Prescribing Books


I read a fascinating article from the New Yorker a while back, but I couldn’t figure out quite what I wanted to say about it. NaBloPoMo gives me the perfect opportunity to go back and share this find with you. You can check out the article here.

My first reaction to the title of the article “Can Reading Make You Happier?” was, duh, of course it can! Why else would I spend so much time reading? But once you read the article, you’ll realize that the title is rather misleading. The article discusses a lesser known form of therapy called bibliotherapy.

According to the article, “Bibliotherapy is a very broad term for the ancient practice of encouraging reading for therapeutic effect.” The practice of using books to cure ails has been around for centuries, but the term bibliotherapy seems to have been coined in 1916. Today, bibliotherapists can recommend books for ailments like “being stuck in a rut in your career, feeling depressed in your relationship, or suffering bereavement”…or “help adjusting to becoming a parent.”

A bibliotherapist sounds like an awesome job. I mean, recommending books to help people? Where was that career option ten years ago? I’m intrigued by this idea of using books to help people achieve happiness. I know books are just the sort of medicine I need.

What did you think of this article? Was bibliotherapy a new concept for you?


2 thoughts on “Prescribing Books

  1. Pingback: Reading and empathy | Rose Read

  2. I read this article awhile back and have thought about it from time to time. I would love to sit down with a bibliotherapist and see just what they would suggest. If nothing else, I’m sure I’d get a good reading list out of the experience!

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