11 Books To Read If You Love Advice Columns

By Kerri Jarema

Let's face it: we all need a little help now and again. And my philosophy is, if you're going to need some insight, why not get it through some really good writing? Basically, I am a sucker for a good advice column, chock full of hard-won wisdom, a healthy dose of sass, and some serious perspective on my own issues — no matter their size. And luckily for me, and any other advice column fans out there, there are actually a ton of incredible books that take the spirit of advice columns (or, you know, the advice columns themselves) and collect them for your convenience.

If you're looking to go into the rest of the year with a more positive perspective in general, or you need some help growing a specific arena of your life, there is a book out there that will bring the advice straight to you. Below are 11 picks that range from advice column collections to memoir and essay collections, but all have one thing in common: they will have your rethinking your struggles, rejuvenating your spirit, and looking at the world in a whole new way. Whatever you need help with, there's a book out there just waiting to be added to your shelf — and change your life.

'Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Life and Love From Dear Sugar' by Cheryl Strayed

Sugar—the once-anonymous online columnist at The Rumpus, now revealed as Cheryl Strayed, author of the bestselling memoir Wild — is the person thousands turn to for advice. Tiny Beautiful Things brings the best of Dear Sugar in one place. Rich with humor, insight, compassion — and absolute honesty — this book is a balm for everything life throws our way.

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'Tell Me More: Stories About The 12 Hardest Things I'm Learning to Say' by Kelly Corrigan

In "I Don't Know," Corrigan wrestles to make peace with uncertainty. In "Tell Me More," she learns something important about listening from a facialist named Tish. With refreshing candor, a deep well of empathy, and her signature desire to understand "the thing behind the thing," Corrigan swings in this insightful book between meditations on life to profound observations on love and loss.

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'Can't Help Myself: Lessons and Confessions From a Modern Advice Columnist' by Meredith Goldstein

Boston Globe advice columnist and Love Letters podcast host Meredith Goldstein takes on the relationship problems of thousands of dedicated readers. In her column, she has it all figured out, but in her real life she is a lot less certain. Whether it's her own reservations about marriage and family, or the evolution of her friendships as her friends start to have their own families, Meredith finds herself looking for insight, just like her readers. As she searches for responses to their concerns, she's surprised to discover answers to her own.

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'Everything I Know About Love' by Dolly Alderton

When it comes to the trials and triumphs of becoming a grown up, journalist and former Sunday Times dating columnist Dolly Alderton has seen it all. In her memoir, she recounts falling in love, wrestling with self-sabotage, finding a job, getting drunk, getting dumped, and finding that that your friends are always there at the end of every messy night out. It's a book about bad dates, good friends and — above all else — about recognizing that you are enough.

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'Modern Love: 50 True And Extraoridinary Tales of Desire, Deceit and Devotion' Edited by Daniel Jones

Modern Love is a collection of the 50 most revealing, funny, stirring essays from the New York Times’s “Modern Love” column. Editor Daniel Jones has arranged these tales to capture the ebb and flow of relationships, from seeking love and tying the knot to having children and finding love that endures. For anyone who’s loved, lost, stalked an ex, or made a lasting connection, and for the voyeur in all of us, Modern Love is the perfect match.

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'Bird by Bird: Some Instructions On Writing And Life' by Anne Lamott

If you have ever wondered what it takes to be a writer, what it means to be a writer, what the contents of your school lunches said about what your parents were really like, this book is for you. From faith, love, and grace to pain, jealousy, and fear, Lamott insists that you keep your eyes open, and then shows you how to survive. And always, from the life of the artist she turns to the art of life. Whether you're a writer, a creative, or decidedly not, there is something enlightening in Bird by Bird for you.

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'Madness, Rack, and Honey: Collected Lectures' by Mary Ruefle

Over the course of 15 years, Mary Ruefle delivered a lecture every six months to a group of poetry graduate students. Collected here for the first time, these lectures include "Poetry and the Moon," "Someone Reading a Book Is a Sign of Order in the World," and "Lectures I Will Never Give." But Madness, Rack, and Honey resists definition, as Ruefle explores poetry, writing, life and love throughout these immersive, instructive lectures.

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'How to Be a Person in the World: Ask Polly's Guide Through the Paradoxes of Modern Life' by Heather Havrilesky

How to Be a Person in the World is a frank and witty collection of never-before-published material along with a few fan favorites from Heather Havrilesky's wildly popular Ask Polly advice column. Whether she’s responding to cheaters or loners, lovers or haters, the anxious or the down-and-out, Havrilesky writes with equal parts grace, humor, and compassion to remind you that even in your darkest moments you’re not alone.

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''The Bright Hour: A Memoir of Living and Dying' By Nina Riggs

Nina Riggs was just 37 years old when she was initially diagnosed with breast cancer. Within a year, the mother of two sons received the devastating news that her cancer was terminal. In The Bright Hour, she explores motherhood, marriage, friendship, and memory, asking the question: "What makes a meaningful life when one has limited time?"

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'No Time to Spare: Thinking About What Matters' by Ursula K. Le Guin

Ursula K. Le Guin has taken readers to imaginary worlds for decades. Le Guin ruminates on old age, uncertainty, cultural perceptions and exploring new literary territory: the blog, a forum where her voice — sharp, witty, as compassionate as it is critical — shines. No Time to Spare collects the best of Ursula’s blog, presenting perfectly crystallized dispatches on what matters to her now, her concerns with this world, and her wonder at it. This read is bittersweet in light of her recent death, but her wisdom surpasses her time on earth.

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'Places I Stopped On The Way Home: A Memoir Of Chaos And Grace' by Meg Fee (May 3)

In Places I Stopped on the Way Home, Meg Fee traces a decade of her life in New York City — from falling in love at the Lincoln Center to escaping the roommate (and bedbugs) from hell on Thompson Street, chasing false promises on 66th Street and the wrong men everywhere, and finding true friendships over glasses of wine in Harlem and Greenwich Village. Weaving together her joys and sorrows, aspirations and realities, the result is a collection of essays about love and friendship, failure and suffering, and above all hope.

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