While the world narrows and borders remain closed, a good novel can scratch that familiar itch to escape. But books can be much more than escape, too – they can be morally instructive, inspiring, and healing in times of anxiety and grief.
If you'd like a literary remedy for your ailments – even if it's the universal ailment of existing in a time of physical distancing – then cosy Bondi bookstore Gertrude and Alice has employed a professional to cater to your needs. Lucy Pearson of book blog, The Literary Edit, will be hosting online consultations in which she will consider your biblio-needs in the strange times we're living in. What will be your cure? A stirring memoir? A Russian classic for dark-humoured life lessons? A travelogue for wandering far and wide, while home?
When you book in for a bibliotherapy session, Lucy Pearson will analyse your reading needs and tastes via an online consultation or through a questionnaire, and send you two hand-selected books in the mail according to her divinations – as well as one of Gertrude and Alice’s sweet treats. You can try your hand at this unconventional mode of healing – and get two books – for $60. Lucy hosts the Bondi Literary Salon – a monthly ticketed event at Gertrude and Alice – and writes about everything from literary-themed travel to book reviews on her blog, so rest assured she's got the literary know-how for the job.
Jane Turner, founder of Gertrude and Alice, says that since lockdown came into effect in Sydney, the bookstore has "been inundated with reading requests from both regular customers and new readers, who are hoping to seek solace among the pages of a book in these uncertain times." Bibliotherapy might not solve all your problems – but slipping into someone else's life always gives a good dose of perspective. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to book in.
Need some more inspiration? Check out these jigsaw puzzles of famous Sydney paintings you can put together online.