----- Original Message -----
From: Sandy P. Klein
Culture & sports / Books
Word therapy
Published: December 27 2002 21:00 |

If Christmas is about good cheer, the New Year often brings in soul-searching and spiritual indigestion. Our literary agony aunts, Dr Rowan de Bende and Ms Quote, lend a sympathetic ear to readers’ problems and prescribe accordingly.

Q: I've got an amazing husband, two lovely children, a country house, a more than middling career, and cupboardsful of cashmere. But my mind seems blanker than an empty swimming pool and I spend more and more time dreaming about younger men. I feel like a collection of clichés. Which is exactly what I don't want to read. Can you come up with something? Name not provided
Dr B: The thing to do is go for quality. I bet you don't eat junk - don't read junk. And opt for surprising pleasures. Try short story collections: Nabokov for sensual engagement, Kipling for unexpected passions. Definitely not Somerset Maugham. It often ends in tears for his bored wives. But yes to Chekhov. And to keep up to date for dinner party chat, there is Janet Malcolm's brand-new short and sparky Reading Chekhov.

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