I’m sure you must all know about this book which came out in 2013 and which consists of a set of reading prescriptions for just about every ailment, physical, spiritual or reading related, that you might think of. Suffering from a overplus of arrogance? What else should you read but Pride and Prejudice? Just lost your job? Try spending an evening or two in the company of Kingsley Amis’ s Lucky Jim.
When The Novel Cure was first published I have to admit that I was sceptical about its benefits and so other than flicking quickly through a copy in the local Waterstones I didn’t pay it very much attention. However, a couple of months ago The New Yorker published a really interesting article about the pros and cons of the practice of bibliotherapy and it brought the book back to mind.
What attracted my attention most was that The Novel Cure is now being published in eighteen different countries and in each case the contract allows for a local editor and reading expert to adapt and fit up to a quarter of the recommendations to the native readership. So, the Italian edition, for example, has entires on impotence, fear of motorways and (rather worryingly) the desire to embalm. I would like to ask “embalm what?”, but I’m rather fearful of the answer, although I would love to know what the related recommendations might be!
If you live in India you can get advice on what to read relating to cricket, obsession with. It says something about the way in which football has taken over as our national game that this entry wasn’t to be found in the UK edition. It would have been helpful for me if it had been.
Anyway, the upshot was that I decided I should give the book more attention, borrowed the library copy and then realised that I had to have my own. Even though there are a myriad situations described that don’t match my position, reading the recommendations is great fun and occasionally there is a real find to be had regardless of whether I ‘need’ the book at the moment or not.
The authors offer a personalised service through The School of Life. It is based in London but you can participate long distance from wherever you might be. I was wondering if anyone out there had ever tried this or something like it and, if so, what the experience had been like? I don’t know that I am, as yet, quite such a convert as to spend hard cash on more than the book, but I have to say that I am considering it.