Monday, December 15, 2014

Review: The Novel Cure & Giveaway

Summary: 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 novel can—quite literally—change it.

The Novel Cure is a reminder of that power. To create this apothecary, the authors have trawled two thousand years of literature for novels that effectively promote happiness, health, and sanity, written by brilliant minds who knew what it meant to be human and wrote their life lessons into their fiction. Structured like a reference book, readers simply look up their ailment, be it agoraphobia, boredom, or a midlife crisis, and are given a novel to read as the antidote. Bibliotherapy does not discriminate between pains of the body and pains of the head (or 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. Nervous about throwing a dinner party? Ali Smith’s There but for The will convince you that yours could never go that wrong. 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 offer solace, showing that you’re not the first to experience these emotions. The Novel Cure is also peppered with useful lists and sidebars recommending the best novels to read when you’re stuck in traffic or can’t fall asleep, the most important novels to read during every decade of life, and many more.

Brilliant in concept and deeply satisfying in execution, The Novel Cure belongs on everyone’s bookshelf and in every medicine cabinet. It will make even the most well-read fiction aficionado pick up a novel he’s never heard of, and see familiar ones with new eyes. Mostly, it will reaffirm literature’s ability to distract and transport, to resonate and reassure, to change the way we see the world and our place in it. -- Penguin

Have you ever wondered why you read? I certainly have! It's a wonderful way for me to escape. Sometimes I "visit" exciting places. Other times, I "meet" really amazing people. And if I'm lucky, sometimes I can get caught up in a story and forget everything for a few hours. To me, that's the beauty of novels.

Ella Berthoud and Susan Elderking, the authors of THE NOVEL CURE: FROM ABANDONMENT TO ZESTLESSNESS: 751 BOOKS TO CURE WHAT AILS YOU, have found an entirely new reason to read novels; and I think it's terrific! Their new book has reading suggestions based on what ails you... in other words, bibliotherapy. THE NOVEL CURE has book advice for almost any feeling or event I can think of including depression, lack of courage, childbirth, addiction, and more. There are even book recommendations for control freaks and being a genius!

I have to admit that I didn't read this book through from the first to the last page; however, I'm pretty sure that's not the idea of the book. Rather, I consider THE NOVEL CURE to be a reference book of sorts. I actually skimmed the book to get an idea of the "ailments" and the recommendations, and then I went back and looked up some of my feelings to see what I should be reading. There were some well-known novels and then quite a few that I had never heard of as well as both classic and contemporary ones -- basically, a great mix and definitely something for everyone.

Berthoud and Elderking have really created an interesting book... and a great gift idea for the upcoming holiday season. I was so impressed to learn that they searched through 2,000 years of literature for find the best matches. I thought it was a lot of fun to see their recommendations (as well as their list of ailments); and I found that once I started skimming the book, I couldn't stop reading it. I have a feeling that book lovers are going to truly appreciate this book!

THE NOVEL CURE is arranged in alphabetical order by ailment, and there is also an index in the back. Believe me when I say that this book is thorough! In addition to offering reading recommendations, this book also has some great lists like "The Ten Best Escapist Novels" and "The Ten Best Novels to Be Read in the Hospital."

I honestly loved everything about this book and can't decide what I appreciated more -- the recommendations or the compilations.

Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this book.

Giveaway alert: I have a copy of THE NOVEL CURE to share with one lucky reader. To enter, just fill out the form below before December 21st at 11:59 p.m. EST. I will notify the winner the following day. This contest is open to those of you with U.S. addresses only. Good luck!


bermudaonion said...

What a fabulous idea!

Beth F said...

I love the idea of this!

Dolly said...

What an interesting idea!

Suko said...

Terrific review! Thank you for offering this giveaway.

Amy said...

Thanks for the tip - you just solved my quest to find a gift for two important birthdays I have coming up in January!

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

This sounds incredible!!! Love it!