320 pages; Penguin
Best known for her multifaceted fiction, Zadie Smith now has her first collection of essays, Changing My Mind, warmly insightful pieces that tease apart knotty strands of human experience. She writes about racial and ethnic identity (or, in her own case, multiple identities), about how writers read one another. She has an uncanny eye for detail, on the streets of Liberia or at an Oscar gala in Los Angeles. Among this book's diverse pleasures, a stunningly precise anatomy of Greta Garbo: "You don't put the sphinx in a swimsuit.… She would be myth or nothing at all."