The Healing Power of Books and Writing

Guest post by budding author Malcolm McLoughlin

Books have always been a haven for me. The twists and turns, highs and lows of great tales have held my imagination since the first time I read Hansel and Gretel.

When my own life started to unravel through a mixture of alcoholism and the diagnosis of my daughters Autism, I found solace in books. An authors ability to transpose the readers to another world is one of the greatest gifts that can be given and received. Its a reciprocal and intimate exchange.

In dealing with my own demons I decided that writing was a way to heal old wounds and lay a part of my soul bare. In truth there is beauty.
I began the process by rereading the journals I have written since the age of fifteen, I blogged about the dispiriting uncertainty of not knowing where to start regarding Autism and how I couldn’t escape the pull that alcohol held over me. It quickly became clear to me that I am not the first nor the last individual to weather the open waters of fear.

People reached out to me to share their own pain, their own crippling sense of grief in discovering their child may never live the life they had hoped for. Alcoholics – or members of families touched by this all-encompassing addiction – writing, in prayer almost, that the one they love would someday see the light too.

In response to this these chain of events I decided not long ago to pursue a dream of my own—to write a book. Apparently everyone has a book in them but it takes a great story teller to make it happen. All I aim to do in my quest is to describe the life I have been lucky enough to live for the past 35 plus years.

It will most likely never move someone in the way that Kafka’s The Trial, Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness Of Being or Howard Zinn’s You Can’t Be Neutral On A Moving Train have moved me. Those books stand on a shelf of many and even brushing my finger tips over the spines of these poignant works conjures memories of enlightenment and unrivalled personal satisfaction.

Books are healing and the delight in seeing my own children with their favourites instills a hope that on their literary voyage they are blessed with as many life changing reads as me.

What books have changed and enlightened your life in significant ways? If you were going to write a book about your journey what would it entail and be called? Thanks for sharing!

*Note* The above guest post is from our social media friend, Malcolm McLoughlin. This content does not necessarily reflect the views of Better World Books (as our lawyers make sure we say). We love having guest bloggers and invite you to email if you are interested in covering a book or topic on the BWB Blog. Thank you, Malcolm, for your courage and honesty. Good luck writing your book!


  1. Larry Beasley says:

    Viktor Frankl “Man’s Search for Meaning”
    Parker Palmer, “Let Your Life Speak”
    Dan Millman “The Way of the Peaceful Warrior”

  2. Barbara Whittington says:

    I’d never thought of reading or writing in quite this way before. Malcolm is so very right. Healing can be found in the twists and turns of a beautiful phrase. Words. Aww. I can smell them, taste them, know them in my soul.
    Thanks for sharing this wonderful post.
    Blessings from another reader/writer.
    Barbara Whittington
    Author of Vada Faith available on

  3. Stuart Winton says:

    Thank you for sharing this story Malcolm. Apart from the fact it is an interesting read it shows a remarkably impressive level of honesty and no little amount of bravery.

  4. Thank you for the nice words. Books are the cornerstone of our civilization and help us to grow exponentially. I’d be lost without them.

  5. Jan Fleming Marcy says:

    Some wonderful books that helped me: The Poisonwood Bible, Cutting for Stone, The Glass Castle, Angela’s Ashes and, of course, the Nancy Drew books.

  6. Pingback: Malcolm McLoughlin | Better World Books Blog. | Freelance Writer

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