Reading pushes the pain away into a place where it no longer seems important. No matter how ill you are, there's a world inside books which you can enter and explore, and where you focus on something other than your own problems. You get to talk about things that people usually skate over, like ageing or death, and that kind of conversation - with everyone chipping in, so you feel part of something - can be enormously helpful.Blake Morrison in today's Guardian writes about the therapeutic power of literature and investigates a new kind of book club, designed to heal illness both physical and mental. (The quote above is from a patient, as you probably guessed.)
Jane Davis's Get into Reading initiative runs more than 50 projects across Merseyside, Liverpool and has taken reading to:
... groups in care homes, day centres, neurological rehab units, acute psychiatric wards, cottage hospitals, sheltered accommodation and libraries; groups for people with learning disabilities, Alzheimer's, motor-neurone disease, mental health problems; groups for prisoners, excluded teenagers, looked-after children, recovering drug-addicts, nurses and carers ...with some truly remarkable results.
You can read more about the project on the organization's website and in their report here.