I am finally rereading the last part of Katharine Graham’s memoir, Personal History, which is historically fascinating (Nixon, The Pentagon Papers), but not stimulating in part because KG was not a brilliant writer (not that she would have ever considered herself such). Next up, I am excited to get Zadie Smith’s new book of essays, Feel Free, which comes out February 6th. I will be honest, I loved White Teeth and The Autograph Man, but her most recent novel Swing Time didn’t elicit the same emotional response for me. I felt the characters lacked depth of character or purpose, which was exactly how I felt about Jonathan Franzen’s last novel, Freedom. Perhaps that was the point about both of these author’s characters—that people today often live lives devoid of intention. That said, the visuals in many passages from Swing Time remain indelible in my mind. Zadie’s words obviously struck some nerve. This is why I look forward to Feel Free.
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