This Book Will Save Your Life (or help you cope with wind…)

I’ve spotted a trend in the sphere of self-help. Yes, certain perma-tanned men are still going to sell shed-loads of books, CDs etc with varying promises that they can make you a better/slimmer/non-smoking person, but there’s a more cultured option out there.

First of all, there’s the new release Art as Therapy by Alain de Botton and John Armstrong in which the philosopher and art historian authors make the case for how great works of art can help us with very human problems. The website has some excellent examples, in particular I like the thought process behind the dilemma of being too tied to my mobile phone.


Secondly, I picked up a copy of The Novel Cure: An A – Z of Literary Remedies which is on a similar quest to assist people with their everyday problems, this time through bibliotherapy. I’ll admit that when I flicked through I didn’t expect the first entry I landed on to be as prosaic a plight as Flatulence, (recommendation: A Confederacy of Dunces) but I persevered and feel like I’ve got a definite ‘keeper’ for my bookshelf in years to come. Both these books have an obvious central tenet that the experience of art helps us see the world from other other peoples’ perspectives and in doing so refreshes us, helps us learn and puts our own stories into perspective. From the extreme (addiction) to the more mundane (procrastination) and even to proposed literary soundtracks (what to read in your twenties, thirties etc), I know I’m going to keep returning to this book to find interesting and new reading suggestions which I doubt any search algorithm could deliver.

If you have a quandary to which you would like a literary cure, the authors are acting as agony aunts via their website and twitter: @thenovelcure

Lesley Crooks, Sales & Digital Manager

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