DISCUSSION: The Healing Power of Books

I wasn’t planning on writing this post today. I had something completely different written down on my schedule but really felt like this was something that I wanted to post soon. 
Today, I’m going to be talking about how books can help people and my personal experiences with books. This is something completely new to me and I’m going to be honest. It’s quite a personal subject but I feel like it’s the right time to write about it.
This is something that I’ve wanted to write for a while. It ties in a little bit with the ‘sick lit’ article which I feel strongly about and I really hope this doesn’t sound like I’m blabbering on.

I believe that books can heal. Since losing my grandfather a year ago, I haven’t exactly been fine. In the months after his passing, I can remember drowning myself in a pile of books. I read day after day, not stopping at all. When I picked up that one book, I could forget all about what had happened and live in this book world, for however short a time. 
Because books are written about a range of different subjects, there will most certainly be one that you will be able to relate to. When I read The Fault in Our Stars back in December, I knew that this was my book. The way in which it deals with grief is completely unique and has helped me come to terms with my own bereavement. 
I also loved Undone by Cat Clarke. This was a novel that made me so emotional because it felt like parts of the book were written about me. The way Clarke describes Jem, the main character, feeling is a complete reflection of my own experiences and thoughts and it was a bit of a relief to know that someone actually got me. 
I’m not someone to just start jabbering on about my feelings so it isn’t easy for me to write this post. People are hurting and novels can change the way they think and help them deal with their own problems. By reading a book they can sift through their feelings and feel comfortable. Without reading I know I would be lost and through blogging I have met some wonderful people who have helped me, even if they don’t yet realise it. 
This is why I really don’t understand the term ‘sick lit’. think that people should be open to read about whatever they like. If we wrap teens up in cotton wool then once they open their eyes to real life then they’ll get a really big shock. We don’t live in a utopian society so I wish people would just admit that, actually, us humans have a lot of issues. We can’t hide suicide and self harm and death and all of the other things that ‘sick lit’ is supposed to be. I’d rather be aware of those things than it be hidden away from me. 
I know that last paragraph was a little deep and realise why some people may think I’m completely wrong but it is my personal opinion and it’s what I believe. 
Personally, if I wasn’t happy with a book I would put it down, and have done in the past. 
What are your views on this subject? Have books helped you in any way?

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  • Reply
    Gwynneth White
    26 February, 2013 at 5:42 am

    Brave post. And yes, I agree, books are healing. Most of us get lost in books because we can’t or don’t want to face our realities. There is no shame in that. Other people watch TV for the same reason. So enjoy the therapy! There is nothing like a good book.

  • Reply
    Jessica@Booked Up!
    26 February, 2013 at 7:25 am

    Oh Lucy, this is a really powerful post. I couldn’t agree with you more -books really can help a person when they need to escape from something horrible in reality. Some people don’t understand just how fantastic books can be, in many different ways.

    I’m very sorry for your loss. I have lost both my grandfathers and my step-grandfather, and each time has been awful. Like you, I found solace in reading. So thank you for posting this – everyone needs to understand that the whole ‘sick-lit’ dilemma is rubbish. We should be able to read what we want, and no one can take that away from me.

  • Reply
    Amber @ The Mile Long Bookshelf
    26 February, 2013 at 9:49 am

    Thank you for your amazing post. My Grandad passed away last year too, he had Cancer. A book that has helped me with that recently is Anthem for Jackson Dawes by Celia Bryce. I had no idea anyone else dealt with things like that the same way I have. I’m sorry for your loss.

    I’m really glad you posted this. As Jessica said above, people need to understand that the ‘sick-lit’ dilemma is rubbish!

    The Mile Long Bookshelf

  • Reply
    Rebekah Campbell
    26 February, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    It takes a lot of guts to post something so personal. I lost my grandad four years ago last Thursday and it still hurts as much as it did when he died but the way I dealt with it was through music. Even now there are songs I’ll listen to and burst out crying because it rings true.
    Reading really helped in school, especially the Chronicles of Narnia because I could forget about all the rubbish I had to put up with and sink into a battle with the Pevensies.
    Sick-Lit is a ridiculous label for an even more ridiculous argument. Books are there to highlight problems we WILL face in day to day life and they definitely help when you’re in the middle of something like that. Forewarned is forearmed and books like TFioS let people know they’re not alone.
    Big round of applause to you, Lucy for this fab post!

  • Reply
    Jess Hearts Books!
    26 February, 2013 at 6:14 pm

    Thank you for sharing this honest post Lucy! I think books can definitely heal, characters who are in the same situations as me make me feel less alone and also help come to terms with the situation.

  • Reply
    4 March, 2013 at 10:56 am

    What a lovely post. I’m really glad to hear that reading helped you get through your loss. It did the same for me a few years ago when my favourite aunt died. I was closer to her than to my own mother and her loss hit me incredibly hard. It’s very difficult for me to express strong emotions and I needed to be able to sort through my feelings in a safe way – and by reading someone else’s story and of their loss I was able to grieve for my aunt through books. And one book in particular just really brought out all the feelings that I wasn’t able to process.

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