Some of my favorite things to read are literacy narratives. Memoirs about books, they way people choose to read them and how they come into their own are the sorts of things I find myself going to in my free time. They encourage me to be a more careful reader and to think about my own approach to the texts I read.
I’m currently reading Zadie Smith’s Changing My Mind: Occasional Essays and I couldn’t have picked a better time to do so. My university is challenging, I’ve avoided this realization for a while now because I’ve always been told that “I’m smart,” “intelligent,” or whatever that means. My performance has, thus far, been to me a reflection of my intellectual capacity and consequently I’ve picked up some bad habits - like avoiding risks or actually doing work. And that’s worked for me so far. Good results with little effort. But in the end, who am I pulling one over? Not the professors who assigned texts for me to read, or the authors who I decided to “read against the grain” as a way to avoid engaging what was actually being said. I’m really just shortchanging myself.