Hanya Yanagihara

Shelf life: novelist Hanya Yanagihara on living with 12,000 books | The Guardian:

Yanagihara may love her apartment, but she doesn’t love New York. “I hate it, and more with each year,” she says. “The reason you stay here is for the thrill of constantly encountering people who are smarter and more interesting than you. But almost everything else about the city – the weather, the poor infrastructure, the overpriced and mediocre food scene, the subway system, the traffic, the idea that what you do is who you are – grates.”

Here’s the first question we ask kids of a certain age: “what do you want to do when you grow up?” Inevitably, the answer comes in the form of an occupation.

So this is not a question about what kind of person the child wishes to become, no. Rather, the rote call-and-response tells a truth about American thought: your job is who you are.

Yanagihara is right: reject that notion.

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