Changing My Mind: Book summary and reviews of Changing My Mind by Zadie Smith

Changing My Mind

Occasional Essays

By Zadie Smith

Changing My Mind
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  • Published in USA  Nov 2009,
    320 pages.

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Book Summary

Zadie Smith brings to her essays all of the curiosity, intellectual rigor, and sharp humor that have attracted so many readers to her fiction, and the result is a collection that is nothing short of extraordinary.

Split into four sections - "Reading," "Being," "Seeing," and "Feeling" - Changing My Mind invites readers to witness the world from Zadie Smith's unique vantage. Smith casts her acute eye over material both personal and cultural, with wonderfully engaging essays - some published here for the first time - on diverse topics including literature, movies, going to the Oscars, British comedy, family, feminism, Obama, Katharine Hepburn, and Anna Magnani.

In her investigations Smith also reveals much of herself. Her literary criticism shares the wealth of her experiences as a reader and exposes the tremendous influence diverse writers - E. M. Forster, Zora Neale Hurston, George Eliot, and others - have had on her writing life and her self-understanding. Smith also speaks directly to writers as a craftsman, offering precious practical lessons on process. Here and throughout, readers will learn of the wide-ranging experiences - in novels, travel, philosophy, politics, and beyond - that have nourished Smith's rich life of the mind. Her probing analysis offers tremendous food for thought, encouraging readers to attend to the slippery questions of identity, art, love, and vocation that so often go neglected.

Changing My Mind announces Zadie Smith as one of our most important contemporary essayists, a writer with the rare ability to turn the world on its side with both fact and fiction. Changing My Mind is a gift to readers, writers, and all who want to look at life more expansively.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"If she'd never written a novel, this collection alone would make me eager to read more of her work." - Kirkus Reviews

"Recommended for readers of nonfiction, creative writing enthusiasts, and literary scholars." - Library Journal

"[W]armly insightful pieces that tease apart knotty strands of human experience." - Oprah.com

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Author Information

Zadie Smith Author Biography

Zadie Smith was born in north-west London in 1975, and has lived there most of her life. She is the author of three novels (White Teeth, The Autograph Man, On Beauty), one book of essays (Changing My Mind), and editor of one anthology (The Book of Other People).

White Teeth was her first novel and awarded the Guardian First Book Award, the Whitbread Prize for a first novel, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction, the Frankfurt eBook Award for Best Fiction Work and the Overall Commonwealth Writers Prize, among others. On Beauty was shortlisted for The Man Booker Prize 2005 and won The Orange Prize for Fiction 2006. She was previously been a writer-in-residence at London's Institute of Contemporary Arts and a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.

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