Looking Glass Language

a word bird reflects on life & language

Wordy Wednesday: bibliotherapy

The Novel CureBibliotherapy: like shopping therapy, but with sensible shoes…

I don’t know about you, but whatever the difficulties I’m facing in my life, whether it’s struggling in my relationship with my step-family, having a bit of a middle-aged crisis or suffering from a God-awful hangover, a good book usually helps. While it may not sort things out, it does the next best thing – delighting, distracting and developing my mind.

This week’s problem was that I was running out of time: Wordy Wednesday was due, and I hadn’t had a chance to think about posting, when a friend sent me a link to The Novel Cure, by Ella Berthoud and Susan Elderkin. Bibliotherapy indeed!

Promising prescriptions for everything from pessimism to broken hearts, The Novel Cure is a beautifully produced gem of a book. The website even has an alphabetical ‘Surgery’ that lets you search for your ailment and read up on its cure.

‘C,’ for instance, is for Carelessness, with The Little Prince being proscribed as the cure… ‘K’ is for Killjoy, with Daniel Defoe’s Roxanna, the ultimate good-time girl, set to silence your inner party pooper. One of my favourites (and one of the most apposite) prescriptions is that of The Remains of the Day for Procrastination, which shows how, by trying to avoid uncomfortable emotions, untold opportunities for happiness and success pass us by.
A book for dipping into again and again…

The Novel Cure - Remedies

noun \ bi-blē-ə-
’ther-ə-pē, -’the-rə-py:
the prescribing of fiction
for life’s ailments (Berthoud
and Elderkin, 2013)

Are you weary in Brain and Body? Do you desire a Positive Cure for your Pessimism? Do you require Bronte to re-boot your Broken Heart? Do you despair of your Nose? Can Fielding open your Flood Gates? Or Pynchon purge your Paranoia? May we administer Austen to curb your Arrogance? Hemingway for your Headache? An injection of du Maurier for your low Self-Esteem? Are you Shy, Single, Stressed or Sixty? Are your Vital Statistics in need of some Spark? May we massage you with Murakami? Ease your pain with Woolf or Wodehouse? Do you require the Very Book to lessen your Loneliness?


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3 thoughts on “Wordy Wednesday: bibliotherapy

  1. Pamela Bird on said:

    Hi Chris, A favourite expression of Mother’s :- Wherever you be Let your wind go free for the want of a fart Was the Death of Me. As you may remember Mother became adept at Letting go, especially when being hauled upstairs in Avening. These words were written on a gravestone in Painswick. Date unknown. I thought you might add this one to your list. Do hope that all is well with you. I am off to Cardiff tomorrow for a week end of Family Music. It would be lovely to see you both soon.

    Loads of Love

    Mummy xxx

  2. Hi Mum,

    Great to see you commenting on here! I’d forgotten Nanny’s saying: that’s so funny. Extraordinary to have that on a gravestone. Have fun in Cardiff. xx

  3. Pingback: Bibliotherapy: Who Knew? | Dirty Laundry

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