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Ten Years in the Tub: A Decade Soaking in Great Books

(Stuff I've Been Reading)

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  1,279 ratings  ·  290 reviews
At the end of 2003, as the first issue of The Believer was rising from the primordial ooze, Nick Hornby turned in the inaugural installment of a monthly column that immediately became a reader favorite. For the next ten years, Hornby’s incandescently funny "Stuff I’ve Been Reading” chronicled a singular reading life — one that is measured not just in "books bought” and "bo ...more
Hardcover, 464 pages
Published December 3rd 2013 by McSweeney's, Believer Books (first published November 1st 2013)
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Beth Sam Quixote's review says it's content from all four of those books, plus "there are some unpublished new columns included in this book. They cover Ja…moreSam Quixote's review says it's content from all four of those books, plus "there are some unpublished new columns included in this book. They cover January 2012 to June 2013, or, to be precise, 58 new pages (and a 5 page intro by Jess Walter)."(less)

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Dec 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
It is testament to how much I enjoy reading Nick Hornby's thoughts on his reading life that I read the entire book cover to cover even though I had read a vast majority of it in other forms. Hornby has one of the best voices in one of my favorite genres, books about books. ...more
Sam Quixote
Sep 25, 2014 rated it it was ok
In September 2003, Nick Hornby’s first Stuff I’ve Been Reading column was printed in The Believer magazine. It had two lists at the start: Books Bought and Books Read (which never synced up!), followed by reviews of the books read in Hornby’s inimitable, charming style. This omnibus edition collects all of the columns published since then up to June 2013 (so it’s technically almost 10 years, but not quite!).

A lot of this material has been published before in four previous books: The Polysyllabic
Mar 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-bookstores
[3.5 stars] This book has been good bedtime company for me over the last few weeks. The book is a collection of 10 years of columns from an English magazine. Hornby is an enthusiastic, funny, honest, generous reader -these are not your standard stuffy reviews. I loved how much Hornby loves books. Each column starts with a list of the books he bought that month and then a list of the books read. Usually they don't match - which I appreciated. Like me, he is an aspirational book buyer.

Hornby love
Jill Mackin
Nothing better than books about books!
Dec 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I had crazy amounts of fun with this book! Most of the time I knew very little about his subject matter- whether it be music, Arsenal football, or books. I'm either too daft (haha- I inserted something British) and haven't heard of them or they haven't been as successful/ published across the pond. Every few entries I would feel extremely proud if I had also read the particular novel. I enjoyed Hornby's witty style so much I forced myself to take it slow (the constant searching of Goodreads for ...more
Aug 02, 2014 rated it liked it
Full disclosure, I did not "read", I skimmed for the books he'd read that I had interest in. This is the collected form of a series published online. I was biased in that I think the movies from Hornby's books are mediocre and I'm still trying to appreciate British humour (it always seems to cute, to "precious", though highly "clever" as they say). What I enjoyed about this book is its honesty and freshness and a few insights: For example, some books are unfairly rated and reviewed because they ...more
Mar 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
What a marvelous book for people who love to read! I've been a Hornby fan since I read "High Fidelity," years ago. (Hint: the John Cusack movie is good, but the book is infinitely more delicious.) But I had no idea he'd been writing a column in "The Believer" magazine called "Stuff I've Been Reading." Which, I've come to believe, is precisely what all book reviews should be: impressionistic, irregular, non-linear. You know, fun.

Hornby has been writing this column monthly for 10 years, with occas
Kaethe Douglas
May 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Ten Years in the Tub: A Decade Soaking in Great Books - Nick Hornby  It took me forever to read because I had to stop at least once per page to add something to The List, or to move something else higher, or to request something from the library. Hornby is a much bigger fan of literary fiction than I and he isn't a fan of genre (I know, right?) But I love his reviews like no one else's. It's ten years in the life of someone who loves to read, so it's all familiar, but written by a humorous pro. ...more
Sharon Barrow Wilfong
Feb 09, 2021 rated it did not like it
I was attracted to reading a book by someone who lists all the books he's bought and read each month. I thought, "Oh good. Someone like me. I feel affirmed."

The books he bought were not books I would buy or read, but that's OK.

He has an autistic son and felt the portrayal of a boy with Asbergers in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time was not realistic. I agree with that, even though having an autistic son doesn't make you an expert, but he was mostly griping about getting so many b
Mar 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I have read this book--well, if you include its original form as the separate volumes The Polysyllabic Spree, Housekeeping vs. the Dirt, Shakespeare Wrote for Money, and More Baths, Less Talking--more times than even Nick Hornby would think is reasonable. But it's made up of columns, and every column is made up of funny, light, insightful bits of book discussion, which makes it easy to take in in bite-sized chunks over breakfast or in random dead spaces during the day. I don't have to explain my ...more
May 18, 2020 rated it liked it
I gotta say, for the longest time I didn't care for Nick Hornby's "Stuff I've Been Reading" column. For one, our reading tastes are wildly different. We just don't have much in common in general, as I also don't share his obsession with football (the real kind, not American football) or obscure music.

So I think it was really just the boredom of these quarantine days which made me pick up this behemoth - a collection of his columns over several years. In the end, I even liked it. The thing about
Dec 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
"Ten Years in the Tub" by Nick Hornby is inspirational! Hornby's clever, funny, easy tone makes you want to read practically every book he mentions, and makes you feel like he has taken you into his confidence. Suddenly it seems reasonable to think that I could write a blog about books. His easy tone, his natural humor, his taste and range all make it appear that reading and reviewing books is a snap! One just says what one is thinking and it will undoubtedly be brilliant. Or not. Anyway, read t ...more
Dec 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Re-read 7/15/19
Re-read 4/26/18
Re-read 5/22/16
Re-read 3/1/15

Fantastic. I prefer Hornby's columns over his fiction, but I will read anything he writes. And I just love his ideas on reading, art, and creativity. A few essays were repeats since I recently read More Baths, Less Talking. However, my only complaint with this book was that it had to end. 3/3/14
Meghan Burke
Dec 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved everything about this book, even as I confess to skipping a few (but just a few!!) chapters/months whose lists didn’t grab me for no other reason than that I’d been reading it too long. I’m not sure it’s the kind of book one would read singularly anyway. It was the perfect sand to fill around other (mostly great) books I also read during these 6 weeks. Bought a copy for a friend, since the copy I read was borrowed.
Chris Waterford
Jan 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a delight this book was. I love Nick Hornby as an author anyway and coupled with entertaining and detailed book reviews which are a great guide to new authors and books, this collection of reviews is close to my reading heaven. It has inspired me to subscribe to "The Believer". ...more
Jun 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Every so often when I was at the library with my mom, she'd yank this off the shelf and hand it to me. I'd nod and smile... finally the third time I decided there must be a reason it kept talking to her. I do love Nick Hornby and I love reading, so how could I go wrong? Well, exactly. As anticipated, it's hilarious, and one of those books I can dive into again later.

Jenny (Reading Envy) has a shelf about books on books. I can see, especially this year when I've already read so many, that I'm pro
Jun 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: keepers
This was the first book I've read by Nick Hornby, but I was so delighted by his style, insights, and humor that I am already reading a second and will continue to look for his work. I have to confess that I did not quite finish this collection of essays because I had reached my renewal limit at the library, but I know I can return to this wonderful volume later to finish up the last couple of years of essays which I missed. My enjoyment did not lessen because I had to allow another reader access ...more
Oct 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books
It's a testament to how much I love Nick Hornby that I was thrilled to get this book - even after I realized that the first 200 or so pages are reproduced from two previous collections which I already own. The essays, originally published in The Believer, begin with lists of "books bought" and "books read," and though I definitely added a few entries to my own "to read" list, the collection is more than that. It's just so comforting to know that there are so many good books, and that smart, funn ...more
Nov 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Welp, there's a reason Nick Hornby is the most read author on my shelves according to Goodreads. Sadly, I have pretty much given up on his fiction but I love love love the essays he writes called Stuff I've Been Reading for the magazine The Believer. I had already read some of the essays before in his other collections but they were still good on rereading. And it was fun seeing the books on my TBR list and remembering that they got there due to Nick Hornby. I wish he would write more of these. ...more
Margaret Heller
May 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: humor, literature, essays
This is ten years of collected book reviews by Nick Hornby, and while I've read all the individual volumes I really appreciated getting to read them again in this giant compendium. His way of reading and talking about books really speaks to me, and as one of the blurbs on the cover says, this is a book that will make you excited about reading more books. And it did! I am maybe even going to break out of my non-fiction rut and actually read some serious fiction. Maybe even Charles Dickens. ...more
Rebekah Franklin
Jan 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Better as a reference of interesting things to read. I read it in about a week, which was more like eating too many cookies at once. It was a 10 year stroll in the reading mind of Nick Hornby. Moderation! Pace yorselves! Interesting to see how many of the books were made into movies. If I were more disciplined I might make graphs and charts, but it is time to step away from the cookie jar.
Jul 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Nick Hornby. Although our reading interests and tastes are not identical (I like history and old novels way, way more than he does, and I have no interest whatsoever in sport), they overlap a lot (domestic fiction, biography, film and music history), and our reading lives are similarly eclectic and prone to distraction (I envy people who can be very disciplined and focussed in their reading lives [and in the rest of their lives, for that matter], but I often rea ...more
We Are All Mad Here
Dear Mr. Hornby, if you are out there: I WOULD HAVE TOLD YOU ABOUT MYSTIC RIVER.

I loved this book. I feel like I should laugh more, and Ten Years in the Tub: A Decade Soaking in Great Books helped me to make pretty good progress on that front. At one point my 10-year-old son said, "Mom, stop, what's so funny?" Secretly I thought - he'll never get this, really, this is such sophisticated humor - and it was over his objections I read him the part that was so funny. Spoiler alert: HE LAUGHED TOO.

Jan 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Such a fantastic book! If you don't finish this with a list of titles to seek out, something is not right with you. Hornby is so good at writing about popular culture, whether it be soccer, or music, or here, books. There's a wonderful ongoing razzing of the policies at The Believer, the magazine (that most of us probably haven't read) where these essays were originally published. Perhaps just a tiny bit long for reading in one fell swoop, I would recommend reading three or four columns, then pu ...more
Ryan Fohl
A lovely read. You would think something so specific and indulgent, one person’s reading life, could be a slog but Nick Hornsby is such a great writer and every entry has effective humor. Insights into reading or art abound. This has improved my reading life and pointed me toward some new books. Oh just because I read this don’t presume I’m going to read all of your book reviews Goodreads community.

What I learned: I had to look a lot of new words up in the dictionary. Words like “oast house” a b
Kristen Shupe
Apr 07, 2017 rated it liked it
This book was a tough read for me. About halfway through, I decided I would either stop reading it altogether or just read about the books that interested me. It was tedious at times, and just didn't peak my interest. Many of the books on his list were over my head making me feel a bit inept. It's a book that's not for everybody , but I did get a long list of books to add to by "want to read" list. Which was what I was after in the first place. ...more
Jan 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Nick Hornby is responsible for one of my favorite books, and one of my favorite movies (both High Fidelity), and binge-reading his mostly-monthly columns on what he’s been reading lately was a hoot. Reading this right on the heels of Book Girl was not on purpose, but it also wasn’t an unpleasant sequence of events. While the two authors come from completely opposite viewpoints, there is plenty of common ground in the celebration of reading for knowledge, leisure, personal growth, and pure pleasu ...more
Gavin Breeden
Jun 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I've been in a reading slump for over a year now. I've started a lot of books but only finished a handful in the last 18 months. There are probably a lot of reasons (both professional and personal) to account for this but, ultimately, I'd just didn't have that reading itch. What could I do to revive my once great passion for pleasure reading?

Well, I remembered reading Nick Hornby's brilliant column "Stuff I've Been Reading" in The Believer magazine back in 2012 and getting some good recommendati
Jack Wolfe
Sep 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book is a blast. It's about the most agreeable damn thing I've ever read, actually... But it's ambitious, too, in its own humble, funny way. Nick Hornby is a self-aware and self-deprecating guy, so you'd probably never hear him describe his Believer column as anything other than its title: a collection of "Stuff [he's] Been Reading." Each column is usually as as wry and casual as that description, and "Ten Years in the Tub" probably has more good jokes per page than any I've ever read (well ...more
Amanda Bolderston
Jun 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is a collection of 10 years of Hornby's book reviews for the Believer - an indie US arts magazine. A great book for book lovers to dip into to discover new authors, genres and snigger at Nick Hornby's acidic prose (or as acidic as he is allowed to get at the Believer). Consequences of reading this book so far: 1. I plan to read more Dickens (and Anne Tyler!) 2. I added about 30 great-sounding books to my Goodreads "want to read" list 3. I don't feel as bad about buying books that pile up ne ...more
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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
  • More Baths, Less Talking

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