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The Novel Cure

The Novel Cure: An A–Z of Literary Remedies

Ella Berthoud and Susan Elderkin

row of medicine bottles

Sick? Tired? Lost your job? Take one dose of literature and repeat until better.

The Novel Cure is an A-Z of literary remedies that offers a cure in the form of a novel for all kinds of ailments of the mind and body, and life’s general ups and downs. Whether you have stomach flu, low self esteem or are just stuck in a rut, this book will recommend a novel to help ease your pain. 

This is a medical handbook—with a difference. Austen for arrogance, Brontë for a broken heart, Pynchon for paranoia or Tolstoy for toothache: the remedy for your malady is at your fingertips.

Featuring old and modern classics, unheard-of gems, novels for all tastes and ages, The Novel Cure is a warm and passionate, witty and wonderful way to expand your reading list (and cure what ails you), and the perfect gift for all bibliophiles. 

Learn more about bibliotherapy and submit your own ailment for treatment at The Novel Cure website.

Media highlights
Ceridwen Dovey, New Yorker
ABC Radio National Life Matters
Sydney Morning Herald
BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour
Gavin Francis, John Crace and the Guardian A-Z selection

Ella and Susan dispensing bibliotherapy wisdom from a vintage ambulance at the Latitude Festival, UK.

Ella and Susan dispensing bibliotherapy wisdom from a vintage ambulance at the Latitude Festival, UK.

About the Authors

Ella Berthoud and Susan Elderkin have been best friends since university, where they began prescribing books for one another. Ella went on to study fine art, and became a painter and art teacher. Together, they now hold sell-out bibliotherapy sessions and retreats in the UK and have a regular slot with The School of Life.

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Susan Elderkin was listed by Granta as one of the 20 Best of Young British Novelists in 2003. She is also a travel writer, journalist and reviewer. Together, with Ella Berthoud, she holds sell-out bibliotherapy sessions and retreats in the UK and has a regular slot with The School of Life.

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Text publication date:
21 August 2013
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Praise for Ella Berthoud and Susan Elderkin
andThe Novel Cure

‘I loved this book within moments of dipping in and know I shall be returning to it for a long time to come. It’s a wonderful reminder of the restorative power of fiction and ideal for anyone who has ever wondered what on earth to read next.’

‘Witty and wise, The Novel Cure is essential for anyone who needs to lie down and recuperate with a good book.’

‘The smart self-help money is not on Dukan or Atkins or Gina Ford but on Tolstoy, Hemingway and Austen…Even if these authors can’t cure you, they can comfort you.’

‘A delightful reference guide…[Berthoud and Elderkin] tackle serious and not-so-serious ailments with equal verve…elegant prose and discussions that span the history of 2,000 years of literature will surely make readers seek out these books.’

‘Anyone who has ever sought solace in a book will appreciate the concept behind this “medical handbook with a difference”.’

‘I’ll offer my own ailment and cure: Reading slump, being in a: Read The Novel Cure.’

‘It doesn’t matter how obscure your physical or emotional ailment, you will cure in this A-Z of literary remedies. It offers more hope than medical nanotechnology with no side effects. Verdict: panacea.’

‘Whimsical and erudite…The Novel Cure remains serious without taking itself too seriously, gives advice without preaching, and advocates, with warmth and humour, the importance of literature as a therapeutic medium.’

‘This delightful book takes a…light-hearted approach to bibliotherapy…The book lists a splendid catalogue of ailments for which reading a book or two is the cure – of course I loved it!’

‘It can be easy to get stuck in a rut when it comes to literary fare. This book is guaranteed to get you spreading your wings.’

‘Eclectic and infectious, The Novel Cure is one of the most revealing and bracing books about books to come along in some time.’

‘Ingenious and unapologetically literary.’

‘An exuberant pageant of literary fiction and a celebration of the possibilities of the novel.’

‘Their suggestions are guaranteed to provide emotional restoration through the magic of prose.’

Other editions ofThe Novel Cure
  • The Novel Cure
    ISBN: 9781921961533
    21 August 2013
    Buy ebook