Books holding to a “can-do,” practical spirituality are replacing New Age spirituality for many readers, reports Publishers Weekly (April 13).
Continued sales in spirituality and personal growth books shows on all the charts. But by contrast to a few years ago when the more esoteric themes of reincarnation, crystal healing, and channeling were popular, what clearly attracts readers now is what is called “can-do spirituality.”
Drawing on the older themes of wisdom, love, happiness, harmony, balance, and simplicity, the new genre of titles embrace global religious practices and give them a daily, down-to-earth spin. One observer noted, “You don’t have to be a Buddhist or even do any of these activities within a religious context.”
Popular titles include how to use yoga for dieting or body building; or how to meditate when walking; how to find serenity in everyday life is another popular theme as found in Mark Epstein, “Going to Pieces Without Falling Apart: A Buddhist Perspective on Wholeness.” A similar best-selling work is “In Your Life’s Work: A Guide to Creating A Spiritual and Successful Work Life” by Tami Coyne. The biggest surprise on the charts was the huge popularity of James van Praage’s “Talking to Heaven,” with sales over 635,000 copies. PW believes the market for can do spirituality has only begun and shows no signs of being saturated. Editor John Duff summed up the new opportunity” “Our goal is to do very concrete, very pragmatic books. We take esoteric subjects and make them really accessible.”
Meanwhile, a major roundup in Publishers Weekly (March 9) locates the widest interest in three areas: Eastern religious traditions, holistic medicine, and the healing power of prayer and meditation. Interestingly, the review suggests, these three areas often overlap and enhance one another, a major factor accounting for their success at the sales counter. Among the most influential of these new works are those of Dr. Larry Dossey on intercessory prayer, Carolyn Myss with new mind-body medicine, and Dr. Dale Matthews with explicit Christian teachings.
Also suggestive of the new spirituality is the popularity of a new work by Ron Roth, “The Healing Power of Prayer” (Harmony). He presents readings and meditations encouraging the reader to draw on higher healing energies. An Asian connection is spelled out by Maggie Oman in “Prayers for Healing: 365 Blessings, Poems, and Meditations from Around the World” (Conari Press) with an introduction by the Dalai Lama and a forward by Dossey.
— By Erling Jorstad