This may seem like taking things too far, but someone is teaching bibliotherapy. The BookList Reader brings us this important news. There was even an interview on NPR.

In general the idea that reading a good book can be good for you comes as no surprise. Going to a therapist, rather than a librarian, for a reading list seems excessive, but I guess there are therapy-friendly folks all over. I suppose bibliotherapy was occasionally administered when I was a schoolboy: I’ve had books thrown at my head on a few occasions, and of course often had to copy out lengthy passages from books as punishment. It certainly stopped our bad behavior, if only for the time we were engaged in our penmanship.

The books Ms Elderkin recommends all seem pretty good. Unfortunately Helen Simpsons’s excellent Hey Yeah Right Get a Life is published in America under a different title, which may frustrate listeners who rush out for a quick therapy hit.

With Ella Berthoud, Ms Elderkin has written The Novel Cure: From Abandonment to Zestlessness: 751 Books to Cure What Ails You, which has a nicely punning title I guess. Maybe reading Anna Karenina as a “cure” for adultery might work, as you’d no longer have time for your problem pastime; or would it just exacerbate things by promoting deep and meaningful discussion?

 

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