Daily Dispatches

Web Reads: Novel prescriptions


Books for what ails you. In the U.K., doctors who diagnose their patients with mild depression can prescribe particular “self help” books as part of the cure. Smithsonian.com says this kind of “bibliotherapy” isn’t new. A more literary type of bibliotherapy also exists. Ella Berthoud and Susan Elderkin have written The Novel Cure: an A to Z of Literary Remedies (Canongate Books, 2013) that contains an alphabetical listing of ailments, both physical and psychological, and novels suitable for dealing with them.

Groceries, illustrated. Michaelangelo had to eat, but he didn’t always do his own grocery shopping. How do you write a grocery list that your illiterate servants can read? Include illustrations.

Ulterior motives. Is coffee bad for children? Smithsonian.com traces the source of that now-debunked idea back to C.W. Post, founder of the cereal company and the grain-based coffee substitute, Postum.

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Making baking history. After last week’s item on the search for the perfect chocolate chip cookie, comes a New Yorker essay on the history of America’s favorite cookie, which celebrated its 75th anniversary.

Annual celebration in eight letters. The crossword puzzle recently celebrated its 100th birthday. Here’s the first puzzle, which appeared in Joseph Pulitzer’s New York World newspaper on Dec. 21, 1913.

Susan Olasky
Susan Olasky

Susan pens book reviews and other articles for WORLD as a senior writer and has authored eight historical novels for children. Susan and her husband Marvin live in Asheville, N.C. Follow Susan on Twitter @susanolasky.


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