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It offers more hope than medical nanotechnology with no side effects. Verdict: panacea. This book is guaranteed to get you spreading your wings. Losing your job can be a hideous blow, both to your pocket and your ego. The best way to deal with it is to try and see it as an opportunity—a chance to take a break from the daily toil, reconsider your options, and perhaps expand into new territories.

Rather than conclude that you were a bad fit for the job, decide that the job was a bad fit for you. If you're not convinced, consider all the occasions on which, in your job, you did not want to do the things you were asked to do. Like Bartleby. His employer thinks his sedate nature will have a calming influence on his other employees. And at first Bartleby does seem to be the model worker, industriously copying out letters in quadruplicate. But then he begins to rebel.

A due impasse develops in which his employer can't bring himself to fire the scrivener because he's so meek and seems to have no life whatsoever beyond his desk. And Bartleby will do only what he wants. Be inspired by Bartleby's act of resistance. To what degree did your job entail compromising over what you really wanted to do? Bartleby's rebellion saw him refusing to leave his desk at all.

You, however, now have a chance to move on, and find pastures new. If you are sick of justifying your childlessness; if you are happy with your life as it is and don't want to spoil things; if you think that the world is populated enough already; if you know that you'd make a useless parent; if you like your nights uninterrupted, and your cream sofa without fingerprints; then the next time someone asks you when they're going to hear the patter of tiny feet in your house, send them this novel for Christmas.

They won't ask you about it again. To combat the physical and emotional agony of weaning yourself off an addiction, you need books that hook, compel, and force you to search your weather-beaten soul. Full immersion is recommended; as is the option of aural administration. Will be shipped from US. Susan Elderkin and Ella Berthoud started giving novels to each other when they met as English students at Cambridge twenty-five years ago. A novelist, travel writer, writing teacher, and fiction reviewer for the Financial Times , Elderkin now lives in Connecticut with her husband and son.

Berthoud lives in Sussex with her husband and three girls and paints in a hut in her back garden.

They have run a bibliotherapy service out of The School of Life in London since , prescribing books to clients all around the world. It also includes common predicaments you might find yourself in, such as moving house, looking for Mr.

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Right, or having a midlife crisis. We are bibliotherapists, and the tools of our trade are books. Our apothecary contains Balzacian balms and Tolstoyan tourniquets, the salves of Saramago and the purges of Perec and Proust. To create it, we have trawled two thousand years of literature for the most brilliant minds and restorative reads, from Apuleius, second-century author of The Golden Ass , to the contemporary tonics of Ali Smith and Jonathan Franzen. Bibliotherapy has been popular in the form of the nonfiction self-help book for several decades now.

The Novel Cure by Susan Elderkin and Ella Berthoud – review

But lovers of literature have been using novels as salves—either consciously or subconsciously—for centuries. Our belief in the effectiveness of fiction as the purest and best form of bibliotherapy is based on our own experience with patients and bolstered by an avalanche of anecdotal evidence. Either way, novels have the power to transport you to another existence and see the world from a different point of view.

No one comes back from such a journey quite the same. Whatever your ailment, our prescriptions are simple: a novel or two , to be read at regular intervals. Some treatments will lead to a complete cure. Others will simply offer solace, showing you that you are not alone. All will offer the temporary relief of your symptoms due to the power of literature to distract and transport. Sometimes the remedy is best taken as an audiobook, or read aloud with a friend. As with all medicines, the full course of treatment should always be taken for best results. We wish you every delight in our fictional plasters and poultices.

You will be healthier, happier, and wiser for them. If inflicted early, the effects of physical or emotional abandonment—whether you were left by too busy parents to bring yourself up, told to take your tears and tantrums elsewhere, or off-loaded onto another set of parents completely see: Adoption —can be hard to shrug.

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As a first step to recovery, it is often helpful to realize that those who abandon you were most likely abandoned themselves. Their two young sons, Ike and Bobby, are left bewildered by her unexplained absence from their lives. Old Mrs.

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Stearns has been abandoned by her relatives, either through death or neglect. Gradually, and seemingly organically—although in fact it is mostly orchestrated by Maggie Jones, a young woman with a gift for communication—other people step into the breach. Then they peered into the palms of their thick callused hands spread out before them on the kitchen table and lastly they looked out the window toward the leafless and stunted elm trees. As we watch the community quicken to its role as extended family—frail Mrs.

Author John-Paul Flintoff: meet Bibliotherapist Ella Berthoud

Stearns teaching Ike and Bobby to make cookies, the McPherons watching over Victoria with all the tender, clumsy tenacity they normally reserve for their cows—we see how support can come from very surprising places. He makes something glorious of it. How can we not love this murdering bushranger with his big heart? And so the novel makes outlaws of its readers. Draw up your personal constitution, then live by it. If you step out of line, be the first to give yourself a reprimand. Then see: Guilt.

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