“The Novel Cure” Reading Challenge

The Novel Cure

Books cure everything. Almost everything and perhaps more. They just keep going at it. They do not stop. With this in mind, Susan Elderkin and Ella Berthoud, who started Bibliotherapy, have now extended it to a book called, “The Novel Cure: From Abandonment to Zestlessness: 751 Books to Cure what Ails You” which is a bibliophile’s delight.

The novels recommended are for various ailments – from insomnia, for which The Book of Disquiet is suggested to Gluttony for which The Debt to Pleasure is recommended, most of which I have read, I want to reread and read the newer ones and most excited about it.

There are also lists which are funny and nice and since I love lists so much, I also but obviously adore the way the book is formatted.

I cannot wait to start the reading challenge I have set for myself, which will begin from the 1st of October.

Here is an excerpt from this awesome book:

Job, Losing Your

Bartleby, the Scrivener (Herman Melville)

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.

Herman Melville’s Bartleby is a scrivener, and when he first arrives for duty at the narrator’s law office, ‘pallidly neat’ and ‘pitiably respectable’. 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. When his employer asks him to check over his writing, Bartleby gives the response: ‘I would prefer not to.’ It soon becomes apparent that he will do nothing beyond the most basic elements of his job. If asked to do anything more, ‘I would prefer not to’ comes the inflexible reply. 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.

Children, under pressure to have

We Need to Talk about Kevin (Lionel Shriver)

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.

See also: Children, not having

Thirty-something, being

Cold turkey, going

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. These books are unafraid to heave you through withdrawal.

The Ten Best Novels for Going Cold Turkey

Journey to the End of the Night (Louis-Ferdinand Céline)

Stuck Rubber Baby (Howard Cruse)

The Neverending Story (Michael Ende)

Ask the Dust (John Fante)

Neverwhere (Neil Gaiman)

Oblomov (Ivan Goncharov)

Blood Meridian (Cormac McCarthy)

King Rat (China Miéville)

Nausea (Jean-Paul Sartre)

The Chrysalids (John Wyndham)


3 thoughts on ““The Novel Cure” Reading Challenge

  1. Pingback: Book Review: Plainsong by Kent Haruf | Of Books and Reading

  2. Ella Berthoud

    Vivek, we love it that you are reading the books from the Novel Cure from A to Z. And what an excellent review! Can’t wait to hear your thoughts on True History of the Kelly Gang…


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