Thursday, February 23, 2006


I'm inserting a couple current books here before I dive back into the 1940s.

The Polysyllabic Spree, Nick Hornby, Believer Books, 2004, 140 pp
This was a totally fun read. My very cool sister-in-law from Seattle sent me a subscription to "The Believer Mag" for Christmas. Along with the first issue came two books; one was a book of interviews with writers which I am still making my way through and the other was this book. It is a collection of columns about reading which Hornby wrote for "The Believer" from September, 2003-November, 2004. (He still writes the column and it continues to be really good.)

Because I love reading about what other readers read and think and because I love Hornby's writing, which makes me smile and laugh out loud, I loved reading this slim volume. (He includes excerpts from several books. I hate excerpts, I don't read them anywhere and I didn't read them here.)

For each column, he lists the books he bought that month and then the books he actually read. He is another person who buys more books than he can possibly read. Then he does a quick bit of comments on each book, how it moved him (or n0t) and how it fit in with the rest of his life at the time. Somehow he manages to be witty, earnest and personal all at once.

I used to write a book column for a local paper where I would comment on all the books I read in a month. The editor (a singularly unimaginative, Rotary Club type) wanted me to scale it down to writing about only one or two books. Since I wasn't getting paid anyway, we parted ways. Well, hah, here is a famous writer doing the same thing in a hip magazine. I guess hip is the operative word here.

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