Articles by Hannah Gersen

April 8, 2015

To Fall in Love with a Reader, Do This 3

Several months ago, The New York Times published an article about a 36-question interview devised to make strangers fall in love. The questions presented here are designed with a more modest goal: to have an interesting conversation about books.

February 26, 2015

Tough Love: On Mac McClelland’s ‘Irritable Hearts: A PTSD Love Story’ 1

Irritable Hearts is a memory of recovery, a thoughtful and well-researched record of one woman’s experience with a subtle and often terrifying condition.

February 12, 2015

Calendars, Timelines, and Collages: Mapping the Imaginary 5

I got curious about the other visual aids that novelists create to manage their books, so I asked around and gathered a variety of notebook pages, diagrams, and timelines.

December 14, 2014

A Year in Reading: Hannah Gersen 0

I’m aware that this post is exactly the kind of writing I tried all year to avoid: Here I am, piling onto another writer’s already excellent criticism and observations. Please relish my hypocrisies.

December 1, 2014

Beyond Bookmarks: 10 Gifts For Readers 3

For the past few years, The Millions has offered a holiday gift list for writers. This year we’d like to give readers their due, with a list of bookish treats. Because where would writers be without readers? Also, let’s face it: discriminating and avid readers can be as difficult to shop for as cranky writers.

November 28, 2014

Her Well-Spent Adulthood: On Meghan Daum’s ‘The Unspeakable’ 2

In its own, understated, comic way, The Unspeakable is a very ambitious book, one that attempts to chart a personal evolution, while at the same time acknowledging that the idea of personal growth is at best absurd.

November 12, 2014

Writing Out West: On Charles D’Ambrosio’s Loitering 2

What I admired most about these essays is the way each one takes its own shape, never conforming to an expected narrative or feeling the need to answer all the questions housed within. D’Ambrosio allows his essays their ambivalence.

October 20, 2014

One Long Country Song: What Friday Night Lights Taught Me About Storytelling 7

I watched Friday Night Lights in real time, as it aired. I wonder if it would have been as much of an influence if I had “binged-watched” all five seasons back-to-back in one or two months’ time. Instead, the show stretched out over the course of five years, 2006-2011, which for me were years when I had to throw out most of the fiction I wrote.

September 24, 2014

Scraps of Prayers: On Eimear McBride’s A Girl Is A Half-Formed Thing 2

Yes, this book actually gave me nightmares. And yet I did not want to stop reading it.

August 13, 2014

The Sublime and the Odious: On Joseph Luzzi’s My Two Italies 1

My Two Italies is a hybrid memoir, both a recollection of personal experience and growth and also a scholarly look at the long-standing divide between Italy’s north and south — the north characterized by wealth and culture, and the south by poverty and crime. For Luzzi, the divide is personally felt.