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#MicroblogMondays 74: Bibliotherapists

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Mental Floss recently had an article about bibliotherapists.  They are support staff for therapists who recommend books with the understanding that a book can sometimes change your mood or help you see a situation in a new way or simply transport you somewhere else for a few hours.  Mental Floss explains,

Patients fill out a questionnaire about their reading habits and issues they might be having, and get a prescription for something that speaks to their specific set of circumstances.

I kind of love this idea, though I don’t know how I would feel about going to a bibliotherapist.  I love getting book recommendations, but I sort of balk at being told what to read.

What do you think?  Do you enjoy being told what to read?


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1. Deboshree 15. Wendy English 29. The Empty Cookie
2. Karen (River Run Dry) 16. Failing at Haiku 30. Good Families Do (Jenn)
3. Anks 17. * Our Wish* 31. Ryagas
4. Lori Lavender Luz 18. Jen B (Living with Baby Loss) 32. Middle Girl
5. Parul | Happiness & Food 19. Cristy 33. apluseffort
6. Loribeth (The Road Less Travelled) 20. Baby Blue Sunday 34. Kechara
7. Lori@ Laughing IS Conceivable 21. Traci York, Writer 35. Infertile Girl
8. Raven 22. Just Heather 36. Stacie
9. Isabelle 23. Virginia 37. Stephanie (Travelcraft Journal)
10. Inconceivable! 24. Amber 38. No Baby Ruth
11. Vaibhav | Thorough and Unkempt 25. Geochick 39. Mary Francis
12. Catwoman73 26. Mali (No Kidding)
13. Beat About the Book 27. Mali (A Separate Life)
14. Non Sequitur Chica 28. Jess


1 Deboshree { 01.25.16 at 6:32 am }

Wow, this sounds absolutely fabulous! Books are immensely therapeutic.
But I also agree with you – I am not too good either at taking book recommendations, especially by people in authority πŸ˜€

2 anks { 01.25.16 at 8:46 am }

I’d rather ask friends πŸ™‚

3 Lori Lavender Luz { 01.25.16 at 9:05 am }

Like you, I’d like to get an in-tune recommendation, but not an order to read something.

But what I get from your post is that I’d love to BE a bibliotherapist. But I’m also wondering how that’s different from being a librarian. Clicking over to Mental Floss…

4 Parul { 01.25.16 at 9:24 am }

That’s a very interesting idea. I like recommendations but at the same time I prefer reading what I like. So, I may listen yet make my own decision. Thanks for sharing! Never heard that before.

5 Ana { 01.25.16 at 9:49 am }

I think being told that something will be “perfect” for me really raises the expectations too high! I prefer the serendipity of stumbling across the right book at the time I need to read it. Its uncanny how often it seems to happen, though in reality, its me interpreting the book into what I need from it at that moment.

6 loribeth { 01.25.16 at 9:49 am }

I heard about this and thought it sounded fascinating. I’m intrigued by the idea of getting book recommendations that are tuned to my specific needs & interests. But yes, there’s a difference between recommendations & orders, lol. I tend to be a bit contrarian at times & balk when people tell me I MUST do this, or watch this TV show (witness my recent posts on Downton Abbey…!) or read this book. It reminds me of being back in school with a prescribed reading list. There were always one or two novels in each English courses that I would never get around to reading, or would start & never finish, partly because I ran out of time, partly because I found them impossible to plow through (James Joyce’s Ulysses, for one…!). And then I’d have to dance around any questions that might touch on those books on the final exam. πŸ˜‰ But every now & then, there would be a novel on the list that I might roll my eyes at having to read, but once I got into it, I’d find I quite liked it. I’m thinking of Middlemarch here, for one, and some of Dickens’s novels.

7 illustr8d { 01.25.16 at 9:57 am }

I love the idea. But I’m also weird. Books other people are wild about, I’m not. Some of the books that have saved my life, no one else likes. So I think I’d be a challenge.

That said, I do love this idea. In really bad times, there are books I read over and over, because they are comforts and encouragement or because the character is so damn close to me and what I’m dealing with. I’m very open to finding new books that do this, if, of 10 books suggested, only one fits the bill, it’s more than worth reading the other 9 to find that 1.

8 Vaibhav Gupta { 01.25.16 at 10:32 am }

Well you don’t HAVE to read what they say. It’s just like getting a recommendation from a friend, except that friend is well-read, a professional and won’t guide you wrong!

9 Katherine A { 01.25.16 at 10:33 am }

This actually sounds like a really cool idea. Like many others, I don’t know that I’d love being “ordered” to read a certain book, but there are times where a recommendation would be helpful and I’d value having a book specific to the situation I’m going through.

I think I’d also love a bibliotherapist who understood my situation and could maybe tell me to *avoid* certain books as well…

10 Catwoman73 { 01.25.16 at 11:13 am }

I actually do enjoy being told what to read. That’s why I love book clubs. It helps bust me out of the reading ruts I often get myself into- reading the same authors or the same subject matter all the time. I also like deadlines when it comes to reading- again, I’m very well-suited to book clubs for that reason. And I was a fabulous student- I never read anything of my choosing in school, but loved reading stuff that I normally wouldn’t have chosen on my own. A bibliotherapist would be fabulous- I love the idea. Someone to direct me to books suited to my own personal situation? Sounds like heaven.

11 nonsequiturchica { 01.25.16 at 11:31 am }

So are the books mainly self help books or books to help you deal with the reasons that you are going to therapy? Because I think in that case while it may be helpful for some people, I don’t go to therapy and if I feel like I would need a self-help book I guess I would rather determine that I have a problem and find it myself? Or look on Goodreads to check out the ratings for a particular book that I am looking at. πŸ™‚

12 Wendy English { 01.25.16 at 12:05 pm }

My post this week has my favorite quote and character from Downton Abbey. No spoilers included so check it out if you have interest. Happy Monday!

13 Beat About the Book { 01.25.16 at 12:46 pm }

That’s a fantastic idea. Books are very therapeutic.

14 Lavonne @ *Our Wish* { 01.25.16 at 1:16 pm }

I wouldn’t mind being told to read so much. It would just need to be audio book. I find that’s the only way I ever complete a book. When I read I can be pages in and realize I don’t remember what I read. I really enjoy listening to books though. I love it even more when it’s in the author’s voice because you can hear it how they intended it.

15 Cristy { 01.25.16 at 1:47 pm }

This is an interesting idea. That instead of having books recommended wholesale, the recommendations are tailored. Kinda like Stitch-fix for books. I like it in principle, but would want to try it out. I suspect that there would be some trial and error.

16 Traci York { 01.25.16 at 4:15 pm }

Hmmm, I can see how this could be helpful for therapists, but I’m not sure how it would work in a broader sense. I mean, yes, it’s essentially just like any book recommendation, but there’s something clinical about it that bugs me. Can’t quite put my finger on it, but I’m not sure I’d ever want to make use of a book doctor. Food for thought, though – thanks for pointing it out, Mel.

17 JustHeather { 01.25.16 at 4:29 pm }

Isn’t that the idea of a book club? “Being told what to read”? Anyway, I think it would be fun to see what they recommend.

18 Mali { 01.25.16 at 6:43 pm }

This made me laugh a little, and remember my friend giving me a book when I was in hospital for my second ectopic. She had loved the book, but had forgotten that the first few chapters of the book involved a man raving about how wonderful it was to be a father, and how he was a better person now than before, and then there was a miscarriage. Surely a bibliotherapist would be better than that.

I like recommendations too, but reading is very much a mood thing for me. I can start a book at a particular time and not be able to get through it, but a few weeks/months later, I can gobble it up. Our book club is deliberately flexible – when it is our turn to host, we buy a few books to put in the pool. We each read them at our leisure. If we’re depressed, we’re told to stay away from certain books. If we’re on holiday, we’re recommended particular books for aeroplane reading, or beach/poolside reading. So we get the recommendations, but not the compulsion to read at a particular time. If the bibliotherapist was like that, then I’d be interested.

19 Jess { 01.25.16 at 7:10 pm }

I don’t like being told what I MUST read, but I do love a good book recommendation. I like my book club because I HAVE to read the book, and it’s not always something I would have picked out for myself or sometimes even something I enjoy, but it makes discussion very interesting. And we actually do discuss the book! I have a list of books I want to read from various reviews or friend recommendations, but nothing that I was told I absolutely had to read for my well-being. (I do have a couple books that I had been told to stay away from for a while due to subplots, but now could probably read, maybe…)

20 Ryan { 01.25.16 at 10:27 pm }

I was unaware there were bibliotherapies. Interesting. I do like recommendations from friends though.

21 Middle Girl { 01.25.16 at 11:30 pm }

A grand idea and probably very effective. While I do seek (and take suggestions) for reading material, I prickle at the idea of being told what to read (see or hear, too). I don’t think I’d feel less prickly if it were a therpeutic.

22 Middle Girl { 01.25.16 at 11:33 pm }


23 apluseffort { 01.25.16 at 11:50 pm }

I would definitely rather BE the bibioltherapist than see one!

24 StacieT { 01.26.16 at 1:15 am }

Hm. I’m not sure I’d like this. It feels to homework-ish. πŸ™

25 Amber { 01.26.16 at 1:37 am }

I find it fascinating that people actually do this for a living! From the bibliotherapist perspective, what an interesting job!

26 No Baby Ruth { 01.26.16 at 4:43 am }

I love this idea!! I love reading but am definitely impacted by my mood. Sometimes I pick up a book I adore and have read over and over and simply cannot get into it because of my current mood. So expanding that to find new books is a really interesting concept.

27 Stephanie (Travelcraft Journal) { 01.26.16 at 7:06 am }

Doesn’t seem too different from a regular therapist recommending a book, right? But if that particular specialty can help more people, I’m all for it.

28 Wendy { 01.26.16 at 7:47 am }

Excuse my clicking around and posting … just getting the MM thing figured out. To comment on Mel’s post I love the idea of a bibliotherapist. I think I tend to read some of the same books over and over because they speak to me. Finding books that do is not easy, that’s for sure! Currently listening to a lot of non-fiction on my commutes because it reminds me of blog reading πŸ™‚ Just started Julie and Julia.

29 Stephanie (Travelcraft Journal) { 01.27.16 at 1:45 am }

Love Julie and Julia!

30 md { 01.26.16 at 11:09 pm }

very intriguing idea. the novel ‘the little paris bookshop’ first introduced me to this idea, with the protagonist calling his bookshop a ‘literary apothecary’, and him selling books to customers to soothe their souls! i loved it. and the idea that books can do that, which of course they can!

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