Melissa's Reviews > The Polysyllabic Spree

The Polysyllabic Spree by Nick Hornby
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Aug 01, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: nonfiction
Read in November, 2010

This collection of Hornby’s essays from the magazine The Believer, was beyond delightful. He writes about what books he bought each month and which ones he read. In anyone else’s hands that concept could be as dull as dirt, but Hornby makes you feel like you’ve just asked your friend, “So what have you been reading lately?”

He read a wide range of subjects in fiction, nonfiction, classics, etc. so there’s something for everyone. The funny thing was, it really wasn’t about the books themselves, it’s more about his personal reading experience. You can love his columns without ever picking up one of the books he mentions (though I evitably will).

It’s his humor and cheek that made this book so great. The way he describes reading is spot on and I couldn’t help laughing as I recognized myself in so many of his observations. Here are a few great ones…

“I don't reread books often; I'm too conscious of both my ignorance and my mortality.”

“When reading is going well, one book leads to another and to another, a paper trail of theme and meaning; and how, when it's going badly, when books don't stick or take, when your mood and the mood of the book are fighting like cats, you'd rather do anything but attempt the next paragraph or to reread the last one for the tenth time.”

“What you must do is work unceasingly, day and night, read constantly, study, exercise willpower... Every hour is precious.”
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