Kali's Reviews > The Polysyllabic Spree

The Polysyllabic Spree by Nick Hornby
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's review
May 18, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: books-about-books, humor, memoir-and-autobiography, nonfiction, essays

Nick Hornby tapped into the minds of the rock-n-roll obsessed in his novel High Fidelity. He wrote about the all-consuming passion for soccer in his memoir Fever Pitch. Hornby also writes about another obsession in the British magazine Believer—his own obsession with reading. As long as you’re a reader of books you’ll find something to love in this collection of Hornby’s columns from September 2003 to November 2004. Each month, Hornby begins by listing books bought and books read. Then he writes (chats, really) about what he bought and what he read and what he thought about the lot. Hornby doesn’t read every book he buys. He doesn’t finish every book he begins. He wishes biographers didn’t feel the need to detail every moment of their subject’s lives—it would spare the reader a couple hundred pages. He relates with real feeling the depths of despair a reader can be plunged into when a really great book is completed—a book that can never again be experienced in the same way, and what can you follow that really great book up with anyway? He’s also routinely distracted from his reading by his children, his soccer team, the pub, and an enormous supply of very amusing anecdotes. In other words, he’s a reader just like the rest of us—he loves to read but he’s got a life that sometimes gets in the way. Warm, witty, informative and irresistible, Hornby’s essays are for the bibliophile in all of us. There are two more collections of Hornby’s Believer columns, Housekeeping vs. the Dirt published in 2006 and 2009’s Shakespeare Wrote for Money.

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