‘Bibliotherapists’ Offer Reading Prescriptions For Life’s Problems

A new service from The School of Life tailors book recommendations to your particular hardship.

Image credit nasone via Flickr

Responding to a letter from a painter struggling with inspiration, bibliotherapist Ella Berthoud writes:

Dear Unoriginal,

Ralph Waldo Emerson said,  “All my best thoughts were stolen by the ancients.” Your search for uniqueness is both impossible and undesirable. Let’s look at a few books that have inspired imitators, and compare the original to the spin-off.

In a mix of great literature meets self-help, author Alain de Botton and London’s The School of Life have partnered to offer personalized Bibliotherapy sessions. A well-read team that includes an artist, a novelist and an independent book store owner will meet with you (via phone, Skype or in-person) to determine  which works you most need to read at this moment.

Specializing in fiction, poetry and creative non-fiction, the £80.00, one hour assessment will leave you with a tailored ‘prescription’ for your particular situation.

The service recreates Big Data analysis in an analog equivalent, sifting through a mass of both well-known and more obscure titles to deliver the most appropriate ones for each ‘customer’s’ needs. Emerging social reading sites attempt to do the same thing, with Byliner helping you “Discover great reads by great writers,” Good Reads creating recommendations based on past titles you’ve enjoyed and Readmill letting you see what your friends have read. When it comes to something as intimate as personal advice though, Bibliotherapy’s ‘human search engine’ aspect may just prove the perfect interface.

 A prescription for unoriginality // Bibliotherapy

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