Augusten Burroughs has a one-step self-help plan that should work for anybody in any situation: Be honest with yourself. Burroughs is in Houston as part of his tour with his newly released paperback book This Is How: Surviving What You Think You Can’t (the hardcover version was called This Is How: Proven Aid in Overcoming Shyness, Molestation, Fatness, Spinsterhood, Grief, Disease, Lushery, Decrepitude & More. For Young and Old Alike.) He seems a likely candidate for a self-help guru. The New York Times best-selling author survived growing up in a seriously dysfunctional family (detailed in his memoir Running with Scissors)and a drinking problem (chroni-cled in his memoir Dry).
According to him, changing for the better is within everyone's reach. Take weight loss, for example. ''Unless you have a medical condition, anybody can lose weight. We know how to do it — eat better and move around,'' Burroughs tells us. So how do so many people fail? ''People aren't honest with themselves. They say they want to lose weight, but they aren't willing to do any of the things that requires.'' Burroughs suggests it might be better to just admit, ''I like the way this cupcake tastes now more than I like the idea of being thin sometime in the future.'' And there you go, fatness overcome.
Filled with short chapters on topics not usually seen in self-help books (such as ''How to Be a Good Mental Patient,'' ''How to Feel Sorry for Yourself'' and ''How to Finish Your Drink''), This Is How offers witty, often counterintuitive advice in short, bite-size bits.
Augusten Burroughs appears at 7 p.m. Brazos Bookstore, 2421 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-523-0701 or visit brazosbookstore.com. Free.
Thu., May 2, 7 p.m., 2013