At Guernica, in conversation with Sara Petersen, essayist Sarah Kasbeer shares her thoughts on whether writing plays a role in processing trauma: “I do think the work of writing about trauma helps you separate it from yourself, and allows you to look at the story more objectively. Writing is a tool for thinking, so to say that it has no role in how we process traumatic events or our lives in general feels dishonest to me. At the same time, you need therapy, or another person who supports you, in order to heal from trauma. I don’t think writing is ‘healing’ in and of itself; in fact, sometimes it’s retraumatizing.” Kasbeer’s debut essay collection, A Woman, A Plan, an Outline of a Man, is featured on our October list of most anticipated books.
There are all kinds of arguments for reading the canon (Italo Calvino‘s come to mind) but why should we spend time reading untested contemporary authors? Tim Parks tackles this question, with a little help from Virginia Woolf, for The New York Review of Book‘s blog, and his argument pairs well with Guy Patrick Cunningham‘s Millions essay on reading the classics.
Some heavy hitters out this week: Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan; Dear Life, Alice Munro’s latest collection; Woes of the True Policeman by Roberto Bolaño; The Testament of Mary by Colm Tóibín; and Far From the Tree, Andrew Solomon’s massive follow-up to The Noonday Demon. Also out are My Ideal Bookshelf, in which figures from Judd Apatow to Jennifer Egan share about which books shaped them; Jon Meacham’s biography of Jefferson; 40 years of poems by Louise Glück; a new issue of McSweeney’s food mag Lucky Peach; debut The Heat of the Sun by David Rain, and She Loves Me Not, a new collection of stories by Ron Hansen.
Recommended Reading: Kevin Brockmeier’s essay “Dead Last Is a Kind of Second Place” at The Georgia Review. “Someone at school has been stealing people’s lunches from their lockers—including, for the fifth time now, his. He needs a new plan, since obviously the potato chips didn’t work.” For more Brockmeier, check out our review of his novel The Illumination.