast it into some vague abyss somewhere. Presumably it'll be alright, wherever it is.

So this time - the fourth time I've moved in 18 months - I'm being ruthless. I'm casting books out. Ones that I will never read again. Some that I just shouldn't read again.

I decided that old chick lit, old copies of the classics that I have multiple times, random thrillers and all self help could go.

I have only been through about 500 books. And this is probably a third of my self help library.

So that's:
  • The Dance of Anger - all about women's anger with stuff and things and men. Mostly men. Biased, narrow minded and totally pointless but quite good for when I properly hated all men for about five minutes.
  • Staying Sane - Dr Raj Persaud basically lays out a shit tonne of patient stories about their messed up lives. It's really interesting in a rubber necking voyeuristic kind of a way and at least reassures you that no matter how shit you feel, there are apparently a gazillion people out there in much bigger messes than you. Unless he made them up. Which he might have done. Wasn't he one of those telly doctors? Is he even a doctor? Have I been swindled?
  • He's Just Not That Into You - this American publishing sensation actually makes some pretty good points but as it was spawned by a Sex and the City writer who is smugly loved up with his wife, it's pretty hard to swallow. Still, it's pretty amusing but ever so 2003. Much better than the film. Obviously. The film was execrable.
  • Overcoming Jealousy - I bought this when I was going out with a knobhead who told me it was all in my head. So I thought I better try and work out why I'm so irrationally jealous and 'ruining everything'. Turns out it wasn't irrational and he was fucking her. So, you know, swings and roundabouts. I'm not irrational and he was a dick. Don't remember what the book said, probably something along the lines of how you should never question your man ever and that it's a very unattractive trait.
  • How To Quit Without Feeling Shit - bought it for my fag addiction, it said I should quit sugar and so I quit the book. Didn't even feel shit.
  • On My Own - as far as I recall, it's about how its totes fine to be a single woman and you should embrace it and be all happy with it and all of that. Written by a woman who'd managed to get herself off the shelf though. Just in case you thought you could completely relax. Seriously. She spends lots of time mentioning 'before I was married', 'before I met my perfect man'. Oh do fuck offfff dear. 
  • Breaking the Bonds - actually a pretty good book about depression and the neural pathways that form and make it so very difficult to break out of the depressive mindset.
  • Irrationality - one of those new breed of zeitgeisty not-a-self-help-book-but-it-is-really books that makes you question everything. Always written by male journos. Usually have a beard and are known for their sardonic wit.
  • The Worry Cure - does not cure worry.
  • Stress Buster - does not bust stress.
  • The Last Self Help Book You'll Ever Need - says that all self help books are damaging bollocks. Might keep this one.
  • How to Break Your Addiction to a Person - actually pretty damn handy for anyone who's in an emotionally abusive thing and can't work out why in fuck they keep going back to the greasy little tick at the centre of it. Helpful at the time and thankfully no longer necessary. Ever again.
  • Self Esteem - turns out if you're suffering from a lack of it, books talking about it don't much help really. Very American and upbeat. Shudder. Guess what, not everyone IS special and different and amazing and beautiful, no matter how many mantras they chant at themselves in the mirror.
  • The Single Trap - I think this was about all the things you do wrong to make men run away from you and how you fall into 'the single trap' and then has tips of how to get out of it and catch a man. Fuck off.
  • TA Today - that's transactional analysis rather than territorial army. And very interesting it is too. Useful. Unculled.
  • Understanding Psychology - I still don't. 
I do like self help books. But it's time to let most of these go. 


  1. Interesting post. Made me look at my collection of books (only about 200 - I have limited space, so need to be constantly ruthless: I've owned hundreds more over the years) and question which I'd ever read more than once or was ever likely to read again. And I reckon it's about 30 of them - much of Orwell, Steinbeck's Grapes Of Wrath and East Of Eden, and a few other novels I know I'll read again, and the rest are poetry - if I had to lose my books one by one, the collected poems of Yeats would be the last to go. Obviously, books bought by a special person: or on, or for, a special occasion are sacrosanct. And some authors will always be in print, so mistakes can be rectified. I know it must be a heart-wrenching task - but a necessary one so, as always, try not to beat yourself up for doing what needs doing!

  2. I'm not beating myself up... not sure where you got that from!

    1. Okay, "beating yourself up" was a little strong (and I'm glad you're not). I read this post - rightly or wrongly - as a continuation of your previous one: about how moving means letting go of people, places and things. And, as books are very important things, there's bound to be sadness and regrets (even the crap ones will mean something!) about leaving some of them behind. But not too many, I hope.

    2. Nah. This post is simply about the ridiculous and comical amount of self help books I have. There is no sadness in leaving behind ridiculous self help books. Not every post of mine is about sadness. A lot of them are about dick pics.

    3. And I love those too - though I often cringe with embarrassment, or become righteously indignated (yes, I know that's not a real word - but it should be!) about how shallow, childish, Neanderthal and just plain stupid so many men are. But it certainly makes for entertaining reading!

  3. This was my first time moving to storage so I had no clue what I need to do, what unit size I need. I walked to this storage place and I observed how the staff on duty was interacting with existing customers and that in start made me feel confident about moving forward with my choice.
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  4. My Fav. self help idea

    Village Idiot obviously

  5. Although we had to wait a bit to pay, people there was really apologetic and nice. If you are looking for a place similar in price and location, use this storage place!
    Self storage in Brendale