"One sheds one's sickness in books." D. H. Lawrence
January 8, 2008 11:41 AM   Subscribe

posted by knave at 11:44 AM on January 8, 2008

Books that heal? It is at once too big an idea and too small an idea. I remember being put off psychoanalysis in college when we studied some therapist who defined human beings as nothing but "bundles of neurosis." I remember thinking that "bundles" was the wrong word or at least a misleading word. "Bundles" is too cozy; it's what your mom does when you are six years old and pushing you out the door. Yes, books can be great connectors of human beings; when a writer (or any other kind of artist) sits down to write and sends out his work he hopes to connect with other like minded souls. So, in a sense, books can supply a healing balm to wracked souls. But that is, again, to take the "bundles of neurosis" view of human nature. But there has to be more to books (I trust we are talking about art books, here, or literature) than that. What we really look for in books - or art - is not a balm but a miracle; an artists wants not only to connect or heal, if you will, but to astonish and delight...

As for the nueral stimulants of books...well, think about a writer like Iris Murdoch. Here was a woman with a mind in touch with everything; she read everything, knew everything and knew everybody but ultimately Alzheimers took her down (see John Bayley)...
posted by Dex Quire at 3:04 PM on January 8, 2008

Technically this is really about reading, I do find that some of my books can banish my vexations all by themselves.
posted by StickyCarpet at 5:10 PM on January 9, 2008

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