From Zadie Smith on Male Critics, Appropriation, and What Interests Her Novelistically About Trump, By Isaac Chotiner:
Do you feel that the internet changed your reading or writing habits?
It was. That’s why I had to stop. I totally admire people who carry on full tilt and are also able to read books. For me it was either/or. So I’ve chosen to be an old grump, or whatever I am now, less and less in touch because it’s important to me to continue reading. Also because I’m of my generation. The kids will do their own thing, and God bless them, but I’m writing primarily for the people who came up with me. And in order to keep my brain working fully, I need to not be on that.
I will lose something, absolutely. I will not understand what Snapchat is, probably never, but I will still read things in the way I read them and take my time when I’m trying to respond to something. I can’t get involved because I’m an addictive person and I can’t concentrate if I let that in.
You have a smartphone though, right?
No, I don’t have a smartphone. I have a flip phone, which is why I had to get you to ring here because it would’ve run out of its $30 pay-as-you-go if you’d rung me on it. [Laughs.]
Wow. That’s bold.
It is not bold! It’s not. That’s such a crazy thing to say. We lived our whole lives without this thing for so long. It’s not even interesting. It’s just what it is. I still have a laptop, it’s not like I’m a nun, I just don’t check my email every moment of the day in my pocket. That’s it. It’s not a big deal.
It makes almost no difference. The only thing I have to do, which is annoying, is before I go somewhere I have to print out a map on my printer from Google Maps. That’s it. That’s literally the only difference it makes to my life. Apart from that, I know what’s going on, I know the news, I can check it all on my laptop at bedtime. I find out everything, it’s all fine. When I’m with my children, I’m not thinking, Oh what happened on Twitter? That’s the big difference. I just want to be in my life, that’s it. I’m selfish that way. I love my life.