Thursday, July 21, 2011

Literary Blog Hop: July 21-24

Welcome to the Literary Blog Hop hosted by The Blue Bookcase!

This blog hop is open to blogs that primarily feature book reviews of literary fiction, classic literature, and general literary discussion.

How do I know if my blog qualifies as "literary"? Literature has many definitions, but for our purposes your blog qualifies as "literary" if it focuses primarily on texts with aesthetic merit. In other words, texts that show quality not only in narrative but also in the effect of their language and structure. YA literature may fit into this category, but if your blog focuses primarily on non-literary YA, fantasy, romance, paranormal romance, or chick lit, you may prefer to join the blog hop at Crazy-for-books that is open to book blogs of all kinds.

Instructions for entering the Literary Blog Hop:

1. Grab the code for the Button.

Literary Blog Hop

2. Answer the following prompt on your blog.
(Suggestions for future prompts? Email to them us at

Discuss Bibliotherapy. Do you believe literature can be a viable form of therapy? Is literary writing more or less therapeutic than pop lit or nonfiction?

Our answer comes from Christina:

Reading has always made me feel better. But until this last week, when a friend pointed me toward the Bibliotherapy wikipedia article, I didn't know books were used purposefully in therapy. Since then, I've been thinking a lot about how the right book at the right time can make a difference in a person's life.

With that first question, my immediate instinct is to answer that yes, of course, literature is absolutely a viable form of therapy. As a depressed teenager, Reviving Ophelia and Prozac Nation improved my outlook on life more than I ever could have expected. Other girls and women had experienced what I was experiencing, and reading their stories helped me realize that I didn't have to feel alienated or embarrassed or ashamed about what I was going through. In a lot of ways, those books were my first steps toward healing. I can imagine that there are a lot of other situations where a book might provide that first improvement: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Anxiety surrounding major life changes, maybe some mood and personality disorders.

The therapeutic setting is one of only a handful of situations where I don't think Literature Proper really has much on Pop Lit and informational nonfiction. I mean, if you're a book snob (like so many of us here at the Literary Blog Hop) obviously good writing is going to speak to you more than poor writing. But taking a more general view of the literate population of the world, it's the message and the story that will make a difference to someone who is hurting, not necessarily the literary devices or style of prose. If I were a counseling psychologist would I only recommend Literature to my clients? Nope, I'd recommend whatever they were likely to read and appreciate.

Is literature really going to solve everyone's problems? Probably not. And is it the only or best solution in most cases? Probably not. Is it going to cure psychosis? No. And the last thing I want to suggest is that depressed people just need to read more good books. It took years of antidepressants and counseling before I really came out of the dark (to use one of many horrible clich├ęs about depression) and every person's situation is different. But I love the idea of books as a part of therapy, and I wish I were better at recommending the right books to the friends who really need them. I wish I could change people's lives by recommending the right book. That's a beautiful thing.

3. Add your link to the Linky List below.Happy Hopping!
*PLEASE NOTE: if you do not answer the question and link back to The Blue Bookcase in a post on your blog, you will be removed from the Linky list.