I suppose it is not wrong that the cooking department is not so far from the self-help department. Cooking is self-help.
But the other day, I got bored with grinning celebrity chefs wearing stupid clothes, cherry tomatoes and lettuce leaves on oversized white plates and empty country lanes in Tuscany at sunset and I drifted over to the self-help shelves and picked up one of those books that has chapters that begin and end on the same page, puns for section headings, pearls of wisdom in every paragraph and a line on the cover that says #1 New York Times best seller.
It was an old book but still in print. I flipped through it. In chapter 26, the author exhorts his reader to set aside some quiet time every day and then adds, by way of example, that he is writing this at 4.30 in the morning, his favourite time of day; hours before he would be disturbed by interruptions from, I don't know, family, life, selfish kids wanting to be fed, the cat, that kind of thing. Then he goes on to say he stops his car a little way from home each night to ground himself before he arrives. Sounds like the guy is afraid of his family. Or the cat.
No wonder it was a best-seller, with advice like that. Get more peace and quiet - never go to bed! Sleep is ruining your life! Why waste time lying down? Park outside your neighbour's house - the attractive one - every night before you go right home! She might even invite you in! Then you won't HAVE to go home!
I put the book down. I've never liked self-help books. There are far more pressing problems to be solved than suggesting getting up in the middle of the night to save your sanity. Here are four:
If bees ate oranges instead of flowers, would they make marmalade? Where do all the pens go? Why can't you herd cats? And what do they think about when they sit in the window?
Probably new ways to scratch self-help authors.