If you’ve ever heard that literary skill is synonymous with a good memory, you’ve likely bemoaned your own forgetfulness, especially when it comes to important things. Tim Parks felt the same way, until he read a new book on forgetting, which led him to wonder how much knowledge we can retain. In The New York Review of Books, he tackles the paradox of the reader’s memory. You could also read our own Mark O’Connell’s review of Parks’s book Italian Ways.
Cat Marnell and Alana Massey both have new books out, and they are, in their own ways, variants on the genre of “confessional” writing. In an essay for Slate, Katy Waldman unpacks their essential appeal and their arguments, describing how each goes about the task of reinventing the concept of the memoir. You could also read our interview with Massey.
It’s that time of year again – our good friends at The Morning News are back with their annual epic, the Tournament of Books! Head over to TMN now to read round 1, which pits award season favorite Lincoln in the Bardo against Samantha Schweblin‘s Fever Dream (and read our own review of George Saunders‘s much-lauded novel here).
Recommended Reading: Elisa Gabbert at Guernica on the relationship between ideas and language. “How can the name come after the concept if you need the name to understand the concept? This problem of circularity always made me resistant to the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis in its strong version, which states that our thoughts are bound by the restraints of our language.”
Celebrated author Jean Craighead George passed away this week at the age of 92. George published more than 100 books throughout her career, often focusing on the environment and the natural world, most famously in My Side of the Mountain and in her Newbery Medal-winner, Julie of the Wolves.