Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Novel Cure

Not that it's a bad situation to find myself in, but I recently added several (double-sided) pages to my "To Read" list. I let myself wander around the library the other day instead of grabbing my pre-ordered books and getting out of there like I usually do. (The library is next to the grocery store. When I wander I generally have to go without groceries because I no longer have room to carry them.) What did I end up checking out? The mother of all "To Read" lists.

The Novel Cure, a collaborative effort by Ella Berthoud and Susan Elderkin, seeks to match ailment with appropriate book. The authors define "ailment" loosely: they include the usual suspects--common cold, broken heart, anxiety, all manner of fears--but also some strange ones, like "Itchy Feet," "Dictator, Being a," and "Tea, Unable to Find a Cup of." They also include "Reading Ailments" with their own prescribed cures--"Amnesia, reading associated" being cured by keeping a reading journal, for example. Several Ten-Best Lists show up at random, for the ailments that a selection of novels works better for (audiobooks, books for plane/train/hospital journeys, novels for hammocks, novels for bathrooms, novels for laughing, novels for get the idea).

Altogether, 751 novels show up somewhere as cures to potential ails. I found that I was familiar with quite a few, and have read a good number as well. As for the unfamiliar titles, the intriguing ones found themselves on my ever-growing list--regardless of whether or not I suffer from the ailment they are prescribed to.

The book doesn't list an explicit cure for having too many books to read--that's one problem we should all be grateful to have.

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