The Novel Cure
NEW this week…
The Novel Cure: From Abandonment to Zestlessness; 751 Books to Cure What Ails You by Ella Berhoud & Susan Elderkin
1.5 of 5 stars
An A to Z encyclopedia of ailments, with book recommendations for each condition.
Lovers of literature have been using novels as salves — either consciously or subconsciously — for centuries. Next time you’re feeling in need of a pick-me-up or require assistance with an emotional tangle, reach for a novel.
I’d never heard of bibliotherapy before reading this book, but I would never discount the ability of a book to be able to influence a person’s mood. Obviously, it happens all the time. Yet even if I were a true believer, I found this particular book a little hard to swallow. The biggest problem I found was that I didn’t actually know whether the authors wanted me to take them seriously or not.
Aside from having many, many books I’d never even heard of (nor could I find in my local library’s catalog) and skipping over some combinations I’d have thought would be obvious, other ailment book “cures” seemed mighty peculiar to me. Wuthering Heights making a list of “best breakup novels”? The Count of Monte Cristo for “best novels for a plane flight”? At times, I wasn’t sure if the authors were being facetious or serious.
What I got out of this book, more than anything else, was that people glean different lessons from novels. A novel that might make one person laugh, can make another cry, and vice versa, and that there’s a lot of books out there that deal with every subject under the sun. I’m just not sure that I need a book to tell me that.