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Reading 'can light up depression'

19th January 2010

Reading a favourite author could help people to gain relief from depression, one journalist has argued.

Writing on the Guardian's book blog, Wayne Gooderham noted that Marian Keyes recently took a break from writing because of depression and revealed he once used Saul Bellow's Herzog to tackle the condition.

Gooderham explained that reading will not cure depression on its own and highlighted the importance of conventional treatments such as counselling, therapy and lifestyle changes, but suggested that the activity can have a place on the road to recovery.

'After a period when even the idea of reading seems an alien concept, to find oneself reading - and enjoying - a book again can come as an immense relief: an indication that one is beginning to emerge from beneath a dark cloud,' he wrote.

The commentator added that when he was suffering from depression, he found that reading Herzog - a book which he already admired - allowed him to concentrate on something other than his illness and forget his real-life problems.

Earlier this month, Keyes, who authored chick-lit favourites such as Watermelon and Last Chance Saloon, posted a message on her website which said her depression has returned and left her in a 'living hell'.

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