Can Reading Make You Happier? – The New Yorker

Bibliotherapy. It’s a thing.

Can Reading Make You Happier? – The New Yorker.

^^ A group of Cambridge-educated ladies will listen to your woes and anxieties and then recommend books you should read to work through those issues. They’ll also offer ideas for recharging or restarting your reading life.

This is made of win.

I don’t know how many “jobs” the bibliotherapy industry can generate, but I know a few people who really should make this their calling. They read widely, understand people well, and love to connect people to books.

A few quotes from the article which struck me, especially concerning the power of fiction to heal the soul:

The insights themselves are still nebulous, as learning gained through reading fiction often is—but therein lies its power. In a secular age, I suspect that reading fiction is one of the few remaining paths to transcendence, that elusive state in which the distance between the self and the universe shrinks. Reading fiction makes me lose all sense of self, but at the same time makes me feel most uniquely myself. 

Berthoud and Elderkin trace the method of bibliotherapy all the way back to the Ancient Greeks, “who inscribed above the entrance to a library in Thebes that this was a ‘healing place for the soul.’ ”

 “Fiction and poetry are doses, medicines,” the author Jeanette Winterson has written. “What they heal is the rupture reality makes on the imagination.”

 

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