The Novel Cure : An A-Z to literary remedies by Ella Berthoud
The Novel Cure is a medicine cabinet for the soul and a reminder of the power of books. To create this apothecary, the authors have trawled 2000 years of literature for novels that promote happiness, health, and sanity, written by brilliant minds who wrote their life lessons into their fiction.
Structured like a reference book, readers simply look up their ailment, be it constipation, agoraphobia, boredom, broken heart or a midlife crisis, and are given a novel to read as the antidote. Bibliotherapy does not discriminate between pains of the body and pains of the head (or heart).
You’ve been cowardly? Pick up To Kill a Mockingbird for an injection of courage.
Experiencing a sudden, acute fear of death? Read One Hundred Years of Solitude for some perspective on the larger cycle of life.
Whatever your condition, the prescription is simple: a novel (or two), to be read at regular intervals until you finish. Some treatments will lead to a complete cure. Others will simply offer solace. The Novel Cure is also peppered with useful lists and sidebars recommending the best novels to read when life throws you lemons.
The Novel Cure belongs on everyone’s bookshelf and in every medicine cabinet. It will make even the most well-read fiction aficionado pick up a novel he or she’s never heard of, and see familiar ones with new eyes. Mostly, it will reaffirm literature’s ability to distract and transport, to resonate and reassure, to change the way we see the world and our place in it.
Library Call Number: 011.BER
The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix
I know what you are thinking – vampire stories are not for me, but before you scroll on by and dismiss this book – wait ! I was firmly in your no-vampires-for-me in boat too – that is until I took a chance and read this quirky, clever book.
It was the cover and the unusual, catchy title that drew me in and it was the rave reviews that cemented it as my choice this month – and I was glad I did.
Described as when Fried Green Tomatoes and Steel Magnolias meet Dracula, this thriller, set in the 90s, is about a Charleston women’s book club that must protect its suburban community from a mysterious stranger who turns out to be a literal monster.
Patricia Campbell’s life has never felt more lonely. The days are long, her kids are ungrateful, her husband is too busy to kiss her goodbye in the mornings, and her to-do list is never really done. The one thing she has to look forward to is her book club, a group united by their love of true crime and paperback fiction. At these meetings they’re as likely to talk about the Manson family as they are marriage, motherhood, and neighbourhood gossip.
This predictable pattern is thrown in chaos when Patricia meets James Harris, a handsome stranger who moves into the neighborhood to take care of his elderly aunt and ends up joining the book club. James is sensitive and well-read, and he makes Patricia feel things she hasn’t felt in twenty years. But there’s something “NQR” about him. He doesn’t have a bank account, he doesn’t like going out during the day, and Patricia’s mother-in-law insists that she knew him when she was a young girl.
When local children go missing, Patricia and her bookclub members suspect James is the culprit but no one outside of the book club believes them. Have they read too many true crime books, or have they invited a real life monster into their homes?
Library Call Number: FAN F HEND
The Museum of Forgotten Memories by Astey Harris
Four years after her husband Richard’s death, Cate Morris is let go from her teaching job and unable to pay rent on the London flat she shares with her son, Leo. With nowhere else to turn, they pack up and venture to Richard’s ancestral Victorian museum in the small town of Crouch-on-Sea.
Despite growing pains and a grouchy caretaker, Cate begins to fall in love with the quirky taxidermy exhibits and sprawling grounds, and she makes it her mission to revive them. But threats from both inside and outside the museum derail her plans and send her spiraling into self-doubt.
As Cate becomes more invested in the museum, she must finally confront the reality of Richard’s death—and the role she played in it—in order to move forward.
Library Call Number: F HARR
The Rip Curl Story by Tim Baker
You don’t have to be a surfer to know the Aussie iconic brand, Rip Curl. The cult surf brand is synonymous with sand, surf, sun, Bells Beach and Torquay.
The Rip Curl Story is the remarkable tale of two young surfers – Doug ‘Claw’ Warbrick and Brian Singer – who pursued an audacious dream to make a living in pursuit of the ultimate ride.
The brand they built, Rip Curl, not only satisfied their own surf wanderlust, but also inspired countless others, riding the wave of the global youth revolution of the late ’60s.
Rip Curl’s mantra became ‘the Search’: the pursuit of new waves on distant shores, new thrills – skiing, snowboarding, windsurfing – and better equipment to elevate the experience. Along the way they supported the careers of many of the world’s great surfers – from Midget Farrelly to Michael Peterson, Tom Curren to Damien Hardman, Pam Burridge to Stephanie Gilmore, and of course Tyler Wright and Mick Fanning.
Surf writer Tim Baker tells this implausible story in an irresistible series of ripping yarns, offering rich life lessons, a maverick business primer and a wild ride of adventure, good times and outlandish ambitions spectacularly realised.
The Rip Curl Story will make you want to surf more, travel further, follow through on that great business idea and pursue your own Search.
Library Call Number BIO 338.7 BAK
The Central Park Five – by Sarah Burns
The case of the Central Park Five has been revisited with a new Netflix limited series called, When They See Us. If you haven’t seen it – you should and if you haven’t read the book – you must.
This book tells you all you need to know about one of the most infamous criminal cases in US history. A trial that, thirty years on, still bears a striking, and unsettling, resemblance to the current political climate in the era of President Trump.
In April 1989, a white woman who came to be known as the ‘Central Park jogger’ was brutally raped and severely beaten, her body left crumpled in a ravine. Amid the staggering torrent of media coverage and public outcry that ensued, exposing the deep-seated race and class divisions in New York City at the time, five teenagers were quickly apprehended – four black and one Hispanic. All five confessed, were tried and convicted as adults despite no evidence linking them to the victim.
Over a decade later, when DNA tests connected serial rapist Matias Reyes to the crime, the government, law enforcement, social institutions and media of New York were exposed as having undermined the individuals they were designed to protect.
In The Central Park Five, Sarah Burns, who has worked closely with the young men to uncover and document the truth, recounts the ins and outs of this historic case for the first time since their convictions were overturned, telling, at last, the full story of one of America’s most legendary miscarriages of justice.
Library Call number 364.15 BUR
The Strange Adventures of H – by Sarah Burton
Orphaned young, a girl only known by the letter, H is sent to live with her doting aunt in London. H’s life is a happy one until her lecherous cousin robs her of her innocence, and the plague takes away the city and the people she loves. H is cast out – friendless, pregnant and destitute – into the rapidly emptying streets of London under quarantine.
The detailed description of London during the plague is fascinating and at times, eerily like parts of the world we now face with the Covid pandemic.
Forced to fend for herself, she is determined to gain back the life she lost. H will face a villain out for revenge, find love in the most unexpected places, and overcome a betrayal that she never could have foreseen.
Will she survive or become one of the many who perished during the turbulent times of the 1600s?