in response to zadie smith.

zadie smithRecently I came across an article written by author Zadie Smith titled, What It Means to Be Addicted to Reading. I highly recommend clicking on the link and reading it in full- it’s excellent! (If the link doesn’t work for some reason, here is the URL: http://www.oprah.com/oprahsbookclub/Author-Zadie-Smith-What-to-Read-This-Summer) Basically, Zadie discusses her “pathological reader syndrome,” in which she constantly feels the need to read. She explains that this feeling is heightened greatly in the summer, especially since she can “blend in” with the other readers on the beach. In the very last paragraph of this article, Zadie states,

“My name is Zadie Smith, and I am a 38-year-old pathological reader. I would like to say in my defense that I don’t really get the appeal of YOLO. I live many times over. Hypothetical, subterranean lives that run beneath the relative tedium of my own and have the power to occasionally penetrate or even derail it. I find it hard to name the one book that was so damn delightful it changed my life. The truth is, they have all changed my life, every single one of them—even the ones I hated. Books are my version of “experiences.” I’m made of them. But every summer I hope to take a book to a beach and pretend that it’s only an occasional thing, a seasonal indulgence, which will be put down come September, as I return, like any civilian, to real life.”

I love this article for a multitude of reasons, beginning with the simple fact that it’s written so incredibly well. I feel like I understand exactly what Zadie is feeling, because a) she expresses it with such clarity and b) I, too, experience what she’s going through. However, for me it is less of a “hope” to return to normal life after the summer- it is a fear. Every summer I try to read as much as physically possible because I know that I will be super busy come fall. But there’s always that lingering fear in the back of my mind that constantly asks: “But what if you don’t read at all?” This is a legitimate fear of mine: What if I get so caught up in the chaos of school and work and everything that I no longer have time to read? Reading is a part of me, as much as teaching is part of a teacher’s life and fitness is part of an athlete’s life. I am a reader, a lover of language and all things bookish, and therefore reading is very important to me. Not being able to do it would be absolutely dreadful. I applaud Zadie Smith for writing an article that is so accessible, understandable, clever, and brilliant. What are your thoughts on this article? Do you ever feel the way Zadie describes in the paragraph I quoted above? Let me know in the comments section below! Yours, HOLLY

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One thought on “in response to zadie smith.

  1. Pingback: elsewhere, one. | NutFreeNerd

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