A few weeks ago, I heard a BBC programme-thing (I don’t know if it was broadcast on ‘normal’ radio, or if it was a podcast for iPlayer) relating to Mental Health Awareness Week. It was about Bibliotherapy, a form of therapy which uses books, particularly fiction, to help deal with and understand Life, and the upheavals of Life.
Books are, in any case, my friends, and my go-to in times of stress – I dislike the Real World enough as it is, but I have never before thought of seeking out stories which deal with similar sorts of situations to those I find myself in. I can see how it would work though; reading about another’s experience, however fictional, might enable you to come out of your own mind, and see another perspective.
I went a-hunting online, and bought The Novel Cure: An A-Z of Literary Remedies by Ella Berthoud and Susan Elderkin. This wasn’t mentioned on the programme, but it looked interesting. I haven’t yet tried any of the cures (so far, none of the ailments apply), but, if nothing else, I now have a fairly substantial list of recommendations, plus summaries, of books to add to my To Be Read pile.
Just prior to all this, I read Howards End is on the Landing, by Susan Hill, which managed to undo all the damage caused by tales of stupid interpretations of literature, and made me want to study books again. To read, write about and discuss books, any books.
Never mind the yellow-brick road, the path to Happiness is paved with pages.