May 2020: Zadie Smith

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May 2020: Zadie Smith

1sweetiegherkin
Mar 1, 2020, 7:29pm

This month we'll be reading books by author Zadie Smith. What have you previously read by Smith? What do you plan to pick up this month?

2sweetiegherkin
Maggio 15, 2020, 12:36pm

Hope everyone is doing well with all that is going on in the world.

To be honest, I haven't even looked yet to see what my library is offering digitally by Zadie Smith. It seems like it's difficult for many of us to be focusing on reading when there's so many things to worry about right now.

How is everyone coping? Are you reading anything by Smith this month? Or honestly, anything at all?

3sweetiegherkin
Maggio 15, 2020, 12:44pm

So there are two books by Zadie Smith on the 1001 Books to Read Before You Die list, if that matters to anyone here. One is White Teeth and the other is On Beauty.

My library does have a digital copy of White Teeth that is currently checked out, so I put a hold on that and will see if I can focus on it when the hold comes in.

I had earlier this year finished an audiobook of On Beauty. It is a loose retelling of E.M. Forster's Howard's End. (I think I mentioned this when we discussed E.M. Forster as our monthly author.) I liked it but didn't love it. Zadie Smith is clearly a very talented author, but parts of it seemed to drag and I didn't care much for a lot of the characters, particularly Howard.

As always, I'm looking to what others have to discuss :)

4sparemethecensor
Maggio 15, 2020, 2:02pm

>3 sweetiegherkin: I had a similar reaction to White Teeth a few years ago. Smith is a very talented writer. I enjoy reading her prose. But the book didn't really stick with me. I liked it but not enough to read more by her. And I thought it was just too long and dragged a little.

5sweetiegherkin
Maggio 15, 2020, 2:14pm

>4 sparemethecensor: Yup,I felt like On Beauty was just a little too long. Hoping for a better experience with White Teeth, but you don't leave me very optimistic :)

6Yells
Maggio 21, 2020, 4:48pm

I've read both of those and I can't say I am a fan. I agree, she has a lot of talent, but her books are just not for me.

7sweetiegherkin
Maggio 22, 2020, 3:48pm

>6 Yells: That happens sometimes. Every book its reader.

8sweetiegherkin
Giu 7, 2020, 2:31pm

I keep renewing my digital copy of White Teeth but haven't yet started it as it's taking me forever to read the other books I began before it. Eventually I'll get there!

9HelenBaker
Modificato: Lug 13, 2020, 3:29am

Understandable to hear you are struggling to focus on your reading. I felt the same during lockdown here. However, I feel very fortunate to be a New Zealander, (always have), especially during the present world crisis. We have no community transmission and life has returned to normal for most of us, other than those in the tourist industry.
Yes I have read both White Teeth and recently On Beauty. I admit that I could no longer remember the former's storyline as I read it in 2004. I did rate it 4*. I enjoyed my recent reading of On Beauty though. I felt she gave voice to a demographic that I hadn't previously read about i.e. educated mixed race families. Another of hers I read and enjoyed was N-W, which is set in a London housing estate. I, also have Swing Time on my shelves to read.
White Teeth will be one I hope to reread one day. I will continue to follow her as an author.

10sweetiegherkin
Ago 1, 2020, 10:15am

>9 HelenBaker: Oh how lovely! I did see on the news that NZ was doing well. I'm glad you are able to return to life as usual. Sadly, things are still out of control here in the US as a whole although my state is doing better than most.

Good to hear a positive rating for White Teeth -- I have renewed my digital copy once again and maybe I'll get to it soon! I have about 200 or so pages left in another book first....

Let us know if you do read Swing Time or re-read White Teeth.

11sweetiegherkin
Ago 22, 2020, 7:06pm

I am STILL trying to read White Teeth as I cannot get the timing to work out. While I'm in the middle of reading something else, there will be other people putting holds on the digital copy of White Teeth, so I end up relinquishing the copy and myself placing a new hold on it ... and whenever that hold comes back around, then I'm in the middle of reading something new! Eventually I will get there :)

12sweetiegherkin
Set 14, 10:13am

FINALLY finished White Teeth. In the end the long slog through this one was less about holds & etc. and more about how I wasn't enjoying the book. If anyone wants to defend this book, I'm all ears as I'm honestly lost as to why it's a darling of the literati.