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on bibliotherapy and books as remedies for life’s ailments

2 min read

“To those who always knew philosophy was good for something, but could never say exactly why.”

— Lou Marinoff

A few days ago, we talked about writing as a way of healing. What if I told you that reading can heal, too?

I started to learn that clearer when I read Lou Marinoff’s PLATO, NOT PROZAC!, a book that explains how to use philosophy as therapy. That was also the first time I read about BIBLIOTHERAPY. That’s not new tho. Freud used a lot of classical Greek mythology and philosophy to develop most of his thoughts. But using books, fiction, and philosophy as therapy always seemed very interesting for me.

Imagine you could cure anxiety by reading THE PORTRAIT OF A LADY, by Henry James, or maybe cope with the fear of death by reading ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF SOLITUDE, by Gabriel García Márquez. THE PASSION ACCORDING TO G.H can help you clear your mind after killing a cockroach, and if you feel too busy all the time, read THE THIRTY-NINE STEPS, by John Buchan.

Like there’s an app for everything and a remedy for most diseases, there’s a book for every ailment or situation in life to help you. And “bibliotherapists” like Lou Marinoff, or Ella Berthoud and Susan Elderkin, the authors of THE NOVEL CURE.

They say that bibliotherapy can cure almost everything. A broken heart, a broken mind, or even a broken leg. Yes! They suggest CLEAVE by Nikki Gemmell for broken legs. I never read the book, but I would try. I mean, of course, a book or a story won’t physically HEAL your broken leg, but it will help you in the process. I have no doubt. And that’s what we’re talking about.

■ Now, what do you think about that? Have you ever used fiction or philosophy as therapy? Have you ever heard of bibliotherapy before?

▶︎ Oh, and if you know a good book for an ailment, share it with us in the comments below! I’m curious. It’s gonna be fun.

↓ first seen on @beardbetweenthelines

One Comment

  • WithloveMasi

    I believe in the healing power of books! One book that helped me while I was grieving my fathers death was A monster Calls by Patrick Ness. I cried like you don’t imagine at the end, but it while reading it I realized those words were curing my soul.
    And I have countless of books that have help me through time…

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