Bibliotherapy

bib·lio·ther·a·py

noun

def. The use of reading materials for help in solving personal problems or for psychiatric therapy

This might be the first time you’ve heard of bibliotherapy as a form of medical treatment, but I’m willing to bet that all of us recognize ourselves in the first part of that definition. We don’t read just for fun but also to help solve issues we’re struggling with.

Anxiety.

Depression.

A divorce.

Financial struggles.

Bullies at school.

We seek comfort in the words on the page.

Bibliotherapy, in every sense of the word, has everything to do with the human tendency to identify with others through literature. Simply put, we want to feel less alone.

We read to know we’re not alone – William Nicholson

We want to know that there are people who’re going through the same problems, have faced the same challenges, and have come out on top. And we’re certainly not the first generation to think so.

Thousands of years ago, the Egyptians believed in the power of reading. The oldest library motto in the world, written above the chamber where Ramses II lay and books were kept, read “the house of healing for the soul”. The Greeks believed it, too, and so did the Romans, and Shakespeare, and many other civilizations and individuals.  

And so do I. Whenever I feel frustrated or sad or angry, I pick up a book and escape to another world. For a while, I’ll dive into another world and in another person’s head. I see what they see, hear what they hear, feel what they feel. That, to me, is the key to any good book. I’m not a believer in all things fantastical, but a book that can make me forget where and who I am is pure magic.

The best feeling in the world is to finish a book, close it, and stare into the distance, not fully understanding the impact it has – or will have – on your life. And then, suddenly, you break out of your trance and want to (no: need to) share your experience.

You’ll tell your friends to read it. Your family. The mailman. The random stranger on the bus. Your dog. Anyone will do because you want everyone to experience what you’ve experienced.

But what if there’s no one willing to listen? What if you’ve never been good with putting your feelings into words? What if you’re too scared or no one understands?

Well, in that case, you can always turn to your trusty friend, the Internet. You could become a #bookstagrammer, becoming friends with fellow readers on Goodreads, join a forum, follow books blogs… 

Or create your own. And that is exactly what I’m doing right now. On this blog, My Paper Infinity, I’ll post book reviews, open up discussions with fellow bibliophiles from all over the world*, share my writing process, and more. It will be my way of sharing my reading experiences with all of you.

So, how about you? Do you like to lurk around book blogs, silently soaking up the content? Are you a bookstagrammer? Do you share your reviews on Goodreads?

In short, how do you share your passion for reading?

Love,

Lauren.

*I’ll also settle for local bibliophiles. Or anyone who’s willing to listen really.

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