The Novel Cure

23 Jul

Pick Me Up Blog - Novel Cure

I loved this idea at Latitude Festival this weekend – a bibliotherapy ambulance administering literary remedies for common ailments; the novel cure. Sign up for a consultation, share your ailment – stuck in a rut, heartbroken, stressed – and a book is suggested to help you on the road to recovery.

It got me thinking about which books have acted as a cure for me in the past. There are those which struck me in a particular way at a particular time, some so devastatingly sad that they trigger a ‘life’s not so bad after all’ reality check and then those so unashamedly uplifting that I turn to them again and again as pure escapism, a comfort blanket, a distraction.

The Talented Mr Ripley, Patricia Highsmith
A psychological thriller to get wrapped up in. Tom Ripley is cold and calculating, yet endearing, and you end up willing him to succeed as he ends up in predicament after predicament, swapping comically between identities in a bid to survive at all costs. The description of 1950’s Italy is delicious.

Bridget Jones’ Diary, Helen Fielding
A huge cliche, but I don’t think there are many women of my generation for whom Bridget isn’t some kind of icon (dare I say role model?). Returning to read this book is like catching up with an old friend for a good, ridiculous gossip.

The Secret History, Donna Tartt
I think the first time I read this was just before I went off to university. I really enjoyed it. Not sure what that says about my expectations of uni, but I’ve loved this book ever since.

Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh
Magically nostalgic, this is an epic story of dysfunction and demise. I wish I’d had a teddy bear called Aloysius.

One Day, David Nicholls
Whatever you do, don’t watch the film. Anne Hathaway very nearly spoiled my reading of this book forever. Oh, Dex and Em, Em and Dex. My faded copy has been read and re-read, passed around to a dozen or more people and somehow made it back to me. Best consumed in one sitting, in one day.

x Loulou

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