Bibliotherapy & Reading for Wellbeing: The Novel Cure by Susan Elderkin and Ella Berthoud

Bibliotherapy can heal all manner of feelings
Reading for wellbeing. Image from

As I was casually reading the School of Life blog yesterday, contemplating an idyllic reading retreat not far from here (which I’m sure would be ridiculously expensive), I came across a book to be published late 2013 which should be quite exciting. It’s to be published by Canongate, and is entitled The Novel Cure. You can probably guess what the contents entail, particularly if you’re reading my blog: yes, bibliotherapy. The authors, Susan Elderkin and Ella Berthoud, met whilst studying at Cambridge University, and began discussing the healing and reassuring power of literature. Over the following years they prescribed literature to friends and family, whilst Susan wrote novels and Ella worked as an artist.

Here’s what The Bookseller have to say about it:

It offers a range of “novel cures” for ailments including apathy, depression and having trouble finding the right man. Lord said: “The range of novel cures is wonderfully broad—from Nancy Mitford to Marian Keyes, from Tolstoy to le Carré—and promises to offer an entertaining and surprising new approach to thinking about your favourite books and discovering new gems.”

It’s probably obvious that I’m won over by the Tolstoy mention. I wonder how it will live up to the similarly themed Tolstoy and the Purple Chair by Nina Sankovitch, which I collected my thoughts on in this post.

I’ll keep you updated on any other news I hear about the publication and contents.


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It's good to meet you! I started Tolstoy Therapy back in 2012 to share my healing journey through anxiety and PTSD with books. I also climb mountains, go on solo adventures, and write over at

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