If any of you follow me on instagram you may recall a recent post about this new concept of ‘reverse nostalgia’ that I have found to be suffering from. It is not a regular emotion that is recognized, it is one of the small feelings that aren’t categorized, one that is not treatable through conventional medicine. Other than traveling to another strange land, I have been devouring every piece of literature: fiction, non-fiction, any, that takes place in the places I have visited, treating my regular nostalgia. I have also been reading things that takes place in other strange lands in attempt to treat my reverse nostalgia.
I love bookstores and books, especially the type of bookstores that are used, and eclectic. Ones where you can sit on the floor and find treasures hidden within the shelves. We visited the famous Shakespeare and Company bookstore in Paris seen here:
…and Porter had to practically drag me out of there. It was filled with so much nostalgia, of Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald writing there in the ’20s, of every unique phrase book in every language you could want, of every coffee table book you could ever dream up intermingled with classics.
Fast forward to Tucson and to real life and the only thing that is remotely close to this is going to Bookman’s, not really looking for anything in particular but looking for something that jumped out to me. I stumbled across this book:
With all of these themes swirling in my mind, how could I not pick this up?!
And the theme it paints turned out to be even better.
It is about a bookseller that sells books from a barge converted into a shop on the Seine river. The beautiful thing is not what he does but how he does it. He does not sell anyone just any book, but he prescribes them as treatment for any number of emotional ailments. From the book: ” [He] wanted to treat feelings that are not recognized as afflictions and are never diagnosed by doctors. All those little feelings and emotions no therapist is interested in, because they are too minor and intangible. The feeling that washes over you when another summer nears its end. Or when you recognize that you haven’t got your whole life left to find out where you belong. Or the slight sense of grief when a friendship doesn’t develop as you thought, and you have to continue your search for a lifelong companion. Or those birthday morning blues. Nostalgia for the air of your childhood. Things like that.” (George, 23). He calls his shop the literary apothecary.
How perfect to find this book while trying to soothe my “reverse nostalgia” or even that longing for the scent of flowers, or the feeling of adventure. I found a prescription for one of my soul’s ailments.
What medically unrecognized feeling or ailment do you have? What book from your literary apothecary did you turn to for your treatment?