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I started this site just over a year ago, with the intention of it being an advice column for readers. I was so happy to get so many “Dear Book Dr.” letters and to be able to share them on the site. But as the year progressed, I felt that it wasn’t growing because I could only write when there were letters.

I hope to have more letters. Please, write in for book requests! caro[at]book-dr[dot]com.

But I have realized that this is about more for me than just reading advice. It’s about story, and all that means to me as well.

I have turned to books as trusted friends and advisers ever since I pulled my first all-nighter under the covers to finish Bridge to Terebithia when I was in elementary school. I was a lover of books before then, afterward I became obsessed. I have stayed obsessed ever since.

When I studied psychology and expressive arts in graduate school, I was most entranced by the idea of Narrative Therapy. We make meaning out of our lives through story. We take the events in our heads and tell ourselves stories about them. This happens any time I say to myself “I’m the kind of person who…” Do you know this line as well?

There is more to share here. I hope to start a conversation about the stories that inform our lives. The books we are reading, the movies and shows that have lit us up and made other ways of living an option. I have so many of all of these- whenever I watch or read Henry and June, it’s all I can do not to run around in garter belts and ride my bike in flowy dresses in the woods for weeks. Or at least I got that way in my twenties. Now I am more likely to want to rent a castle in Italy for the month of April wishing for things hard enough that it happens.

So this is the new beginning here at Book Dr. There will be letters, I really hope there will be. But I want everyone to feel free to write about more. To talk about more here.

Let the story begin…

 

 

  • May 11, 2015 - 16:18

    Kate - great post, i hope you do get your letters 🙂ReplyCancel

    • May 13, 2015 - 10:50

      caroline - Thank you! Feel free to write one yourself, or to share with anyone who loves books. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • May 11, 2015 - 17:46

    Laurie Nelson - Oh, may I join you in “ride my bike in flowy dresses in the woods for weeks” – what wondrous-ness that would be!

    LOVE this, Caroline. Thank you!ReplyCancel

    • May 13, 2015 - 10:50

      caroline - Of course you can join! I am loving the replies. This is making me want to watch that movie again… Perhaps we start a film club here?ReplyCancel

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This is a small section of a photograph I took from the window of my studio in Paris this past October. It has been my wallpaper ever since I got home, since I haven’t wanted to give up the view.

I read books when I travel in order to get inside the headspace of the place before I get there, and I read books about places I have just been in order to keep them with me after I get home. But my photographs do the same.

I am somewhat grateful that I recently broke my trusty 5S iPhone and had to replace it with a 6, since the storage is so much larger and I’m able to hold more images at once. It’s reassuring to flip through and see the views I loved so much on trips I have taken.

Scene is a vivid part of story. When I read a book that really catches me, often it’s because I can see the scene and feel myself stepping inside that world. A lot of why I feel pulled to travel in the first place is the need to change the backdrop I have been living in.

I have my best ideas when I travel. Realizations often come on trains. A new view is often all that’s needed to open up to a new plot in my life. And the last two times I have moved, I have ended up with a new job a month or two later. Movement creates movement.

What are your favorite places to try a new story?

  • May 8, 2015 - 17:21

    Freddy - I love the aspect of being able to be two places at once, via a book. So it almost doesn’t matter where I try a new story. It’s more that I get to bring a place with me wherever I go.ReplyCancel

    • May 8, 2015 - 17:32

      admin - True. I think I am also considering the way a place changes the story I am living, along with the one I am reading. I can carry the story in a book wherever I go, but I also find a new place can carry me into my own new story. Do you find that to be the case?ReplyCancel

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what kind of Dr r u? Where did u receive ur degree? -anonymous reader

Thanks for your question! It’s an honorary degree. I do have a Master’s in Psychology, but the title of Book Dr. came from friends and acquaintances who have gotten book recommendations from me for years.

What are you reading now?

The Book Dr.

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Dr. Caroline, I have long admired your work and find your tasteful web platform to be a soothing and safe place for book prescriptions. I moved to Italy a year and a half ago and since that initial move, I have enjoyed a variety of Expat Living in Italy type of books, in addition to the latest Liz Gilbert novel.With the onset of Fall and a new exciting job, I wish for a book with a refreshing, feel-good story that I may tuck into at night; an atypical romance is welcome. Grazie, Lady Louboutin

Dear Lady Louboutin,

First, let me congratulate you on your taste in shoes. I am a big fan of those beauties myself. 

I just returned from a two week adventure in Germany and France, so I now feel adequately prepared to answer your letter. I have been chewing on this challenge of the atypical romance to tuck into at night.

This is, of course, French, but my first thought is to confirm that you have read the Hedgehog?

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If not, this is your baby. Clever, witty, and with atypical romance woven in. I stand aside and let you enjoy. If you have read it already, I do hope that my mentioning it confirms that I’m on the right track. 

I very much want to give you Freddy and Fredericka, but I have just recently prescribed that one. Still, as atypical romances go, it needs to be on this list.

Finally, my big new thought for you, beyond the Me Before You kind of list I wrote for the person not wanting another self help book, is the His Dark Materials Trilogy. Yep. I’m giving you not one book, but an entire trilogy. This is what is called for. 

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I know- curveball with the young adult genre, but I assure you that the themes are extremely grown-up and that the love story in here will knock your socks off. There are actually many love stories twisted up in this narrative and I have read this series more than once.

As a retelling of Paradise Lost, Italy is exactly the place to dive in. It makes me want to read these again there. Perhaps I will come over!

Do let me know what you think and how these go for you.

Happy reading and congrats on the new job!

The Book Dr.

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Dear Book Doctor, I am looking for a book I can read between 4 and 5 am. I have a newborn and am often awake during the early morning hours. I will nurse her for about twenty minutes, but then am often up for another hour before I fall back asleep. I would love a good book prescription for a nursing mom getting very little sleep. Thanks a bunch. – Mommy Reader

 

Dear Mommy Reader-

I have been chewing on this request and I think I have two books that will be perfect for you:

44 Scotland Street 

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This is a charming book about a group of people who all live in the same apartment building. The reason I recommend it to you, besides the fact that I like the characters, is that the chapters are very very short. The book was written by the author of The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency for the Edinburgh newspaper, The Scotsman as a serial that appeared in daily installments. The series has continued for years and there are now about 7 or 8 books. So this should keep you happy the whole time you are nursing.

Gates of Eden

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I read this book for the first time in college, and have never forgotten it since. I couldn’t get it out of my mind after discussing how great this short story collection is this past weekend, so I ordered a copy to re-read. It’s still so good. Ethan Coen (yes, one of those Coens) is able to conjure the same kind of surreal and hilarious world in his stories that he and his brother do on film. I’m not a parent, but I am an insomniac, and I can imagine the late night sleep-dep atmosphere being exactly the place where you could appreciate these stories. 

Happy nursing! And happy reading,

The Book Dr. 

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