Once in awhile a book comes along that’s impractical to read cover-to-cover over the course of a few sittings but serves as the perfect reference guide.
The Novel Cure is like those medical dictionaries mum used to have before WebMD came along. It’s a lovingly compiled reference guide of maladies – and the perfect novels with which to cure them.
I was lucky enough to meet the incredibly well-read co-author Ella Berthoud at Canongate’s 40th birthday party last week (which was a blast – see #theotherside.). She brought the Novel Cure Surgery to the party (literally!) and provided prescriptions in person.
I requested a book to get over my Great Expectations hump, for which she made 2 stellar suggestions in the form of Mister Pip by Lloyd James and Jack Maggs by Peter Carey. She also recommended Half Asleep in Frog Pyjamas by Tom Robbins for a bout of job anxiety.
The book has also come in incredibly handy already. It’s been of great practical use for getting over my common cold this weekend, diagnosing and prescribing a friend’s man flu, and good comic relief for a mild but potentially chronic case of “married, being”.
The authors’ suggestions range from the irreverent to the downright literary, providing useful, funny, and interesting suggestions to any issues which may ail you. Although I suffer a chronic case of out-of-control to-read pile, it’s a brilliant book to have around – and it’d make a fantastic stocking-stuffer.
If you want to give it a go for yourself, you can visit the surgery online via The Novel Cure website. You can also follow them on Twitter @TheNovelCure.
The Novel Cure is published by Canongate in the UK and Penguin in the USA. You can buy it on The Book Despository here (UK) or here (US).