Monday, November 16, 2015

Bibliotherapy? Yes, Please.

Somewhere along the way, and I'm not entirely sure how it happened, I took a break from reading. Well, I never fully walked away from that most treasured pastime, but my reading went in the direction of reading non-fiction (which is apparently the trend these days). Instead of reading my beloved classics, I read theology and biographies and "histories of...". Movie adaptations of books, however, have a way of sending me running to the bookstore to experience again the delight of a story I've just seen told on the silver screen. Thank God for movie adaptations! Right now I'm reading Far From the Madding Crowd from Thomas Hardy and enjoying not only the story, but also Hardy's insight into human nature, and his magnificent crafting of sentences and paragraphs.

I read on this morning an article entitled Can Reading Make You Happier? In it, the author talks about receiving bibliotherapy, a kind of therapy where books are recommended based on what ails ya. This therapy sounds wonderful, and in a time when seemingly so few people are reading, it also sounds hard to come by. I love it when a friend recommends a good book to me, even more so when the books is apropos to something that I'm experiencing in my life at that time. (Any suggestions out there?)

Two of the bibliotherapists in the article have written a book, The Novel Cure: An A-Z of Literary Remedies: An A-Z of Literary Remedies. What's fun, is that in the book deal, as the book has been published in other countries and languages, up to 25% of the book is allowed to be adapted for local audiences (and to include local writers). So:

The new, adapted ailments are culturally revealing. In the Dutch edition, one of the adapted ailments is “having too high an opinion of your own child”; in the Indian edition, “public urination” and “cricket, obsession with” are included; the Italians introduced “impotence,” “fear of motorways,” and “desire to embalm”; and the German added “hating the world” and “hating parties.”
These ailments amuse me. Do the Dutch have too high an opinion of their children? Do Italian men struggle with impotence? Can a novel help? Anyway, it's all very interesting.

My bibliotherapy is working. Far From the Madding Crowd is a delightful and a welcome reprieve from the world. Both happily and sadly, I am almost finished. Next up, however, is a book that has long been on my reading list: Middlemarch. I daresay that the heft of that novel will ensure that I have its company at least two weeks before I must find something else to read.

I'm off to put myself into a "pleasurable trance-like state, similar to meditation, and... (to bring) the same health benefits of deep relaxation and inner calm."

No comments: