At this year’s Latitude festival our correspondent Calvin Barden was offered a seat in the back of a converted ambulance to receive a literary cure for his troubles. He reports back ….
Take Bibliotherapy to receive a Novel Cure, all dispensed from the back of an ambulance, used partly as a consulting room and partly as a scholars study. Nurse-librarian Ella Berthoud, co-author of The Novel Cure, first wants to know about your relationships with books: how do you read, when do you read, what do you like, what don’t you like and do you have any literary addictions?
Responses are noted and then comes the big question; “What is it that that ails thee?” I complained of a simple broken heart and nurse Ella nodded understandingly. Other common ailments she encounters range from anger to apathy. They are mostly matters of the heart and could be as simple as a request for a how to shake off a mild case of the blues.
Noting my symptoms, nurse Ella, surprisingly quickly and with serene confidence, wrote out my prescription in beautiful italics for one classic and one modern novel, to be taken in any order:
The Novel Cure
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
The Year of the Hare by Arto Paasillinna
Hopefully my blues will drift away after these novels have been read.
Watch this space and thank you nurse Ella.
The Novel Cure by Susan Elderkin and Ella Berthoud from Clare Alexander at Aitken Alexander