Zadie Smith is one of those writers that, honestly, I had never heard of before embarking on this project. Yet, as I’ve read White Teeth and learned more about Smith, I’ve grown to respect her immensely, so much so that I’d love to somehow be able to interview her on this blog. Gotta try, at least, right?
Anyway, I’ll definitely be reading more of Zadie Smith’s work when this is finished. I love her writing style and witty humor.
Smith is the mother of two kids, and she took issue to an article written by journalist Lauren Sandler a couple of years ago in The Atlantic. The title of the piece? “The secret to being both a successful writer and a mother: have just one kid”
Sandler explained how many of the female writers she “revered” only had one child: Susan Sontag, Joan Didion, Mary McCarthy, Elizabeth Hardwick, Margaret Atwood.
She quotes Alice Walker, who said female artists “should have children – assuming this is of interest to them – but only one … Because with one you can move. With more than one you’re a sitting duck.”
Zadie Smith took issue with Sandler’s article and responded. Read more
Children don’t be reading, and that’s their parent’s fault.
I’m always leery when I hear “a new study says,” but for what it’s worth a new study says that one in four students agree with the statement “My parents don’t care if I spend any time reading.”
According to Acculturated, one in six boys said they had never been given a book as a present and one in five said they had never been to a bookstore. That’s nuts! Read more
Frank Bruni at The New York Times wrote an outstanding op-ed last week about kids who read—and why our society needs them.
He quotes a recent report by Common Sense Media showing some sad trends: Read more
My mom has a room in her house that is full of books.
I’m not exaggerating when I say an entire wall in that room has shelves that are filled with novels, memoirs, and volumes and volumes of books.
She loves westerns. I swear there must be 80 Louis L’amour westerns on those shelves. I’m not sure if Louis wrote that many books, but I’d wager that she has most, if not all, his novels.
If books were edible, my mom’s house would be a great place to go to during the zombie apocalypse. If you’re like me, and might prefer books to food, her house might be a great place to go during a zombie apocalypse anyway.
If it feels like I’ve posted a lot about A Death In The Family, it’s because I have. But if you’re ready to move on, this is my final post about the novel before the review on Tuesday.
James Agee lost his father when he was a child. That experience inspired A Death In The Family. It’s a sad story, in ways I’ve already explained.
Early in the novel, there’s a strange dream sequence. Everything is written in italics, and Agee’s style makes a poetic transition.
The following passage from that sequence blew me away.
While posting about A Death In The Family, I’ve briefly mentioned a few times how this novel really hits home.
Here’s why. I’m 37. I’m married. I have a three-year-old son and my wife is due in September with another little boy.
In the story, Jay Follet, the young father who dies, is 36. He has a six-year-old son, Rufus, and a younger daughter, Catherine.
He leaves behind his wife, Mary, and their two young children.
I think you can understand why this book gets to me. I’ll explain more after this passage.
Here’s the setup.
Aunt Hannah is talking to Jay’s two children, attempting to explain that their father won’t be coming home.
Despite Robert Penn Warren’s—how shall I put it?—verbose style of writing, I’m really enjoying All The King’s Men.
The novel focuses on the dirtiness of politics, but it really has a little bit of everything—and so much insight into the human mind, as might be expected from a novelist who is also a famous poet.
Last week, I shared a great piece of dialogue about political speeches between “The Boss” and his right-hand man, Jack Burden, who is the narrator of the novel.
Today, let’s take a look at a passage about a totally different topic. This one, which comes from Jack Burden’s perspective, reflects on the nature of parents and their relationships with adult children.