Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: Book Riot

A Few Bookish Videos

I was, as often happens on the Internet, “guided” to a particular post. Bookish Videos

It happened to be on Book Riot.

I’ll quote a bit from their About Page:

“Book Riot is dedicated to the idea that writing about books and reading should be just as diverse as books and readers are. So sometimes we are serious and sometimes silly. Some of our writers are pros. Many of them aren’t.”

The major topics on their Home Page are Listen, Read, and Watch.

And, something I found interesting for a bookish site—an offer to sign up as an Insider, with the top category “sold out”…

But back to those videos, which are in their post, The Best Bookish Ted Talks from 2017.

There are 8 videos there and I’ll share two here.

One with Anne Lamott and one with Elif Shafak (though, I should mention there are three more videos with Ms Shafak in these posts).

You might find that YouTube has put a short ad at the beginning of the videos—you should be able to “Skip Ad” a short way in—in the lower right corner…)

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Can Fiction Really Be Good for What Ails You?

My Best Friend sent me a link to a fascinating article on a fascinating site…


Image Courtesy of Adam Ciesielski ~

First the site—Book Riot:

*We create.
* We always prefer the book to the movie.
* We riot as a team.
*We geek out on books, embarrassingly so.
*We’re leaders.
*We practice charity—we give two percent of gross revenue…to organizations whose efforts promote social justice in the areas of literacy, health, gender or educational equity.
*We miss our subway stop cause the book is that good.
*We are non-traditional.
*We believe in family (bookshelves and cats count).

And, the article—I Went to a Bibliotherapist and This Is What Happened.

A few excerpts:

“From Stephen Fry’s thoughts on literature and living with bipolar disorder to “fixing your life” with Virginia Woolf, people are seeing the tangible personal benefits of reading.”

It’s about time :-)

“You wouldn’t have a hard time convincing an avid reader that books are tools for life (not just escapist entertainment or exercises in abstract thought). However, there remains some speculation as to what bibliotherapy actually is.”

My New Oxford American Dictionary says “the use of books as therapy in the treatment of mental or psychological disorders” but do go read what the article says, since different folks apparently think differently about it

“One of the great things about bibliotherapy is its openness. The basic principle – that reading books helps you to ‘read’ your life, and so allows you to better understand it and to live it more fully – can be brought to many situations. But one of the downsides to this openness is that the practice is not highly standardized. You don’t really know what you’re in for if you consult a bibliotherapist.”

The author goes on to relate her experience with a bibliotherapist at La Bibliothèque Apothicaire, which is fascinating; but; I got to wondering how to apply whatever principles there are in Bibliotherapy to and by myself

So, anyway, the author reveals her issue to the bibliotherapist—“Well, I am finding motherhood un peu difficile.” (my poor translation—“a bit difficult”) and the bibliotherapist immediately starts reading to her from Women Who Run with the Wolves : Contacting the Power of the Wild Woman.

By the way, I Totally recommend that book—especially for men

Potent excerpt from the article:

“Most of us don’t realize that it has been decades since we’ve been read to. Unless you regularly hear sermons on a Sunday morning, you can go the entirety of your adolescent and adult life without anyone reading you a story, which is actually a terrible shame because it is lovely.”


“So as a follow-up exercise, I was asked to close my eyes and imagine a mother holding her infant….she got me to tell a story by asking questions: What are the they doing? Is there someone else in the room? What kind of furniture is there?”


“Here’s what I found so unique about Katy’s approach. I heard a story, and then I told a story, and then we talked about how the two stories were related, and not once did I have to talk about my feelings. Not once. At times it felt less like a therapy session and more like a discussion from my undergrad lit courses….Yet those seemingly disconnected fictional characters can tell you so much about your experience of the nonfictional world.”

So, I do hope you’ll go read the whole article—really, truly worth it—but, for those who don’t have time, here’s the clincher:

“When I say I didn’t have to talk about my feelings, that doesn’t mean that the experience lacked emotional depth. Actually, it was quite moving. But that’s the thing about reading. Fiction has the benefit of allowing you to momentarily bypass the overwhelming burden of the self. It’s not about you. And yet it is. Bibliotherapy rests on the principle that the story will always be what you bring to it.”

At that point my wondering about the principles and techniques of bibliotherapy came clear—I’ve been doing it by myself for most of my life

Finally, I’m compelled to guide you to the About Page of the site of the article’s author, Bronwyn Averett, who is a Book Doctor
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What Are Your Favorite Book (Reading) Lists?

I usually have questions for my readers at the end of a post but I’ll start with some today from a previous post, The Best Books? ~ Whose Opinion Do You Trust?

“I guess the point to be made is that your list isn’t my list—or—The New York Times might not be your best guide—or—carry a handful of salt while you search

“What are your favorite ways to pick the books you read?

“Have any particular lists to recommend?

“Do you think publisher lists are better than reader lists?

“And, what really does make a book worth recommending??”

So, first, let me recommend a site, then the site can recommend some reading lists:


From The Site:

“Book Riot is dedicated to the idea that writing about books and reading should be just as diverse as books and readers are.”

the only thing we like as much as books is talking about books with other readers.”

“Book Riot is a for profit venture that practices charity. We give two percent of gross revenue (no funny math, just 0.02 times revenue) to organizations whose efforts promote social justice in the areas of literacy, health, gender or educational equity….

Our Beliefs

  1. We create.
  2. We always prefer the book to the movie.
  3. We riot as a team.
  4. We geek out on books, embarrassingly so.
  5. We’re leaders.
  6. We practice charity.
  7. We miss our subway stop cause the book is that good.
  8. We are non-traditional.
  9. We believe in family (bookshelves and cats count).

Now the lists from their article The 10 Best Top 100 Book Lists (The article also has very nice descriptions for each of the lists):

10.  TIME’s List of of the 100 Best Novels

9. Book Riot’s 100 Greatest Novels 1893-1993

8. The Guardian’s Top 100 Bestselling Books of All Time (in the UK)

7. The Entertainment Weekly 100 Greatest Novels EverThis list appeared in the July 5/12, 2013 print issue of the magazine — and therefore, sadly, is not available online.

6. The 100 Most Influential Books of All Time

5. The 100 Favorite Novels of Librarians

4. 100 Major Works of Modern Creative Nonfiction

3. The Modern Library Best 100 Novels of the 20th Century

2. Goodreads Top 100 Literary Novels Of All Time

1. Top 100 Works In World Literature

There ya have it!

Do go check out the original article—the descriptions are often quite fun

Oh!  Now would be a good time to answer one of those questions from the beginning of the post :-)
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