Can a novel cure what ails you? Absolutely: It’s called bibliotherapy, which means reading as a type of therapy.
I was sitting in the library one day, having a small bout of writer’s block while trying to start a new novel, when I looked up and saw a book titled The Novel Cure by Ella Berthoud and Susan Elderkin. Hoping it might offer a cure for my novel-not-yet-in-progress, I started paging through it.
I was amused at its real aim, as indicated by its subtitle: “From Abandonment to Zestlessness: 751 Books to Cure What Ails You.”
Indeed, you can turn to whatever is bugging you, listed alphabetically, and have a novel recommended that will offer you a curative perspective if you read it.
Examples: adolescence, broken heart, carsickness, death of a loved one, empty-nest syndrome, falling in love, grumpiness, hiccups, insomnia, jet lag, being a killjoy, lust, motherhood, neediness, obesity, pessimism, querulousness, racism, seduction skills (or lack thereof), turmoil, unemployment, vanity, wanderlust, xenophobia, yearning for home and zestlessness.
Oh, and the cure for writer’s block (said to be related to constipation)? Dodie Smith’s I Capture the Castle.
I’m not going to read it, however, because I’m too busy writing that new novel now.