Paper Trail

Rachel Aviv to discuss mental illness at the National Book Festival; a group reading of Italo Svevo’s “Zeno’s Conscience”

Rachel Aviv. Photo: Rose Lichter-Marck

New Yorker staff writer Rachel Aviv will discuss her first book, Strangers to Ourselves: Unsettled Minds and the Stories That Make Us, tomorrow with Daniel Bergner in a panel at the Library of Congress National Book Festival. Several other events with the author have also been announced. 

At The Atlantic, Derek Thompson looks at how the advice of best-selling personal finance books compares to economic theory. Thompson talked with James Choi, a Yale professor who studied fifty such books and recently published the paper “Popular Personal Financial Advice Versus the Professors.” Choi found that “economists tend to offer more rational advice, because they are dealing with numbers; best sellers tend to offer more practical advice, because they are grappling with human behavior—with all of its mess and irrationality.”

Stephanie Burt reviews Natalie Shapero’s third poetry collection, Popular Longing, for the London Review of Books. Burt admires the poems (which offer “the best line breaks in the business right now”) and considers the question: “Can wit, and introspection, and a willingness to make explicit the feelings that most of us suppress, and a patter of pithy understatements, take the place of the vivid sensory images another poet might highlight?”

For NiemanLab, Stefania D’Ignoti reports on refugee-run journalistic projects like Dispatches in Exile and Migratory Birds, which offer platforms for migrants and asylum-seekers to share their own stories. 

At 4Columns, in its first issue back from summer hiatus, Brian Dillon reviews Well-Kept Ruins, the latest memoir of literary theorist Hélène Cixous. Cixous writes about her mother, Eve Klein, and visiting the German hometown Klein fled for Algeria before the Nazis came to power. Also in the issue: Sasha Frere-Jones on the 1990s indie band Built to Spill, Momtaza Mehri on installation artist Mahmoud Khaled, and Nick Pinkerton on the film essayist Serge Daney.  

A Public Space has a new installment of APS Together, starting on September 13. You can join this free reading group, which will be tackling Zeno’s Conscience by Italo Svevo, and attend a free virtual conversation about the book with novelist and critic Claire Messud. In a 2002 review of the book, Messud called it “an extraordinary and slippery liar’s memoir.”