Life lessons from Sylvia

SylviaPlath

What I grasp as piece of advice from Sylvia Plath, the American poet who repeatedly courted death. According to Aristotle: “There was never a genius without a tincture of madness”. Sylvia was a prominent artist but became widely known because of her dramatic suicide. A failed marriage with Ted Hughes and an absent relationship with her father were her major wounds, which she mourned for at her poetry. Still, she managed to impose herself in a male-dominated society and  highlight the female writing voice. Even though Sylvia has concerned psychologists due to her depressive frame of mind, some of her words are worth remembering while on the skids. Continue reading

“In the beginning was nothing…”

Métaphysique des Tubes

 

 

« Métaphysique des tubes » (“The Character of Rain” in english) is a short novel by Amélie Nothomb about her 3 first years of life. The story takes place in Japan where Amélie’s father works as a consul. The Japanese believe that until the age of three children, whether Japanese or not, are gods, each one an okosama, or “lord child.” On their third birthday they fall from grace and join the rest of the human race.

 

You must think: her 3 first years of life? How could she even remember? To tell the truth, this novel is not quite what we would call a autobiography as she actually cannot remember this part of her life but she built her character, this representation of her at this age, according to her own personality: without a doubt, she is totally nuts, off-the-wall crazy. She has a surprising and funny narrative style and a great taste for words, weird metaphors and dry humour. This book shows the development of the child as a human being and the rise of ego and I would especially recommend it for people that are facing deep questions about personal development and self-consciousness.

 

Bibliotherapy Remedies: Books for Anxiety

4142Q845KTL._SY300_

When we’re facing jittery nerves, clammy palms and other symptoms of anxiety, some of us turn to reading. Why? Books involve the mind, distract us from our worries and can even calm us down.

Whether it’s a job interview, first date, exam or something more pressing that’s getting you down, why not see if a bit of bibliotherapy can help you out?

Continue reading

Welcome to the LitTherapy Blog!

Welcome!

Here on the LitTherapy blog we’ll post our best bibliotherapy recommendations for all sorts of problems, feelings and situations. Whether you’re suffering from anxiety, low mood, or you’re simply searching for a bit of meaning in your life, keep tuned!

If you’re a keen blogger, reader, writer or bibliotherapist, how does contributing to this blog sound? Email lucy@tolstoytherapy.com and your name could be listed on the blog next!

Happy reading,

The LitTherapy Team

The most valuable skill you’ll need: Resilience

woman with balloons
We know for a fact that life from time to time is going to be hard and difficult. Since failure and pain are inevitable experiences, I firmly believe that the number one skill a person should invest on is resilience, meaning the ability to bounce back from difficulties. Resilience is a component of emotional intelligence and contributes to both personal and professional development. No matter how smart and capable you are under normal conditions, the conditions won’t always be normal, so resilience will help you adapt. Especially nowadays in our competitive and fast paced world those who can’t respond to challenges will be stagnant. Continue reading

8 Best Books on Spirituality

You know this state of mind when the New Year approaches and you find your thoughts wandering around existential inquiries such as who I am, where I am heading to or if I am mindful enough? I’ve got that, too. At times like this I tend to turn my energy inwards and reflect upon self improvement, but hopefully there have been books on my way that captivated me both with their narrative and their insights on spirituality. All of them, even though they represent diverse approaches, have influenced my mindset and led me to inspiring revelations about myself and the world around me.


Continue reading

“Paren el mundo, que me quiero bajar!”

Like Elizabeth, our Graphic Novel Librarian, as a child, reading comic books was one of my favourite hobbies (read Elizabeth’s posts here, and here). I used to have a complete collection (still have it) and, each time I received a new one, used to instantly devour it. I really enjoyed diving and sharing my favourite characters’ lives and adventures. They were always kids like me who taught me great lessons of strenght and courage.

As I grew up and started to learn Spanish at school, I met this little girl:

Mafalda 1

Mafalda is a comic strip that was written and drawn between 1964 and 1973 by the Argentine cartoonist Quino. The main character, Mafalda, is a 6-year-old girl who reflects the Argentinian middle class and progressive youth and, with her characteristic restless mind and irony, is always concerned by the future of humanity and peace and expresses her point of view in a very innocent though poignant way. Mafalda’s content is usually close to reality and still as relevant and sharp as when it was created. As an idealist and utopian, she would like to study languages and work in the United Nations to contribute to world peace (and she kind of achieved it as the comic was translated in more than 30 languages and has already inspired several generations around the world).

Mafalda 2

 

Mafalda, her family and friends (and even her turtle pet that is called Bureaucracy because it moves in slow motion) deal at their own scale with some of the world’s problems like greed, ambition, repression, and poverty, but with a light-hearted twist that will keep you thinking. And for the experience to be complete, here is is where you can meet Mafalda almost in person:

 

Mafalda 3

Paseo de la historieta, San Telmo, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Irvin D. Yalom: An Introduction

Yalom

I was profoundly excited to find out that there is a new movie coming soon about Irvin Yalom. On the occasion of Sabine Gisiger’s movie “Yalom’s Cure”, I would like to share with you some tidbits about one of the most influential personalities in psychotherapy. Irvin Yalom is a man of many qualities: an American psychiatrist, an emeritus professor of psychiatry at Stanford University and a bestselling author of numerous fiction but also non fiction books.

What I appreciate about him and makes me devour his books is that many of them are categorised as “psychology novels”. In other words, he writes fiction combined with psychology and frequently philosophy. “I’ve often found fictional characters to be more real than historical characters”, he states. His writings are approachable, with minimun techical vocabulary or jargon words,humorous at times, thus making even difficult psychology concepts understood by almost everyone. Continue reading