A few weeks ago, Meghan Daum released an essay collection, The Unspeakable, which our own Hannah Gersen described as “unputdownable” in her Millions review. At Slate, Katy Waldman offers her own praise, writing that “these essays do what essays often set out to do: trace the outlines of a self.”
“By running two lives that started from the same point off along divergent tracks, they throw up questions about our uniqueness, and the chances and choices that make us who we are.” On identical twins in literature, from Stephen King to Shakespeare. Also check out Ramona Ausubel’s essay on first children and first novels.
“The peace may be holding, but the process is faltering,” writes Colum McCann, forty years after the Dublin/Monaghan bombings, in his evaluation of Ireland’s present relationship with the “Troubles.” “It is, of course, naïve to expect total reconciliation,” he continues. “Some grievances are so deep that the people who suffered them will never be satisfied. But the point is not satisfaction — the point is that the present is superior to the past, and it has to be cultivated as such.”
The Atlantic interviews Erin Gruwell, a teacher whose methods for teaching her students about prejudice became the basis of a book (and subsequent movie) called The Freedom Writers. Named after a group of bus-riding civil rights activists, the students in her classes wrote lengthy journal entries — many of them relating to their own personal traumas — in order to compare them with diaries by historical figures. Writing journals, Gruwell says, helped her students learn to like schoolwork.