Cover for DOLBY: Self-Help Books: Why Americans Keep Reading Them. Click for larger image
Ebook Information

Self-Help Books

Why Americans Keep Reading Them

Understanding instead of lamenting the popularity of self-help books

Based on a reading of more than three hundred self-help books, Sandra K. Dolby examines this remarkably popular genre to define "self-help" in a way that's compelling to academics and lay readers alike. Self-Help Books also offers an interpretation of why these books are so popular, arguing that they continue the well-established American penchant for self-education, articulate problems of daily life and supposed solutions for them, and present their content in an accessible rather than arcane form and style.

Using methods associated with folklore studies, Dolby then examines how the genre makes use of stories, aphorisms, and a worldview that is at once traditional and contemporary. The overarching premise of the study is that self-help books, much like fairy tales, take traditional materials, especially stories and ideas, and recast them into extended essays that people happily read, think about, try to apply, and then set aside when a new embodiment of the genre comes along.

"Dolby has written a timely, important, and provocative book that introduced me to a new and smart way of viewing this body of literary work. Scholarly yet accessible, Self-Help Books presents a solid argument about why the oral, traditional foundation of narratives for these self-help books helps to make them successful."--Elaine Lawless, author of Women Escaping Violence: Empowerment through Narrative

"Dolby's wide reading in self-help books, her nuanced analyses of their writing, intelligent use of reader testimony, and the effective application of theory and concepts from folklore combine to produce a book that will have appeal for both scholars and general readers."--Patrick B. Mullen, author of The Man Who Adores the Negro: Race and American Folklore


Sandra K. Dolby, director of the Folklore Institute and professor of folklore and American studies at Indiana University, is the author of Literary Folkloristics and the Personal Narrative.

To order online:
http://www.press.uillinois.edu/books/catalog/33rbc7xz9780252029745.html

To order by phone:
(800) 621-2736 (USA/Canada)
(773) 702-7000 (International)

Related Titles

previous book next book
The Ecology of the Spoken Word

Amazonian Storytelling and Shamanism among the Napo Runa

Michael A. Uzendoski and Edith Felicia Calapucha-Tapuy

Polish-American Folklore

Deborah Anders Silverman

Roots of the Revival

American and British Folk Music in the 1950s

Ronald D. Cohen and Rachel Clare Donaldson

Recasting Folk in the Himalayas

Indian Music, Media, and Social Mobility

Stefan Fiol

World Flutelore

Folktales, Myths, and Other Stories of Magical Flute Power

Dale A. Olsen

Sustaining Interdisciplinary Collaboration

A Guide for the Academy

Regina F. Bendix, Kilian Bizer, and Dorothy Noyes

The Bible Without Theology

The Theological Tradition and Alternatives to It

Robert A. Oden, Jr.

Journal of American Folklore

Edited by Thomas A. DuBois and James P. Leary

Squeeze This!

A Cultural History of the Accordion in America

Marion Jacobson

Storytelling in Siberia

The Olonkho Epic in a Changing World

Robin P. Harris

Daisy Turner's Kin

An African American Family Saga

Jane C. Beck

My Curious and Jocular Heroes

Tales and Tale-Spinners from Appalachia

Loyal Jones

 
Self-Help Books ebook is available for immediate download from the following vendors:
Amazon.com
Barnes & Noble
Kobo
Google Play