Saturday, 17 January 2009

The Complete Polysyllabic Spree by Nick Hornby

A book about books! How fantastic is that?! This is a collection of Nick Hornby's columns from the believer magazine in which he wrote about what books he bought each month, what he read each month and why. This is only slightly hampered by the policy that he should only say good things about a book, so if you really hate it, there's not a lot you can say about it!
Although I did add quite substantially to my tbr list from this book, the main pull that kept me reading was his hilarious writing. I could empathise so much with some of the things he said, and although I could virtually reproduce the whole book here to demonstrate this, I've tried really hard to keep it to just one!
I'm not entirely sure why I chose those two in particular, beyond the
usual attempts at reinvention that periodically seize one in a
bookstore. (When I am arguing with St Peter at the pearly gates, I am going to
tell him to ignore the books read column, and focus on the books bought
instead. 'This is really who I am I'll tell him'.

Its not a book of book reviews, or literary criticism or anything as serious or grown up as that. Its more like a friendly book chat with a mate! I think that's why its so readable. The general theme is that we should read because we want to, and therefore we should read what we want and not feel we have to read things that have 'literary' value. There seems to be no pattern to what Nick Hornby himself reads, except that it needs to be well written.
Its difficult to say much more about it, other than it made me chuckle to the point that I had to read it in the house to avoid strange looks from strangers, although I had to endure the strange looks from my children even in the house! Lol. Oh, and repeatedly in the introduction he emphasises the need to stop reading something if you 're not enjoying it. There really is no need to plough through something just because you've started it, or feel its 'worthy' reading, or everybody else is reading it! I really need to remember this.
Please, Please put it down! You'll never finish it. Start something else.


J. Kaye said...

I've not read anything by Nick Hornby, but I've heard good things. This sounds like a light and fun read!

Jo said...

It is. I don't like his fiction, but this made me laugh.