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Penguin Group (USA) LLC
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Changing My Mind: Occasional Essays Kindle Edition
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|Length: 324 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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The selections here cover a broad range of topics, from trips she took to Liberia and the Oscars (not at the same time) to three funny and touching essays about her family. But it is her writings on art that really shine. She shows great insight into the writings of Forster, Eliot, Barthes, Nabokov, and Kafka; in fact, I think the first seven essays are required reading for any aspiring writer. But she also brings a keen eye to cinema, with a wonderful essay about Katharine Hepburn and Greta Garbo, and even stand-up comedy in an essay about her younger brother's surprisingly (to her) successful foray into that field.
I read one essay each morning, and after the first one I woke up every day excited about reading the next. That is probably the best endorsement I can give this book. But Ms Smith has also inspired me to discover new works, like Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God, and re-discover some others. Middlemarch and Everybody is a sharp essay on the philosophy of the famous novel, and not only did it make me want to re-read it immediately, it also inspired me in my own writing. The essay entitled Hepburn and Garbo spurred me to run out and rent the Philadelphia Story. And the final piece, part eulogy and part reading guide, has inspired me to give David Foster Wallace's difficult fiction one more try.
After reading this book, I cannot wait for her next novel.
While there are some good pieces, this collection certainly doesn't represent what Smith is capable of.
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