From the Beacon: Build yourself up with a page-turner

"I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by a conscious endeavor," Henry David Thoreau

Many of us have goals that we'd love to accomplish and dreams we hope to fulfill; yet the road that leads to what we are seeking is often very difficult to find. Are you stuck in a rut? Would you like to live a happier, more fulfilling life? If so, this is the month to visit your local branch of the Beaufort County Public Library.

It just so happens that September, in addition to being National Library Card Sign-Up Month, is International Self-Awareness Month, Strategic Thinking Month and People Skills Month. International Enthusiasm week also lasts through Monday. If you're not already a proud library card holder, then signing up for one is the first step to opening the doors to an array of information and services that will help you live to your highest potential. The library has plenty of titles designed to help you achieve, grow and improve at just about anything you could think of. Here's just a few examples to get you started:

"What You Can Change and What You Can't: The Complete Guide to Successful Self-Improvement," Martin E.P. Seligman, Ph.D.: This is a good read for anyone who wants to know where they should concentrate energy when it comes to making changes in life. The book doles out advice for dealing with several situations, including depression, panic attacks, phobias and dealing with loved ones who are alcoholics. The author reminds readers that some of his advice may be seen as controversial. Seligman says he has based his writing on evidence and reasoning, with no patience for "sacred cows."

"Be Happy Without Being Perfect: How to Break Free From the Perfection Deception," Alice D. Domar, Ph.D. and Alice Lesch Kelly: This title offers readers, specifically the ladies, an opportunity to determine when they are letting "unrealistic expectations" prevent happiness. If you can't go to sleep until the kitchen is clean, don't trust your gut feelings, worry too much about making mistakes or can't seem to take suggestions, then this may be the book for you. Martha Stewart die-hards beware; this work is not particularly kind to M. Diddy. But it does give advice on identifying negative thoughts and restructuring mind-sets to make life less stressful and more fulfilling.

"Happier: Learn the Secrets to Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment," Tal Ben-Shahar Ph.D.: This New York Times best-seller is said to be the "backbone" of one Harvard class. It lies out exactly what happiness is, and tries to explain why the pursuit and accomplishment of various achievements does not always lead individuals to it. Ben-Shahar shows readers how to set obtainable goals that will help them as they create a map for happiness.

And for the kids: "Walking Tall: How To Build Confidence and Be the Best You Can Be," Marie-Jose Auderset; "Flying Solo: How To Soar Above Your Lonely Feelings, Make Friends and Find The Happiest You," Pascale Perrier:These two reads (part of a series called Sunscreen) are designed to help adolescents build self-confidence and make friends. The books are filled with checklists, steps and advice aimed at improving both social and academic parts of kids lives, at home and in school.