The way we read it

Having gone and analysed how I read books just recently, it’s surely not coincidental that I picked up Nick Hornby‘s The Complete Polysyllabic Spree as my latest bathroom reading while I plough through Dead Souls as my ‘day’ book. It’s a record of Hornby’s formidable reading habits over the last few years – putting my own meagre throughput to shame. He is a writer after all, and everyone knows writers don’t actually do any real work, so they have to fill their time somehow.

Anyway, it’s interesting to read how others analyse their progress, and I like Nick Hornby as a non-fiction writer. He explains in The Complete… that life’s too short to re-read books, and there’s to much to learn; and I agree. I don’t tend to read Hornby’s fiction therefore (sorry): I think I know what to expect and while I appreciate the obvious passion for music that went into High Fidelity, or the passion for football that went into Fever Pitch, I can’t understand why I would read About A Boy. Anyway. Maybe one day.

But 31 Songs was excellent: a blow-by-blow account of childhood, adolescence, and the defining moments of adult life (the material that provides the bulk in Hornby’s fiction), all presented via the medium of popular song. In his almost apologetic unapologeticness, Hornby presents and defends from the sublime to the ridiculous, and it’s the same trick as in The Complete…, and one I enjoy muchly. Almost a blog format, really…


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