The Novel Cure: How books can soothe what ails you

Reading can be a safe harbour and a good self-care remedy in these anxious times.

With lockdowns, case numbers and ongoing anxiety about the effects of COVID, we’re all suffering from various symptoms of malaise but instead of tuning into the daily press conferences and doomscrolling, you may consider picking up a book instead to engage in some bibliotherapy. It’s the ancient practice of reading for therapeutic effect.

ArtsHub spoke to three bibliotherapists about their work and asked them for a couple of recommendations to smooth the rough edges of life.

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Thuy On is Reviews Editor of ArtsHub and an arts journalist, critic and poet who’s written for a range of publications including The Guardian, The Saturday Paper, Sydney Review of Books, The Australian, The Age/SMH and Australian Book Review. She's the outgoing books editor of The Big issue. Her first book, a collection of poetry called Turbulence, came out in 2020 and was published by University of Western Australia Press. Her next collection, Decadence, will be published in July 2022. Twitter: @thuy_on