Hello again! I hope you enjoyed some good reading time over the holiday.
I’d like to start 2017 by mentioning an unusual and delightful "handbook" someone gave me for Christmas. It is definitely a grown-up book for grown-up readers, although colds & flu meant that I only dipped into the contents a little. Consequently, this post is probably a rather a hazy recommendation; however, this quirky handbook is a most dipping-into and recommending kind of thing in itself.
A NOVEL CURE:
An A-Z of LITERARY REMEDIES
by ELLA BERTHOUD & SUSAN ELDERKIN
The two authors, both bibliotherapists, have put together an alphabetical “medical handbook” with a difference; containing suggestions for novels to ease pains from stubbed toes to the severe blues, as well as tackling reading ailments.
They claim that
“Our belief in the novel as the purest and best form of bibliotherapy is based on our own experience with patients and bolstered by an avalanche of anecdotal evidence. . . Some treatments will lead to a complete cure. Others will simply offer solace, showing you that you are not alone.”
For example, to help with Monday-morning feeling, they suggest reading the opening of Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway, where Clarissa Dalloway daydreams lyrically over the buying of Spring flowers.
To avoid Car-sickness, Berthoud & Elderkin suggest taking a train instead, because that will give you plenty of time for any of the ten best novels listed for reading on trains, which includes A.S Byatts Possession, Nesbit’s The Railway Children, Highsmith’s Strangers on a Train, Isherwood’s Mr Norris Changes Trains and more.
There are also solutions to reading problems, such as suggested cures for "being a compulsive book buyer", for "reverence of books, excessive" as well as "ome, put off by" and other familiar situations.
While I wouldn’t agree with every suggestion made within the covers – and nor - by the hints of humour - is one meant to - A NOVEL CURE certainly made me consider the choosing of books in a new way.
(Published by Canongate in 2013, and as a paperback in 2015. Might be available through your local library, if you are lucky enough to still have one.)
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