I’m so excited about this. The Novel Cure landed in my post box last week, care of the good folk at Text Publishing. The concept of the book is good – a bibliotherapy guide of sorts. Reading the promotional material on Text’s website, I wasn’t exactly jumping out of my skin – I pictured something akin to Ramona Koval’s By The Book, or any of the other many many many reading guides. Walk-throughs of the worthy stuff; a memoiresque telling of why we should read what the author deems deserving. I don’t have a problem with these kinds of books – they’re fun.
But that’s not what The Novel Cure is at all. It’s an A-Z reference book, with a listing for every kind of ailment (both physical and emotional) that you could possibly have. From losing your job, to being a parking inspector, to feeling lonely, to having a toothache, The Novel Cure can suggest something to make you feel better. Sometimes it’s something that takes your mind off the problem, while other listings give examples that you’ll be able to relate to. The entry for ‘Depression’ lists books that will make you laugh and feel good, as well as books that talk about depression really well, and will make you feel less alone in the world.
This book is not just a cool gimmicky book about books – it’s a considered attempt to help people through literature.
I can’t review this in its entirety, because it’s not a book I’ll be sitting down to read from cover to cover – though, if I were feeling enthusiastic, I imagine this might be possible and even enjoyable. There are entries throughout that make good dipping-in reading – I’ve found the ‘Cures for Reading Ailments’ fun. There’s entries like “Amnesia, reading-related”, “Overwhelmed by the number of books in the world” (there’s another “overwhelmed” entry for the amount of books in your own house), and “Live instead of read, tendency to”, and each of these have suggested cures too.
It’s also a lot of fun going through the index to find books you love, and see what they’re prescribed for. Some of my favourites – Black Swan Green (David Mitchell) is listed beside ‘Speech impediment’, Beloved (Toni Morrison) beside ‘Haunted, being’, and Little Women is beside ‘Sibling rivalry’.
The Novel Cure has been dipped into a few times already, and has been shelved with the rest of my reference books, to be consulted in times of need. It’s being released on the 21st of August.