A book lover wouldn’t mind if the doctor’s prescription were a book or a poem. The Times ‘Match Book’ and Lit Hub’s ‘Dear Therapist’ specialize in sending out book recommendations that cater to specific emotions. The advice could be off the mark and even floaty. It may not be convincing enough but it could whet the reader’s desire to “burst like a star” as Rilke promises with a poem. Read The Advice Columnists Who Prescribe Literature as Medicine by Katy Waldman.
Books act like medicines and sometimes are a sanctuary. In Seeking Sanctuary in Books, Miranda Bryant talks about how she used books and the environment they created as a crutch to navigate New York and her home in London. She observes how reading US authors, particularly, writers from New York, helped her to gel with the Manhattan way.
“But I was taught one of my biggest lessons about the differences between British and American culture at Housing Works, a Manhattan bookshop, during a creative writing class. When, after the first task, the teacher asked whether anyone wanted to read out their work, I expected a drawn-out silence, awkward shifting around in seats and a second or third call for volunteers. I sat looking down waiting for the anticipated charade to follow. Maybe I’ll volunteer later, I thought. But almost instantly, up shot about ten hands from around the large coffee table, belonging to an array of ages, waiting to seize their long-awaited moment. Quick, there’s no time to waste! The next workshop I attended, this time at WORD, a bookshop in Brooklyn, I took the hint: speak up. I realised that feeling at home is not just about taking up space, it’s also about making noise.”