Noted via Twitter today, this post at Salon: the therapeutic value of the mystery novel. The author of the post doesn’t actually talk much about why she finds mystery novels therapeutic; most of the post is spent recommending some recently released books. I also find mystery novels therapeutic at times — often, when I visited my parents during my dad’s illness, I’d pick up one of the mysteries they always had around the house rather than doing my academic reading. That’s how I discovered Tana French, for example — I remember seeing In the Woods sitting on their kitchen counter.
I like to read mysteries for therapy for the same reason I like watching Law & Order episodes, even ones I’ve seen before: I love procedurals. I think it’s a side effect of being a structure geek. (These days, I usually see about a half hour of Law & Order at the gym, two or three times a week, and that keeps my addiction manageable.)
What do you read therapeutically? Do you go back to favorite books, or do you get more therapeutic benefit out of finding new books in a favorite genre?