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Ten Years in the Tub: A Decade Soaking in Great Books (Stuff I've Been Reading)

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  1,048 Ratings  ·  251 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Beth Sam Quixote's review says it's content from all four of those books, plus "there are some unpublished new columns included in this book. They cover…moreSam Quixote's review says it's content from all four of those books, plus "there are some unpublished new columns included in this book.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)

Community Reviews

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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.
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
Patti's Book Nook
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
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
May 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Nothing better than books about books!
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
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
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
Rassemblant les chroniques d'un lecteur généreux, éparpillé, perpétuellement dépassé par toutes les histoires qui dorment encore dans sa bibliothèque, Ten Years in the Tub est une grosse brique qui se lit mieux quand on prend le temps de l'égrainer tranquillement, morceau par morceau. Enthousiaste & pas snob pour une cenne, Nick Hornby dépogne la littérature de ses monumentalités & la ramène à ce qu'on souhaiterait toujours qu'elle soit : de bonnes histoires bien racontées -- peu importe ...more
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
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 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
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: essays, literature, humor
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.
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
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
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.
Gavin Breeden
Jun 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016-reads, 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
Aug 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I've been a Nick Hornby fan since High Fidelity, and when I discovered his books column in The Believer several years ago, I was all in. So when I saw that all of those columns -- ten years of 'em -- had been collected, I marched over to the library and reserved a copy. And, it's been great. Even the columns I had read before were good to read again. It's probably a sign of how much of a reader I am that I can happily read a 400+ page book about what someone's been reading for the last ten years ...more
Feb 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I found this book entirely engaging and delightful. It did take me almost 2 years to get through the whole thing. I thought it would be great to read one column each night before going to bed but I could never get myself on that schedule so instead I would read a few at one go and then put the book down for months before picking it up again. This month I really wanted to move it off my bedside table to make room for other books I've been neglecting so I sort of powered through and read a handful ...more
Dec 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I don't enjoy Nick Hornby's fiction. I don't share much of his taste in books, and I don't even particularly agree with all his philosophies about reading, writing, etc. But there's just something addictive about his Believer column that's kept me reading over the past ten years, something enjoyable about getting a glimpse into someone's life through the literary company they keep. Hornby does raise some excellent points, too, about how one's life can affect their experience with the book they'r ...more
Jun 18, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016-reads
I read Hornby's 2003-2008 installments in the first three bound collections and in The Believer, back in the days before I joined Goodreads. (I use GR as a diary of my reading since Jan 2011.) I'd intended to simply pick up with Hornby's May 2010 installments (published in More Baths, Less Talking + a couple bonus months here), but Jess Walter's admiring and amusing introduction inspired me to begin again from the top. I'm skimming over the football yammerings this time.
Kris Springer
Nov 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
More and more, I'm convinced that voice--the individual talking to you in fiction or nonfiction, is the make it-break it of writing. This book was such a pleasure to read, because Hornby's sometimes serious, fun -loving, honest & honorable voice kept making me laugh, nod in agreement, and add more titles to my To Read list. Most of all, I love that one of Hornby's main theses is that the reader gets to choose what she loves--not critics , not snobby friends--just the reader.
Dec 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is a book about reading. The thing I found so fascinating about this book was how different Hornby's taste in books is from mine, and yet how much I related to what he wrote about what he read. The guy could barely stand to touch a sci-fi or fantasy book, but I still felt like he was someone I'd want to talk to about what I was reading.
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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
More about Nick Hornby

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)
  • More Baths, Less Talking (Stuff I've Been Reading #4)

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“When I'm arguing with St. Peter at the Pearly Gates, I'm 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.” 3 likes
“I see now that dismissing YA books because you're not a young adult is a little bit like refusing to watch thrillers on the ground that you're not a policeman or a dangerous criminal...The world suddenly seems a larger place.” 3 likes
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