The Novel Cure: From Abandonment to Zestlessness: 751 Books to Cure What Ails You [NOOK Book]

Overview

The Guardian (UK)

"An exuberant pageant of literary fiction and a celebration of the possibilities of the novel."




A novel is a story transmitted from the novelist ...
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The Novel Cure: From Abandonment to Zestlessness: 751 Books to Cure What Ails You

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Overview

The Guardian (UK)

"An exuberant pageant of literary fiction and a celebration of the possibilities of the novel."




A novel is a story transmitted from the novelist to the reader. It offers distraction, entertainment, and an opportunity to unwind or focus. But it can also be something more powerful—a way to learn about how to live. Read at the right moment in your life, a novel can—quite literally—change it.



The Novel Cure is a reminder of that power. To create this apothecary, the authors have trawled two thousand years of literature for novels that effectively promote happiness, health, and sanity, written by brilliant minds who knew what it meant to be human and wrote their life lessons into their fiction. Structured like a reference book, readers simply look up their ailment, be it agoraphobia, boredom, or a midlife crisis, and are given a novel to read as the antidote. Bibliotherapy does not discriminate between pains of the body and pains of the head (or heart). Aware that you’ve been cowardly? Pick up To Kill a Mockingbird for an injection of courage. Experiencing a sudden, acute fear of death? Read One Hundred Years of Solitude for some perspective on the larger cycle of life. Nervous about throwing a dinner party? Ali Smith’s There but for The will convince you that yours could never go that wrong. Whatever your condition, the prescription is simple: a novel (or two), to be read at regular intervals and in nice long chunks until you finish. Some treatments will lead to a complete cure. Others will offer solace, showing that you’re not the first to experience these emotions. The Novel Cure is also peppered with useful lists and sidebars recommending the best novels to read when you’re stuck in traffic or can’t fall asleep, the most important novels to read during every decade of life, and many more.



Brilliant in concept and deeply satisfying in execution, The Novel Cure belongs on everyone’s bookshelf and in every medicine cabinet. It will make even the most well-read fiction aficionado pick up a novel he’s never heard of, and see familiar ones with new eyes. Mostly, it will reaffirm literature’s ability to distract and transport, to resonate and reassure, to change the way we see the world and our place in it.



The Economist

"Astute and often amusing . . . a charming addition to any library. Time spent leafing through its pages is inspiring - even therapeutic."






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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

Mark Twain cautioned readers to avoid reading health books: "You might die of a misprint." Perhaps not surprisingly, the author of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn said nothing comparable about the perusal of fiction. The Novel Cure lays out a radical proposal. It argues that the fiction that we read for pleasure or edification actually stealthily offers us help for relieving pangs and mental pains of everything from boredom, bad self-esteem and heartache to midlife crisis and the fear of death. To get us through our various dark nights of the soul, author Ella Berthoud and Susan Elderkin offer 751 novels, each linked to a tormenting problem. A book for readers; a book for booksellers.

Library Journal
10/01/2013
Whether the ailment is serious and psychological (abandonment), physical (constipation), or silly (determined to chase after a woman even though she's a nun), bibliotherapists Berthoud and Elderkin (founders, School of Life bibliotherapy service, London) have created a literary cure or at least a novel painkiller. While boasting scholarly trappings such as cross-references, indexes, and footnotes (though the latter are often more humorous than explanatory), this earnest guide prescribes titles that include, but also venture beyond, the white Anglo-Saxon protestant-dominated canon, published as recently as 2012. The entries for each complaint are part book report, part agony aunt, and contain a plot summary for each suggested read, as well as commentary on why the recommended treatment is effective. VERDICT Its unusual organization—by ailment rather than by the genre/theme of the proposed solution—sets this title apart from similar collections such as Nancy Pearl's Book Lust: Recommended Reading for Every Mood, Moment, and Reason. This appealing and helpful read is guaranteed to double the length of a to-read list and become a go-to reference for those unsure of their reading identities or who are overwhelmed by the sheer number of books in the world.—Megan Hodge, Chesterfield Cty. P.L., Richmond
Publishers Weekly
07/08/2013
In times of trouble, a good book can soothe any kind of pain. Longtime friends Berthoud and Elderkin take that notion to a new level in their delightful reference guide to “bibliotherapy”—“the prescribing of fiction for life’s ailments.” In each case, the authors (who have run a bibliotherapy service since 2008) prescribe a book or two to propel readers to action, bring about awareness or diversion, or show that things are not as bleak as they might seem. They tackle serious and not-so-serious ailments with equal verve, delving into such topics as “Scars, Emotional” (Fitzgerald’s Tender Is the Night or Antonya Nelson’s Bound), “Pessimism” (Robinson Crusoe), and “Burning the dinner” (Zola’s The Belly of Paris). Eclectic top 10 lists are peppered throughout, such as the “Ten Best Novels to Lower Your Blood Pressure” or the “Ten Best Novels to Make You Weep.” Abundant indices allow the reader to browse by author or title and to search for reading problem advice. Berthoud and Elderkin’s elegant prose and discussions that span the history of 2,000 years of literature will surely make readers seek out these books. Taking two novellas and calling the bibliotherapist in the morning sounds welcome indeed. Agent: Claire Alexander, Aitken Alexander Associates. (Sept.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781101638750
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 9/26/2013
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 243,216
  • File size: 976 KB

Meet the Author



Susan Elderkin and Ella Berthoud started giving novels to each other when they met as English students at Cambridge twenty-five years ago. A novelist, travel writer, writing teacher, and fiction reviewer for the Financial Times, Elderkin now lives in Connecticut with her husband and son. Berthoud lives in Sussex with her husband and three girls and paints in a hut in her back garden. They have run a bibliotherapy service out of The School of Life in London since 2008, prescribing books to clients all around the world.



TheNovelCure.com


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