January 5, 2014

(Book Review) The Novel Cure: From Abandonment to Zestlessness: 751 Books to Cure What Ails You


Any bibliophile would rejoice upon discovering a copy of The Novel Cure. This delightfully unusual self-help book prescribes cures for common ailments including Breaking Up, Being a Coward, Internet Addiction, Not Taking Enough Risks, Being Seventysomething and Tonsillitis. But the briskly practical (and sometimes quite funny) advice from Ella Berthoud and Susan Elderkin is only a prelude to their "prescriptions" of novels to help the reader feel better about his or her dilemma.

For each recommendation, Berthoud and Elderkin share a brief synopsis of the novel in question,explaining why it relates to the ailment at hand. Some ailments, like Fear of Commitment, elicit only one suggestion (José Saramago's Blindness), while Not Enough Orgasms merits 16 recommendations, ranging from Flowers in the Attic to Fingersmith.

Vanity Fair is prescribed as a cure for Social Climbing, the audiobook version of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance to help with Road Rage. A very few ailments, such as Reading-Induced Loneliness, don't prompt specific novel recommendations, but rather suggestions for how to alter one's reading habits (read in company!).

Berthoud and Elderkin have created a book that can be savored in snippets or devoured in a sitting. Full of hundreds of great recommendations, The Novel Cure is a welcome answer to the perennial question: "What should I read next?"

The Novel Cure: From Abandonment to Zestlessness: 751 Books to Cure What Ails You was so fun - and is perfect for any of you who resolved to read more in 2014. First of all you'll love reading this, and then all the books mentioned in its pages will make you eager to read more!

Rating: 5 out of 5
Should I recommend this to my grandma? Sure! Although she might want to skip an entry here or there... (especially if she's insulted about Being Seventysomething being an "ailment"!)

What books do you recommend the most often?

I originally wrote this review for the always awesome Shelf Awareness. And the links are affiliate links, thanks for supporting Quirky Bookworm!