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More Baths, Less Talking

(Stuff I've Been Reading #4)

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  1,797 ratings  ·  326 reviews
“Read what you enjoy, not what bores you,” Nick Hornby tells us. That simple, liberating, and indispensable directive animates each installment of the celebrated critic and author’s monthly column in the Believer. In this delightful and never-musty tour of his reading life, Hornby tells us not just what to read, but how to read.

Whether tackling a dismayingly bulky biograph
Paperback, 135 pages
Published August 7th 2012 by McSweeney's, Believer Books
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3.90  · 
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 ·  1,797 ratings  ·  326 reviews

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Richard Derus
Nov 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
This review can now be found at Shelf Inflicted!
Jul 25, 2012 rated it liked it
At first I was going to give this fourth collection of Nick Hornby's columns from The Believer four stars. I enjoyed it and found myself even chuckling out loud a few times in public will reading it. But as I thought about the book, I realized that I didn't enjoy it as much as the two previous collections I'd read, or maybe I enjoyed it more (I'm not really sure if there was out loud chucking done when I read the others, it's been a while), but the two previous collections inspired me to want to ...more
Sam Quixote
Aug 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I was surprised to hear Nick Hornby had another book of "Stuff I've Been Reading" columns as he said the previous one, "Shakespeare Wrote for Money", would be the last of them (not a bad decision as I felt it was tired and unenthusiastic). More surprising was that when I decided to buy it, I really enjoyed reading it. It's like running into an old friend after a few years apart and it turns out you both have a lot to talk about - or in this case, one person has a lot to say and the other wants t ...more
I effing love these columns of Hornby's, both because they are laugh-out loud funny and because they direct me to buy books I might not have picked up otherwise. (Thanks to this newest collection I've already picked up the Montaigne bio How to Live, as well as Michael Ondaatje's book-length interview with the great Walter Murch, The Conversations, the latter of which I may actually already own, but unearthing it from the box buried at the back of the closet would be such hardship that shelling o ...more
Aug 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
I read the other books in this series slower, usually one column a night, in order to make the books last longer. This one I read straight through, not for any particular reason, just because I wanted to.

I always appreciate Hornby's humor and sincerity, and I always come away with at least one recommendation that I want to read right away. This time I think I read more of the same books that he had than ever before, and it was interesting to compare our reactions.
Oct 14, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2016
This is the first nonfiction I read by Nick Hornby. This is a collection of his column about books and his reading and reviews of them that was published in the Believer.

He describes the books that he bought and read during 2011.

It's simple and anyone who loves books would enjoy the wit and sometimes the insight that Hornby provide.
Oct 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
I've always said that I prefer Hornby's non-fiction to his fiction. He himself has the self-awareness, maturity and wry self-criticism that his characters always lack. Reading the collection of his essays written for the Believer Literary magazine about the books that he bought and read each month (where there was often little overlap between the books that were bought and read) gives one the distinct pleasure of inhabiting his world. His messy home with non-perfect children; his interests in ev ...more
Kaethe Douglas
What does it say about me that I've already read this, and didn't realize it?

Nick Hornby's memoirs of reading as published in the Believer each month are my favorite writing about reading. I read the new collections as they're released and come back to them, either because my memory is so bad I forgot I already read them, or because they are awesome: take your pick.



My reading taste doesn't overlap all that much with Hornby. Nonetheless, I love his writing, especially his writing abo
Oct 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
So much fun to read. Nick Hornby is one of my absolute favorite authors. He just has a voice I find both eminently readable and highly intelligent, which is not usually the case. These columns succeed because Hornby makes me interested in books that I would never read (the Kynaston histories) or reminded me of books I already meant to read, but then forget about (the Montaigne biography and the Batuman).

I read this to give myself a break from a book that I was increasingly not enjoying. I found
Nov 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
Nick Hornby writes a column on and off, 'Stuff I've Been Reading", for The Believer magazine, and this is another book in a series collecting those columns.
Each month the column starts with the list of books bought the past month, and the list of books read.
They don't often overlap. And the former list is invariably longer than the latter. So already I know I like this guy. He too has problems controlling his book buying. (I wonder what the bibliophile equivalent of 'my eyes are bigger than my b
Tamsin Barlow
Aug 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
Nick Hornby I kiss your shiny bald head in gratitude for making me so happy as I read this book. xxxxx
Nov 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: in-en, 2016, non-fiction
It's time you guys read Hornby's nonfiction. No kidding.
Lesley Potts
Sep 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After recently watching the new Nick Hornby movie, “Juliet, Naked” I checked when I had read the novel. In doing so I discovered a few more of his books I hadn’t read and ended up with this little gem, only because it was available as a Kindle read from my local library. The title refers to a book he read and reviewed for an arty journal I had never heard of. Hornby wrote (still may for all I know) a column in which he listed the books he had bought that month and the books he had read, or partl ...more
I will readily admit that one reason I read this book is because I'm trying to reach my 2012 reading goal with just a week left in the year and not a whole lot of time to read while studying for the bar. The Kindle Edition clocks in at 146 pages so, y'know, in terms of length, it's ideal. The other reason I read this book in particular, as opposed to other shorter books on my to-read shelf, was because I was craving a book about books, and the others I truly want to read were inaccessible to me ...more
Aug 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Nick Hornby's collections of Believer columns should come with warning labels: 'Reading this book will severely damage your budget and transform your house into an uninhabitable maze of teetering stacks of books waiting to be read.' The hazards are only slightly mitigated by opting to do your reading on an ereading device. The monetary sink hole is about the same, many of the books he promotes are only available in paper form, and you may download so many that you will consume all available stor ...more
Nov 06, 2012 rated it liked it
Hornby has to be one of my favorite authors. And while I think article compilations-turned-books are a total cop-out, I still enjoyed it. (I think I just feel bad for the people that actually spend money on stuff like this. Not me, library all the way!) If only because I had not read this stuff before. And I am a nerd, I like reading book reviews sometimes, even though I know a lot of people don't. That is just the time in my life I am in at the moment. This book is a collection of articles that ...more
Aug 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
Hooray for Nick Hornby's return to this series. In his last outing ("Shakespeare Wrote for Money") he bid farewell to his fans but fortunately he's baaack! In this hilarious listing of books bought and read, similarly afflicted readers will nod their heads as they read about Hornby's fevered purchases and feeble attempts to read everything. His pithy yet meaty notes on the books he does manage to finish are worth twice the price of the book itself. Keep pen and paper handy as you will be jotting ...more
Sep 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
Oh Nick Hornby, you've done it again! I was positively giddy when I read that he was back to doing his Believer column, so I snatched up More Baths, Less Talking as soon as it was available. While nothing will ever quite replace my love for the original (The Polysyllabic Spree), I still read this almost in one sitting, added five books to my "to read" list because of it, and dog-eared pages with lovely sections like the following: "Surely we all occasionally buy books because of a daydream we're ...more
Nov 06, 2016 added it
Shelves: 2016
I don't think I'll give this delightful, small, collection of columns about reading published in Believer a rating. Nick Hornby wrote a column about books he was reading and his narrative voice is funny and properly reassuring. I'll be reading the full volume of this at some point. Carry on, keep reading through all our troubles, is my takeaway.
Julie Bestry
Oct 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
This makes the third of four of Nick Hornby's collected "Stuff I've Been Reading" columns for The Believer Magazine that I've read. I loved The Polysyllabic Spree and Housekeeping vs. the Dirt, which I own in paperback, but couldn't quite bring myself to splurge on the third edition, Shakespeare Wrote for Money the last collection before Hornby ceased writing the column. (I kept thinking I'd get around to it.) I wasn't even aware that he'd returned to his column in The Believer, let alone that ...more
I have a confession to make: I read this book because I was short, and when you're trying to make progress on an enormous pile of to-read books, the satisfaction of getting to check a bunch of short things off the list exceeds the sense of accomplishment of reading one giant tome. I feel comfortable making this confession because Hornby himself talks about how, once he became a book reviewer, he ceased to read anything over 500 pages, because he didn't want readers of his column to feel cheated ...more
May 03, 2018 rated it liked it
Honestly, I would have never, NEVER picked this book to read had it not been a book club selection - with the topic being, a book about books. There is just something I don't enjoy learning about if I know I am never going to read / do it, so I often tune it out. Especially with so much time since the book was published, some of his comments were very dated and didn't apply. Though he referenced the North and South Korean conflict and this was very timing to hear his take on it at that time. The ...more
Jun 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
I love reading and I love Nick Hornby, so why wouldn't I love another book about the stuff he reads? Honestly, I think I would read a menu and give it 4 stars if he wrote it. :)
I was pleasantly surprised to see Nick Hornby had a new of collection of his Believer Magazine essays about books and reading. I admit I've never seen or held an issue of Believer, so was unaware that Hornby was back writing this column after a few/couple (?) years break. I may have sensed a bit of fatigue in his last collection (Shakespeare Wrote For Money), but he is back in strong form here.

To really enjoy these essays, you have to be a major league book geek and it further helps if you are j
Ann Appley
Jul 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
Although I am a longtime fan of Hornby, I nevertheless had reservations about reading a collection of articles rather than a novel. One might fear that it would feel disjointed and lack flow, which is reasonable given the fact that each "chapter" is written a month apart and concerns a completely different subject. Another apprehension I had was that I, as a not-so-avid reader, wouldn't relate to a series of essays devoted entirely to reading books. I guess that I, as someone who doesn't read to ...more
Feb 21, 2013 rated it liked it
This is a 3.5 star book. Hornby has written some very entertaining novels, and this collection of witty essays about books he has read recently gives him room to roam onto various topics. The columns originally appeared in The Believer (

He also offers some fun insights into his own life and how he picks the books he chooses to read in his limited free time. For example, he writes about why he tends to select short books:

"...long, slow books can have a disastrous, demoralizi
Apr 05, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: essays
collected from author's column in believer magazine. he typically reads 4 books or so a month and then tries to humorously and appealingly review them for the readership. while his reviews are not super detailed or even coherent (i can relate) he does try to be kind and let readers know why it could be a good read.
i think he might be better served to write a whole book of more thought-out reviews (music too) as he has had plenty of practice now with his believer gig.
these were from may 2010-dec
Christopher Culp
Aug 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
As with the three prior books that are compilations of Hornby's column in "The Believer," his latest addition is informative, witty (indeed, often laugh-out-loud funny), and insightful. I always buy a few new books to read when I finish these Believer books , and this time is no different. (Like Hornby, my own "books purchased" do not always equate to my "books read," but, also like Hornby, I like to think I will read them at the time I acquire them!) I'm not generally someone who reads either l ...more
Aug 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Nick Hornby makes me want to buy a subscription to the Believer, a magazine about which I know nothing except that he writes their book reviews, kind of. His columns are more about his relationship to the things he reads, the context of reading in his life, and less about dissecting plot points. One could say they’re not really reviews because the point is rarely about the actual book. He rarely has an ill word to say about the books he’s read. It’s about his feeling about a book, how it fits, h ...more
Nov 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-on-books
Hornby's book discussions are are the best. I followed him for years in The Believer and I was delighted to find this newer one. I have all his books and have never been without a To Read list because of him (and a few others). Each essay starts with two lists: Books Bought and Books Read. The two don't necessarily overlap but his discussions of what he did read are always witty and deliciously subjective.
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Nick Hornby is the author of the novels A Long Way Down, Slam, How to Be Good, High Fidelity, and About a Boy, and the memoir Fever Pitch. He is also the author of Songbook, a finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award, Shakespeare Wrote for Money, and The Polysyllabic Spree, as well as the editor of the short-story collection Speaking with the Angel. He is a recipient of the American Acade ...more

Other books in the series

Stuff I've Been Reading (4 books)
  • The Polysyllabic Spree
  • Housekeeping vs. the Dirt
  • Shakespeare Wrote for Money (Stuff I've Been Reading, #3)
“Several months later, and I have finally read one of the three (books), even though I wanted to read all three of them immediately. What happened in between? Other books, is what happened. Other books, other moods, other obligations, other appetites, other reading journeys.” 12 likes
“No time spent with a book is ever entirely wasted, even if the experience is not a happy one: there’s always something to be learned. It’s just that, every now and again, you hit a patch of reading that makes you feel as if you’re pootling about… But what can you do about it? We don’t choose to waste our reading time; it just happens. The books let us down.” 9 likes
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