**SoH: Reading and Writing Cancer: How Words Heal by Susan Gubar

Elaborating upon her Living with Cancer column in the New York Times, Susan Gubar helps patients, caregivers, and the specialists who seek to serve them. In a book both enlightening and practical, she describes how the activities of reading and writing can right some of cancer’s wrongs. To stimulate the writing process, she proposes specific exercises, prompts, and models. In discussions of the diary of Fanny Burney, the stories of Leo Tolstoy and Alice Munro, numerous memoirs, novels, paintings, photographs, and blogs, Gubar shows how readers can learn from art that deepens our comprehension of what it means to live or die with the disease.

From a writer whose own memoir, Memoir of a Debulked Woman: Enduring Ovarian Cancer, was described by the New York Times Book Review as “moving and instructive…and incredibly brave,” this volume opens a path to healing.


“The book I wish I’d had beside me as I embarked on my own journey through cancer diagnosis and treatment. For, more than any other book I’ve read, it helps us understand precisely what it is that writing can help us accomplish during the most difficult time of our lives, and…understand that we are not alone.” (Louise DeSalvo)

“This is the book I wish I’d had when I had cancer. Susan Gubar’s clarity and compassion are a model for living with any illness that transforms a life.” (Arthur W. Frank, author of At the Will of the Body and The Wounded Storyteller).

“Susan Gubar has given us a wonderful tour of cancer through the written word. There is something for everyone from the newly diagnosed wanting an outlet to understand their disease to the scholar looking for a summary of cancer writing, to the blogger! Should be required reading for all doctors and patients!” (Dr. Susan Love, M.D., author of Dr. Susan Love’s Breast Book)

“Beyond surviving, the greatest challenge after a cancer diagnosis is learning how to live as fully as possible. Gubar’s book shows us how reading and writing about living with cancer can help.” (Wendy S. Harpham, MD, author of Happiness in a Storm: Facing Illness and Embracing Life as a Healthy Survivor)

About the Author

Susan Gubar received the Natalie Davis Spingarn Writers Award from the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship and, with Sandra M. Gilbert, was awarded the Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award by the National Book Critics Circle. She is the Distinguished Emeritus Professor of English at Indiana University and lives in Bloomington.

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