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The Novel Cure: From Abandonment to Zestlessness: 751 Books to Cure What Ails You

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  2,062 ratings  ·  403 reviews
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 nove
Hardcover, 420 pages
Published September 26th 2013 by Penguin Press (first published August 1st 2013)
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 ·  2,062 ratings  ·  403 reviews

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i made a booknerd giftgiving list over on riffle! enjoy!

bibliotherapy is the self-help application of readers' advisory. i did the whole library science schooling thing, with a specialization in readers' advisory, for which it seems i have an aptitude (summa cum laude, bitches!), but we never once talked about bibliotherapy, so this was an interesting book for me to read. practitioners of readers' advisory train in how to help someone select a book for th
Amalia Gkavea
This is a book that had been waiting patiently in my TBR list and I had been waiting for the right moment to start reading. I wanted to be focused, my mind concentrated, because the concept of the book- a combination of feelings and daily problems and the way they are depicted in various novels- was so interesting and unique. However, when that moment came, I discovered that this was a self-help book (or an attempt to create one) and an overall disappointing read.

What I liked was the snippets of
A good book, read at the right moment, should leave you uplifted, inspired, energized and eager for more. With so many books to choose from, what’s the point of reading even one more that leaves you cold?

For anyone new to the concept of bibliotherapy or interested in finding out more, this is a learned and at times tongue-in-cheek book of advice about what fiction to read if you’re suffering from any sort of malady – physical, psychological, or imagined. (Ella Berthoud and Susan Elderkin are two
Jan 26, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned, 2016
I was trying to stubbornly work through this despite the fact I found it incredibly condescending and tone deaf, but this sealed the deal. On being broke, seemingly written by someone who has never even brushed poverty:

Finally, return to The Great Gatsby and do what James Gatz should have done: inhabit and accept your impoverished self and find someone who loves you as you are. Then quit wasting money on lottery tickets, downsize, and learn to budget. If your job still doesn’t bring in enough fo
Dec 21, 2013 rated it liked it
Once in a while when I'm in a bookshop (I hear my wife correcting me: "always", she says), I have some silly caprice. So, yesterday, I bought this rather bulky book full of tips for further reading, as if I don't have enough books on my want-to-read-list. But this is a special one: it's written by 2 British bibliotherapists, and it suggests you can cure every psychological or even physical affection by reading novels.

Now, it is no revolutionary view that reading fiction broadens your horizon, s
Diane S ☔
Aug 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
I love the idea of a book doctor, one who prescribes fiction as an antidote for many of lives ills. This is a book about books, tells one what books to read if one is feeling a certain way or facing a certain challenge. Not only does it names the books but it describes why that particular book was picked. Many classics, many I never heard of and too many that I added to my TBR.

Well written, loved the layout of the book and how it is presented. This is a book I will probably buy as it is a great
Oct 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
Great idea for a list book! Do you have a problem? Are you listless, bored, sad, unemployed, ill, just lost the love of your life....? There is almost assuredly a book, a very good book, to see you through your problem time and help you come smiling out the other side. Conversely there are books to help you, the unsuspecting reader, avoid pitfalls others have been snagged and tripped by, suffering along the way.

Ella Berthoud provides dozens and dozens of books to assist us all on our paths throu
Apr 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
An A-Z Guide to reading for what ails you.

If you asked me for a book recommendation for someone who was depressed I could easily find one in non-fiction that would fit the bill. I could choose from what the reader needed, an explanation of the causes, perhaps a memoir by someone who's been there or some type of self-help book. But what if I wished to help someone find fiction that would aid in helping that person feel better? The Novel Cure: From Abandonment to Zestlessness is just that; a nove
May 12, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I liked the general idea of a novel cure, books for all circumstances and troubles. From the titles mentioned I found the ones I have already read fitting the relevant problems. A bit odd I often thought the lists of the 10 best books in a certain situation.
I read the German translation of this book and noticed something quite curious: the German version only lists 253 books whereas the English one lists 751. And not all of the ones from the English version appear in the German edition but were
Diane Barnes
Sep 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I'm going to review this book now, even though I have not read the whole book yet, because it is quite possible I may never finish. By that I mean that it will stay on my bedside table to be perused when I have a few minutes to spare for some witty and passionate synopses of books I would like to read, or have already read, or to put in the hands of friends who need to read them. I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway, and was very excited to find it in my mailbox. I love books about books, and ...more
“Sick? Tired? Lost your job? Take one dose of literature and repeat until better.”

I would like to be known as a Bibliotherapist; it is on my twitter profile so it must be true. I received this book for Christmas from the most amazing person (my wife) and now I finally have the textbook to officially hand out some bibliotherapy. You have a shopping addiction, please go away and read American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis (that’s what it recommends); I can tell you after that book you’ll not want to
♥ Ibrahim ♥
This book reminds me of devotional books we would get and keep handy in order to get a dose of inspiration. Sometimes these books did a good job, other times they were just trying to hard, poor thing! But this book brings out the the best novels to you, uses them in dealing with common issues such as abandonment, adultery, etc. and shed the light on what these novelists have to say, allow the characters to mouthpiece the author's wisdom, and generally it is sound wisdom, down-to-earth, and you d ...more
Jan 24, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant book. Aesthetically it looks great, it's well written and it has hundreds of ideas for new books to read. This is a really interesting concept, using books to cure ailments, from the silly to the serious. There are book suggestions for just about anything and I think I'll be dipping in and out of this for many years to come. Very much recommended. ...more
reading is my hustle
Great concept and easy format makes this readers' book a pleasurable read. I did not always agree with some of their Cures but did have a good time thinking of different or more fitting books for various Ailments.

A solid addition to any library.
This book is a great reference for mood reading, an art in which I specialize :D
While I find the concept of biblio therapy extremely interesting, this book is a list of recommendations (761 to be precise) and I found literally zero interesting books among them.

"One sheds one’s sicknesses in books—repeats and presents again one’s emotions, to be master of them." —D. H. LAWRENCE, The Letters of D. H. Lawrence

I loved this book! It took me about two months to read, and it's the first reference work I've actually read from cover to cover! I made just about 600 highlights and countless number of notes throughout my reading. It was hilarious, charming, and made my pile of books to-read much larger. I really appreciated their compilation of lists for ever
Jun 20, 2016 rated it it was ok
Awful waste of time for me. I got a few suggestions but none excite me. And I was reminded of a few older books I want to read, but those didn't seem to be, imo, apt cures the for the condition tagged. I have plenty of books on my shelves, and I keep getting charmed by the shiny displays at the library, and when I read a good book I add the author's oeuvre, *and* goodreads has far too many ways to get recommendations. Why do I continue to read books like this? I must stop.

EtA: So, I did the rese
Sep 10, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I was fortunate enough to receive this novel as a part of the Goodreads First Reads and I couldn’t be any more ecstatic. This novel, set up like a reference book, is a read for book lovers. Whatever your ailment, you can look it up and find a recommendation of what would be best suited. My first reaction when I got this book was to flip through and find some of my “ailments.” While I found some great book recommendations in relation to my ailments, my favorite part are the nice lists with quirky ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
This is more of a book to keep on hand, so I have to admit that I skimmed it rather than read it carefully. The idea is that the authors pick out novels for different ailments, some emotional, some physical. I did add a bunch of books to my to-read list, particularly from the entries on cancer - they had one entry for caregivers and one entry for sufferers. My Mom just started chemo and I'm probably spending a month or so with her this summer, so I think it would be a great idea to read those bo ...more
Sep 24, 2013 rated it liked it
As someone who writes a lot about bibliotherapy over on my blog, I knew I had to read this!

First of all, the hardback edition is beautiful. It seems destined to be the ultimate coffee table book: it's sturdy, eye-catching and clearly quite intellectual. Inside the book, the pages are alphabetically structured in a way that makes it so easy to flick through without feeling overwhelmed by text, and the 464 pages do not seem at all dense or crowded.

Now, to the important stuff. Firstly, I didn't exp
Jul 31, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: c21st, 13review
Yesterday at the Melbourne Writers’ Festival, I went to a session called Healing Words, which featured three writers discussing the power of words to help people deal with ill-health or emotional issues. It was a serious discussion, rather sombre in tone though Peter Goldsworthy did his best to lighten the mood. It wasn’t the sort of session where the audience dashes out afterwards to buy a book: I suspect that there was more than one would-be author writer from the audience who in question time ...more
Arun Divakar
May 13, 2018 rated it it was ok
Ailments both physical and mental have a cure in books and that is an idea that I can attest to from personal experience. The physical ailment side I am not very sure of but mentally one can find a great deal of solace, comfort and much needed distraction in books. The authors come up with an alphabetical arrangement of ailments and their recommendation of books as cures for them.

Beyond this there was very little that aroused curiosity, interest or excitement in me. There were lists of books but
Mij Woodward
Jul 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyed this collection of recommendations of novels. Based on some of their blurps, I have added eight books to my "to read" list here on Goodreads.

However, the proof is in the pudding. I will revisit this review after I read each of those eight books and see how their recommendations hold up.

For now, I am just grateful for some ideas about what to read. I love that.

Karen S.
Feb 10, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
While I enjoyed the concept, liked the introductions to each ailment, and got some reading recommendations out of it, the amount of spoilers defied the purpose of the book in my opinion and made me skip or skim the sections on books I still intend to read.
Aug 13, 2013 rated it liked it
When I first heard about this I thought the idea was really unique and was particularly excited to get my hands on it. I heard the term "bibliotherapy" and thought it was a kind of joke, just something bibliophiles are saying because they like adding the word biblio to things. But apparently it's a real thing. Or it claims to be a real thing. But, It's effectiveness is obviously...contingent. Upon the mental soundness of the patient, and of an otherwise mentally healthy and functioning person wi ...more
Jan 21, 2015 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: readers who self-medicate with reading, fans of booklists
Ah, fiction booklists, books with fiction booklists, and now a book about the therapeutic uses of fiction for various malaises.

The Novel Cure probably is best dipped into over time, not read in one gulp because it has to go back to the library. Some of the flaws show more at that pace, such as silly 10 books lists (what to read while someone is snoring), rather glib book suggestions for serious stuff (physical scars, illness), and some summaries for books I've read that seem somewhat to miss the
Mar 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I've been dipping into this interesting book for several months now and have found it a truly fascinating experience. There really is a reading cure for all ills within its pages. Whether you are bored, suffering from unrequited love or feel you have too much to do. Whether you've been made redundant, had an argument, aren't getting enough sex - or even too much. Whether you are an optimist or a pessimist there is a suitable novel for you to read in the circumstances.

Anyone who loves books will
Paula Bardell-Hedley
Apr 09, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Novel lovers everywhere.
Recommended to Paula by: The Saturday Guardian Review.
You know you've morphed into a literoholic when you start reading books about books - and having just finished The Novel Cure: An A-Z of Literary Remedies by Ella Berthoud and Susan Elderkin, I must also confess to being something of a literary valetudinarian.

This informative handbook should, I suppose, be dipped-into rather than binged upon (as I did), but unlike your more typical medical encyclopedia, it is entertaining as well as informative, and is therefore likely to absorb you into the ear
Dec 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
Operating under the premise that when you're struggling with something it's helpful to read a novel related to your situation, Ella Berthoud and Susan Elderkin make specific suggestions for specific ailments. The book is organized under a variety of headings. The novel suggestions range from classic to contemporary, and I enjoyed the book as yet another way of hearing about novels I'd like to read. ...more
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Bibliotherapy (the novel cure) 1 12 May 14, 2015 02:48AM  

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Ella Berthoud started reading on a journey from Tehran to London, on the parcel shelf of a Wolsey 1300 when she was five. She spent the next thirteen years reading books in inappropriate places like ski-lifts and trampolines. She studied English Literature at Cambridge University, where she read as many novels as she could at once. She continued on to University of East London where she studied Fi ...more

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