Kathy's Reviews > The Polysyllabic Spree

The Polysyllabic Spree by Nick Hornby
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May 18, 11

Read from April 20 to 23, 2011

Tuesday night found me at a Shell station on the outskirts of Nashville, Tennessee. I was filling up my tank before heading back to my hotel to curl up in a warm bed and crash. As I shivered in my too light for the 52° weather dress and sandals (it had been 30 degrees warmer when I started the day in Montgomery, Al), I yawned to remind myself of how completely beat I was and then immediately locked my keys in the car.

As I sank onto a gas station bench to wait for AAA (who were delayed due to some sort of accident which had turned a major interstate into a parking lot), I felt quite sorry for myself. Then I reached into my purse and pulled out The Polysyllabic Spree. 35 minutes later when the AAA guy arrived to rescue me, I was grinning ear to ear and marking my place in my book in markedly better spirits than I had been in before I had dived into it.

The Polysllabic Spree is a collection of essays that Nick Hornby wrote earlier this decade for The Beliver. I was completely entertained as Mr. Hornby related the details of his book reading and book buying habits for the each month. I loved that he got completely the joy of acquiring books, even when you have books everywhere and could probably never read them all if you bolted the front door and just chained yourself to the shelf. His reading tastes are quite eclectic and his writing in this is like that in his novels - breezy and fun.

The only complaint I have about the book is that due to The Believer's desire to be snark-free, books that Mr. Hornby did not care for are just referred to as abandoned literary novel, etc. I would have appreciated a warning! Quite a few of his positive reviews made me want to pick up that book right that minute and see if I loved it as well.

He spoke of a Biography of Richard Yates so glowingly that I wanted to read a book by Mr. Yates (Just the knowledge that Larry David dated his daughter, the model for Elaine in Seinfeld, was enough to pique my curiousity. The real Alton Benes, this I've got to see).

Coincidentally, I had a copy of Revolutionary Road tucked in my suitcase and so leapt in (to the book, not the suitcase). I have several more on the list from Mr. Hornby that have moved up to the top of my ever changing next to read list.

I would only change the lack of negative reviews. No need to be nasty, but it would have been nice to get a few "yikes, avoid this one!" warnings.

All in all, an entertaining book by a man who understands that "Books are, let's face it, better than everything else." Highly recommended for bibliophiles who don't just like books, but love them.

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Quotes Kathy Liked

Nick Hornby
“A couple of months ago, I became depressed by the realization that I'd forgotten pretty much everything I've ever read. I have, however, bounced back: I am now cheered by the realization that if I've forgotten everything I've ever read then I can read some of my favorite books again as if for the first time.”
Nick Hornby, The Polysyllabic Spree


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message 1: by Snotchocheez (new)

Snotchocheez The title of this book reminds me of the band Polyphonic Spree, who I very much love.


Kathy Funny. He calls the people who run the Believer (the mag he is writing these essays for) as the literary equivalent of Polyphonic Spree - dressed in white robes and smiling maniacally.


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