Reading time: 4 minuti
Do you love to lose yourself in a book? Try to think of a “healing bookshop”. A place for the soul, friendly and welcoming, where you are sure to find the exact book responding to your current state of mind and within it, the ideas, words, and solutions that you were looking for. Let me tell you of a bookshop with two psychologists who, based on their experience and countless readings, will not only know how to listen to your needs, but will also able to provide you with personalised advice. A completely innovative concept for a bookshop which focuses on the reader and their feelings, aiming to guide them based on what their soul requires at that very moment. Something which nowadays has become so rare to find in large chain libraries, this experience gives value to the relationship between bookseller and reader thanks to the former taking a genuine interest towards the demands of the latter.
This unworldly idea became a reality in December 2018 in Via Ripoli, Florence, thanks to Elena Molini. A brave thirty-five-year-old, Elena decided to found this avant-garde type of bookshop after having spent several years in the traditional ones which although were so rich in choice, were so dispersive. “The idea came to me because, after having worked in a large chain bookshop, I realised that 90% of customers asked for advice based on their emotional state,” the new entrepreneur told “La Nazione”. “’The Little Literary Chemist’ was born to make me stop and listen to the needs of others. To intuit the unsaid and walk on tiptoes in the lives of others, recommending books which become messages, able to move walls and loosen stiffness.” For something that started out with a question mark above it and conceived as a modest bookshop, Elena’s idea turned out to be a huge success and was discussed on social media, in the national news, and even covered by some international newspapers!
The majority of customers who come into her bookshop are usually in search of solutions to heartaches or other travails of life. A distinctive part of her book is a coloured leaflet that accompanies each one, providing information such as the type of problem the book is suitable for, together with a place, time and method of reading in order to maximise the therapeutic effects.
All the books, of which there are about 4000, have been read and catalogued in this way using a total of 70 colours. Each colour represents a different state of mind for example mourning, narcissism, travel addiction, stress, loneliness, fear of change, insomnia, chronic laziness, and so on. In order to create the most complex and delicate leaflets like anxiety and depression, Elena used the help of her sister, a professional psychologist.
A brilliant intuition on Elena’s behalf, which answered to a dormant and unexpressed need. Even if the Little Literary Chemist cannot compete with the great “giants” of the market, its strength lies in the human interaction it offers in-store, just like that received once upon a time in shops. “I got the idea from Amazon where for every book purchased, three others were suggested based on what the person liked: setting, genre, author, the difference being however, that instead of an algorithm, it’s a real person giving suggestions,” Elena revealed “As well as promoting reading I also focus attention on the environment and therefore, if within a month a customer returns a book in excellent condition, they will be offered discount on a new one and the old book will be put back on sale at a lower price”.
“Literary solutions for real problems” is the bookshop’s motto, which believes in the value of books, capable of curing us from the abyss of emptiness and existential barrenness. Books open us up to new and different universes, cultivate us, and ‘fill’ us thanks to the reflections they arouse and the lessons they bring. Thanks to books we feel less alone and misunderstood as there is always someone who has experienced and felt the same emotions as us, someone who has written them down on paper. These books can assist us and accompany us on our journey to finding inner balance, combining the authors emotions with our own.” This is exactly how Elena did it, deciding to pass on her knowledge and all she had learned, in order to help others.
Her idea for ‘book therapy‘ is coupled with many other projects which in recent years have been classified in general as ‘art therapy’. These recognise culture as a remedy for the soul and place it within the world of medicine. An example of this is in Montreal, where an agreement between doctors and the Museum of Fine Arts has allowed some patients to receive a medical prescription for a visit to the museum (the vision of masterpieces is said to cause the release of serotonin and endorphins within the body, which help fight against stress, anxiety and many other problems).
Thanks to the large number of readers coming from all over Italy, the Little Literary Chemist is becoming ever larger, so much so that a second branch has just been opened in Pietrasanta in the province of Lucca, as well as an online shop being created allowing you to take advantage of this amazing initiative wherever you are in the world!
This is the link to the Web site: https://www.piccolafarmacialetteraria.it/