Hi, I'm Bijal Shah, a book curator and bibliotherapist, a freelance journalist, an author and a poet.
A big hello and welcome! Here's a little bit about me.
After a decade-plus career in investment banking, I was really keen to pursue my passion for literature, writing and psychology having successfully published a non-fiction book titled "The Happiness Mindset". The book's received more than 50 reviews on Amazon with a 5 star rating. I wrote the book post-completion of a diploma in psychodynamic counselling and psychotherapy, a skillset that complements my passion for carefully curating apt books for others. Book curation and bibliotherapy was inevitable. I now help clients find the perfect books for personal interest and mental well-being. My book recommendations have featured in the Guardian, the BBC, Marie Claire, NBC News, Asian Voice and various other publications. I've also written short literary guides along with confessional and contemporary poetry. In this role I have had the opportunity to write various literary essays and pieces for newspapers and magazines. I have undertaken bibliotherapy workshops for The United Nations, various corporate organisations in the UK and US and a variety of libraries in New York and London. I also have a podcast with speech and language therapist Sunita Shah of The Jai Jai's on Raising A Reader & Storyteller.
I’m a member of the International Federation of Library Associations and the American Library Association. I've also completed a post-graduate professional accountancy qualification and Bachelors of Science in Mathematics from the University of Warwick, after attending Haberdashers' Aske's School for Girls. I'm a mum of two and we currently reside in Hampstead, London.
A Novel Literary Advice Service
As a little girl, I loved receiving book recommendations from trusted friends and family. Finding the next great read became an addictive habit to mitigate those post-book blues. I loved helping others find new books too and my passion for reading, writing reviews and literature in general inspired me to launch Book Therapy - a novel literary advice service that helps match people to books based on their individual needs, interests and reading habits.
Book Curation and Personalised Book Prescriptions
Helping others discover wonderful new books (and old) meant understanding their current needs. The books prescribed could be for a specific predicament they find themselves in (for example, struggling with bereavement, friendship breakups, ticking biological clock, fatherhood, redundancy, regret etc) or they could be a travel prescription for a holiday read (check out our book prescription for New York for example).
The personalised book prescriptions have been very popular. These are prepared in the form of detailed, recommended reading lists that comprise a minimum of seven to ten books. Plus, if you prefer the books too whether, paperback, hardback, Kindle or Audiobook there's the personalised book box. And you can also gift these for a friend, family member or loved one!
Want to sample a book prescription before you buy?
Then check out the free list of book prescriptions titled A - Z of Book Prescriptions These cover a variety of genres ranging from literary fiction, historical fiction, romance, classics, thrillers, non-fiction, self-development, spiritual, food, dance, the arts, culture, society, parenting, biographies and memoir, essays, true crime, audiobooks, photography etc. They also cover different life situations (e.g. anxiety, job change, relationship heartache) as well as interests (e.g memoir, historical fiction, non-fiction etc). There's also a children's reading list: Children's A - Z of Book Prescriptions. Feel free to subscribe to the blog too.
Prefer to self-prescribe or interested in bibliotherapy and mental health? Check out our online course that serves as a comprehensive guide on the practice of bibliotherapy using case studies of readers’ self-transformation through life-changing experiences of literature.
Bijal (Book Therapist)
PS Audible is one of our sponsors. Being a mother, I mostly listen to audiobooks - it's the easiest way to keep up-to-date on all my reading. Audible have an amazing 30-day free trial where you get two free audiobooks. You can cancel anytime if it's not for you. If it is it's £7.99 (UK) or $14.95 (US) monthly which includes one free audiobook every month.
Sunita Shah, Speech and Language Therapist & Children's Author
Sunita and I have collaborated on parenting podcast titled 'Raising A Reader & Storyteller', that shares tips and techniques on developing a young reader's love for literature through the acquisition of reading skills, vocabulary, developing their imagination and learning to tell a story. We also discuss the benefits of reading on mental well-being through the practice of children's bibliotherapy.
Sunita is the creator behind The Jai Jais, a growing collection of books, yoga/mindfulness and educational resources for children centred around Hindu gods and goddesses. Sunita has blended her expertise as a speech and language therapist with her children’s natural curiosity about their faith to produce the collection for children of all ages and backgrounds. Sunita’s spark to create books about Hindu characters was ignited when her eldest son, Syon who began asking questions about the temple in her home. He would talk about the elephant god, the monkey god and the powerful fork ‘trident’ of Lord Shiva which he thought was like King Triton from The Little Mermaid.
While being a mother gave her the thirst to produce the books, her background in speech and language therapy armed her with the essential ingredients to write for children. Sunita is the National Advisor for the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapy and deliver training to the NHS and educational and private establishments on supporting bilingual children.
Alex Taibl, Lifestyle & Commercial Photographer