Changing My Mind by Zadie Smith
Occasional Essays

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Synopsis

"[These essays] reflect a lively, unselfconscious, rigorous, erudite, and earnestly open mind that's busy refining its view of life, literature, and a great deal in between."
-Los Angeles Times

Split into five sections-Reading, Being, Seeing, Feeling, and Remembering--Changing My Mind finds Zadie Smith casting an acute eye over material both personal and cultural. This engaging collection of essays-some published here for the first time-reveals Smith as a passionate and precise essayist, equally at home in the world of great books and bad movies, family and philosophy, British comedians and Italian divas. Whether writing on Katherine Hepburn, Kafka, Anna Magnani, or Zora Neale Hurston, she brings deft care to the art of criticism with a style both sympathetic and insightful. Changing My Mind is journalism at its most expansive, intelligent, and funny-a gift to readers and writers both.


 

About Zadie Smith

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ZADIE SMITH was born in Northwest London in 1975. She is the author of White Teeth, The Autograph Man, On Beauty, and the essay collection Changing My Mind.
 
Published October 22, 2009 by Penguin Books. 328 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Biographies & Memoirs, Gay & Lesbian. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Changing My Mind

Kirkus Reviews

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Rarely does a book that seems to promise so little deliver so much.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of Changing My Mind: Occasional ...

The New York Times

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“To write critically in English,” Zadie Smith asserts in the opening essay of “Changing My Mind,” “is to aspire to neutrality, to the high style of, say, Lionel Trilling or Edmund Wilson.” Praising Zora Neale Hurston, Smith complains that the mandarin critical mode elevates the experiences of whi...

Jan 14 2010 | Read Full Review of Changing My Mind: Occasional ...

The Guardian

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For Zadie Smith, criticism is a bodily pleasure, not an abstracted mental operation.

Nov 15 2009 | Read Full Review of Changing My Mind: Occasional ...

NPR

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In the new collection Changing My Mind: Occasional Essays, author Zadie Smith explores her writing process and the people who have influenced her. Smith tells NPR she doesn't write every day, though she wishes she did — and that she used writing as a way to mourn her father.

Nov 11 2009 | Read Full Review of Changing My Mind: Occasional ...

Book Reporter

“Writing essays on Kafka, on Nabokov, on George Eliot, on Zora Neale Hurston, I was newly humbled and excited by the artificial and the fully imagined.” It’s reassuring to know that a gifted writer of fiction now has recharged her creative batteries, but these elegant and thoughtful essays can on...

Dec 26 2010 | Read Full Review of Changing My Mind: Occasional ...

The Globe and Mail

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With this collection of her non-fiction writing, Zadie Smith proves herself to be a new maestro of the literary essay

Nov 27 2009 | Read Full Review of Changing My Mind: Occasional ...

The Star

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Early fame can set very young actors on the road to notoriety and a mug shot-accompanied crack-up. The effect it has on youngish authors is much less dramatic, though similarly destructive. Sudden literary fame turns the essentially internal, intuitive and private act of writing inside out, expos...

Jan 31 2010 | Read Full Review of Changing My Mind: Occasional ...

AV Club

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The author of White Teeth and On Beauty delves into non-fiction with this series of scattered essays.

Nov 25 2009 | Read Full Review of Changing My Mind: Occasional ...

AV Club

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In the foreword to Zadie Smith’s first non-fiction collection, Changing My Mind: Occasional Essays, the author of White Teeth taunts readers with a series of other projects she’s considered, including a serious book about writing called Fail Better.

Nov 25 2009 | Read Full Review of Changing My Mind: Occasional ...

Entertainment Weekly

Smith is shakier when she strays from the subject of books or personal history to less familiar ground, like U.S. politics or Hollywood;

Nov 11 2009 | Read Full Review of Changing My Mind: Occasional ...

The Telegraph

Alongside her miscellaneous film reviews, travel writing, memoir and a new piece on her friend David Foster Wallace, Smith found she had enough material to fill a book.

Dec 12 2009 | Read Full Review of Changing My Mind: Occasional ...

The Bookbag

This collection is a mixture of literary criticism and journalism, including travel writing, reviews and other writing on film and several pieces about Zadie Smith's family, and especially her father.

Dec 21 2014 | Read Full Review of Changing My Mind: Occasional ...

BookPage

And her essays on her personal life, especially the tender handling of her father’s memory in “Smith Family Christmas,” “Accidental Hero” and “Dead Man Laughing,” are glimpses into her own complex family, displaying unflinching insight without sacrificing a loving appreciation.

May 05 2015 | Read Full Review of Changing My Mind: Occasional ...

Open Letters Monthly

We file him under notable English Novelist, common or garden variety… he never believed the novel was dead or the hills alive, continued to read contemporary fiction after age of fifty, harbored no special hatred for the generation below or above him, did not come to feel that England had gone to...

Nov 27 2009 | Read Full Review of Changing My Mind: Occasional ...

Open Letters Monthly

In the most well-known essay of Changing My Mind, “Two Directions for the Novel,” Smith sets in opposition Joseph O’Neil’s 2008 PEN/Faulkner Prize-winning novel Netherland and Tom McCarthy’s highly experimental 2007 novel Remainder.

Mar 15 2013 | Read Full Review of Changing My Mind: Occasional ...

Bookmarks Magazine

The Topic: Zadie Smith calls Changing My Mind a book she hadn’t realized she had written, since most of these pieces had been previously published in newspapers and magazines.

Nov 16 2009 | Read Full Review of Changing My Mind: Occasional ...

Oprah.com

Best known for her multifaceted fiction, Zadie Smith now has her first collection of essays, Changing My Mind, warmly insightful pieces that tease apart knotty strands of human experience.

Nov 06 2009 | Read Full Review of Changing My Mind: Occasional ...

News Review.

While the essays range from Joan Didion-esque reportage on Hollywood awards ceremonies to a moving consideration of the late David Foster Wallace’s writing, they come together thematically under the rubric of her title, Changing My Mind, stating that ideological inconsistency is for her “practica...

Feb 04 2010 | Read Full Review of Changing My Mind: Occasional ...

For Books' Sake

Changing My Mind is a collection of essays, but don’t stop reading!

Apr 19 2010 | Read Full Review of Changing My Mind: Occasional ...

Straight.com

When faced with a book of essays, especially one that isn’t tied to a single, unifying topic, it’s tempting to leaf through the table of contents, cherry-pick the best entries, and discard the rest.

Jan 06 2010 | Read Full Review of Changing My Mind: Occasional ...

https://www.brainpickings.org

You can find your beach here, find it falsely, but convincingly, still thinking of Manhattan as an isle of writers and artists — of downtown underground wildlings and uptown intellectuals — against all evidence to the contrary.

Oct 06 2014 | Read Full Review of Changing My Mind: Occasional ...

Reader Rating for Changing My Mind
67%

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