Blog Hop- Bibliotherapy

Another meme, this time from the Blue Bookcase. And, my, my, my, two legit posts in one day. That's what happens when you're pleasantly bored on summer break and your husband plays videogames on Wednesday nights.

Literary Blog Hop

This addition's meme states: Discuss Bibliotherapy. Do you think literature can be a form of therapy? Is literary writing more or less therapeutic than nonfiction or pop lit?

Bibliotherapy is what has gotten me through, well, what has gotten me through life. My first inclination is to say its therapeutic qualities come from the fact that I can "get lost in another world" or "focus on a character's life instead my own," but for me personally that's a cliched bunch of BS. When I'm bothered by something it's extremely difficult for me to forget about the issue- no amount of Fyodor Dostoyevsky, David Mitchell, Michael Chabon or Jeffrey Eugenides is going to do that (sorry boys).

But what reading does in my times of need is distract and relax. I read for twenty, thirty, or two hundred and fifty minutes and I feel better. My nerves have been calmed, my head has been cleared, and I have renewed perspective that will let me better tackle whatever it is that is pissing me off or bringing me down.

For me, primarily literary writing and occasionally nonfiction writing is idea
l- reading "pop lit" would probably make me more miserable. Stephanie Myers is supposed to make me feel better? Sure, maybe I can transfer my anger to her for being successful for writing such crap, but it's not going to get me to my happy place. And Nicholas Sparks, James Patterson, and Michael Connolly (who is a very nice man, he spoke to one of my classes in college) lack any depth to stand a chance against my complicated, deep, very dramatic life problems. So, basically, no pop lit... ever (okay, I'm sure there are/will be exceptions, but as a general rule).

I do understand the draw, for some people, though. We all unwind in different ways and it's a matter of personal preference. I was in a monumentally foul mood yesterday and turned to Jason Bateman and Jennifer Aniston in The Switch, the movie equivalent to "pop-lit," for assistance. Hey, at least my best friend didn't replace my sperm donor's offerings with his own and I didn't start dating the man who isn't my kid's father after all. My life is cake.

Bibliotherapy is far better than a shrink. It's cheaper, makes house calls, and is available while bathing. Bibliotherapy is the best therapy.


  1. Distraction, distraction, exactly! And although I feel that Young Adult books have an excellent place in bibliotherapy, I agree that Twilight just doesn't meet the mark. Unless, of course, you're dating a sparkly vampire.

  2. I agree. Reading is great for providing that chance to think about something other than my funk for awhile. I can come back to it in a different frame of mind. But I don't say no popular books ever. Sometimes I'm in the mood for something deep. But occasionally I just want feel-good brain candy. Mostly though, I read historical fiction. That gives me real perspective on my problems. It has all been seen and done before.

  3. Love your response for its humor and spark, although it's about 180 from mine!
    I can't remember using books as that sort of calming tool in the last - say - 20 years, but I do recall burying myself in books as a teen, for exactly the reasons and in pretty much the same ways you describe. Sadly, it's not because I've gotten wiser or more adept at handling life's dizzying array of personal dramas, but rather that now I tend to turn to exercise and cooking and conversation as my calming diversions of choice. It's not that books don't offer me solace anymore - they do. It's just that they require a concentration that for me precludes processing of whatever issues I'm dealing with, so they merely stall the process rather than helping me resolve things.

  4. Interesting answer; I especially like how some fiction could help to channeled your anger in another direction. I agree with you that it is a good daily therapy for people, as in to maintain us to a level of sanity, but I still have my doubts for people who have actually touched the bottom. Yet, I guess it would be a first step to get them reading rather than being buried in bed with the duvet pulled over their heads.

  5. I couldn't agree more on those authors you mentioned (that I won't ;) )! Here's my response:

  6. I've definitely used books - and bad romantic comedies:)- in just the way you are talking about.

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