Five words from the blurb: advice, cure, ailments, books, world
The Novel Cure is a reference book that will delight every book lover. It claims that all of life’s problems can be cured by reading the appropriate book and prescribes a wide range of literature for everything from adultery and bad backs, to hunger and shyness. I’m not entirely convinced by all of their suggestions, but love the way it introduces the reader to many forgotten texts and exudes a passion for a wide variety of literature.
I admit that I haven’t read this book from cover to cover – the advice is so rich that it doesn’t make sense to do this. The joy is in looking up individual sections and discovering new reading ideas. I found myself adding to the wishlist on almost every page. I particularly liked the sound of Wolf Solent by John Cowper Paris, which is described as a cure for Internet addiction:
On a slightly negative note, some of the advice didn’t make sense to me. I have a fear of flying and it suggested reading Night Flight by Antoine Saint-Exupery. I haven’t read this book and so don’t know whether or not it ends well, but the last thing I need is more images of plane crashes running through my head when I get on a plane. Similarly recommending The Woman in the Dunes by Kobo Abe for agoraphobia and Blindness by José Saramago for fear of commitment made little sense to me, but both are amazing books so I’m happy people read them, whatever the reason.
I also loved the way it suggested books for every age group. I’ve only read one of the ten books recommended for thirty-somethings (Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides, which I loved), but I am interested in trying many of the others:
- The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte
- The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
- The Rector’s Daughter by FM Mayor
- The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
- All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren
- Miss Mackenzie by Anthony Trollope
- Of Human Bondage by W Somerset Maugham
- The Best of Everything by Rona Jaffe
- Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
- London Fields by Martin Amis
The writing style was light and chatty and I found the advice entertaining and easy to read, even when I had no interest in the ailment or the remedy suggested. I believe that the right book can help if read at the right point in time and I look forward to trying suggestions from this book for many years to come.
Should I give them the benefit of the doubt and see if Night Flight cures my fear of flying?
Have you read Wolf Solent?