A novel is a story, a collection of experiences transmitted from the mind of one to the mind of another. It offers a way to unwind, a way to focus, a way to learn about life—distraction, entertainment, and diversion. But it can also be something much more powerful. When read at the right time 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 through two thousand years of literature for the most brilliant minds and engrossing reads. Structured like a reference book, it allows readers to simply look up their ailment, whether it be agoraphobia, boredom, or midlife crisis, then they are given the name of a novel to read as the antidote.
Bibliotherapy does not discriminate between pains of the body and pains of the 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. Stuck in a jam? Dip into Yann Martel’s Life of Pi. 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 only offer solace, showing you that you are not alone in your feelings. The Novel Cure is also peppered with useful lists and sidebars recommending the best post-breakup books, the top ten books to read in your twenties, the best novels on motherhood, and many more.
Brilliant in concept and deeply satisfying in execution, The Novel Cure belongs on everyone’s bookshelf. It will make even the most well-read fiction aficionados pick up a book they’ve never heard of or see familiar books with new eyes. Mostly, it will reaffirm literature’s ability to distract and transport, to change the way we think about the world and our place in it.