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so many books, so little time

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Anna Kavan
Wittgenstein's Nephew
David McLintock, Thomas Bernhard

The Novel Cure: From Abandonment to Zestlessness: 751 Books to Cure What Ails You

The Novel Cure: From Abandonment to Zestlessness: 751 Books to Cure What Ails You - Susan Elderkin, Ella Berthoud Ah, fiction booklists, books with fiction booklists, and now a book about the therapeutic uses of fiction for various malaises.

The Novel Cure probably is best dipped into over time, not read in one gulp because it has to go back to the library. Some of the flaws show more at that pace, such as silly 10 books lists (what to read while someone is snoring), rather glib book suggestions for serious stuff (physical scars, illness), and some summaries for books I've read that seem somewhat to miss the point of the novel in question (hint: Doctor Faustus is about more than just one guy losing his soul). Also, there's too much information for those who don't like spoilers (the whole fricking plot of Wuthering Heights!?).

However there are times Berthoud and Eldurkin get things absolutely right in talking with a lot of wit, perception and empathy about terrific books such as The Sisters Brothers (wrong career) and Life: a user's manual (pointlessness). There's a nice balance between English-language writers and writers in translation. Likewise between lighter and serious fiction.

Overall, I find the concept interesting and worthwhile, to make somewhat deliberate reading choices based on what's going on in the reader's emotional life.

Most booklovers have had the serendipitous experience of reading the right book at the very right time. Books have lanced boils on my soul, lightened my heart, helped me connect ideas and often inspired my artwork.

Overall, worthwhile checking out for the concept and simply to get fresh reading ideas. Real bibliotherapy would have to be highly specific and go deeper into how someone reacts to a book.

Personally I may have a reading addiction problem--dishes in the sink, losing track of time, fidgets when I haven't read for a few hours....