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download Reading The Polysyllabic SpreeAuthor Nick Hornby –

The Polysyllabic Spree Is The First Title In The Believer Book Series, Which Collects Essays By And Interviews With Some Of Our Favorite Authors George Saunders, Zadie Smith, Michel Houellebecq, Janet Malcolm, Jim Shepard, And Haruki Murakami, To Name A Few In His Monthly Column Stuff I Ve Been Reading , Nick Hornby Lists The Books He S Purchased And The Books He S Read That Month They Almost Never Overlap And Briefly Discusses The Books He S Actually Read The Polysyllabic Spree Includes Selected Passages From The Novels, Biographies, Collections Of Poetry, And Comics Discussed In The Column

10 thoughts on “The Polysyllabic Spree

  1. says:

    So, I have this Dunkin Donuts receipt that I was using for a place mark for this book It s from March 14th and it s for 3 iced coffees and now it s torn and there s a gaping hole right over the total, it looks like it got wet at some point There are numbers written all over it, some circled, some underlined, some with exclamation points There s something sticky on the edge I was number 750 I sort of feel like that right now It did a really good job holding my spot twss and it didn t complain or get lost or anything I ran out of space to write on it so I had to switch to a cleaner note pad piece of paper and yet it stuck with me because it knew that I would need it someday Let s start at the first number 25 I reread Stop Time because Frank Conroy is so eloquent and moving about books and their power at the end of Stone Reader I don t reread books very often I m too conscious of both my ignorance and my mortality But when I tried to recall anything about it other than its excellence, I failed Maybe there was something about a peculiar stepfather Or was that This Boy s Life And I realized that, as this is true of just about every book I consumed between the ages of say fifteen and forty, I haven t even read the books I think I ve read I can t tell you how depressing this is What s the fucking point Well said, Nick This is why we are soul mates You may not know that right now You may sit in your flat in London listening to music and reading emails and such, drinking tea and watching your children play Maybe you should close your drapes in case someone is watching You are oblivious that I am the one for you I am the Annie Wilkes to your Paul Sheldon You dirty dirty bird Nick used to write a column for something called The Believer It sounds like a magazine or something, I don t care He writes about books that he s purchased and books that he s read each month Hmmm sounds somewhat familiar except, like, he gets paid for it How many reviews have I read over my 3 years here on GR What did I do before GR Scan the NYTBR Not really Okay, sometimes but, this this beautiful community has expanded my vistas I have 409 books on my to read shelf How awesome is that I know that GR gets a lot of flack, mainly from within too many vote whores, too many silly reviews that have nothing to do with the book, too many pictures, too many cliques, yadda yadda yadda As Steppenwolf once sang Nothing is like it used to be So what It is what it is Lifehouse and I like it I am guilty of many of the aforementioned grumblings and I don t care And I really like that Nick Hornby likes to do it heh too Oh forgive me Paul for prattling away and making everything all oogy I recently wrote a review for Julie Orringer s How to Breathe Underwater a collection of short stories I stammered and driveled throughout it Nick read it too and this little summary Orringer writes about things that everyone writes about youth, friendship, death, grief, etc but her narrative settings are fresh and wonderfully knotty So, while her themes are as solid and recognizable as oak trees, the stuff growing on the bark you ve never seen before BAM God, I love you This, by the way, is the only book he reviews that I ve read I m such a lacking stalker Next number 58 One of the reasons I wanted to write this column, I think, is that because I assumed that the cultural highlight of my month would arrive in book form, and that s true, for probably eleven months of the year Books are, let s face it, better than everything else If we played Cultural Fantasy Boxing League, and made books go fifteen rounds in the ring against the best that any other art form had to offer, then book would win pretty much every time Go on, try it The Magic Flute v Middlemarch Middlemarch in six The Last Supper v Crime and Punishment Fyodor on points See I mean, I don t know how scientific this is, but it feels like the novels are walking it MISERY IS ALIVE MISERY IS ALIVE Oh, this whole house is going to be full of romance Oooooh I M GOING TO GO PUT ON MY LIBERACE RECORDS Don t fight it, Nick It s like the fates have spoken, my love 97 I am, I think, a relatively passive reader, when it comes to fiction If a novelist tells me that something happened, then I tend to believe him, as a rule In his memoir Experience, Martin Amis recalls his father, Kingley, saying that he found Virginia Woolf s fictional world wholly contrived when reading her he found that he kept interpolating hostile negatives, murmuring Oh no she didn t or Oh no he hadn t or Oh no it wasn t after each and every authorial proposition I only do that when I m reading something laughably bad Ok, there s a difference between passive and passion I only passionately throw books against walls and yell at characters who do stupid things It s because I CARE This is why I love this site, because people write with enthusiasm and it s not all textbooky and crap This is what I love about this collection The ranting about football and why finishing David Copperfield left you feeling bereft There s always MORE to the story because we are self centered narcissists And that s okay 125 I don t have the wall space or the money for all the art I would want, and my house is a shabby mess, ruined by children But with each passing year, and with each whimsical purchase, our libraries become and able to articulate who we are, whether we read the books or not Maybe that s not worth the thirty odd quid I blew on those collections of letters, admittedly, but it s got to be worth something, right I don t feel so guilty that I have a whole bookcase of un read books or that I haven t read Dickens yet or that I still go to the library every week and I still look forward to sharing my thoughts with this wacky ass community on GR Wow, this was as rewarding as a shrink session The weight has been lifted, Nick Grumblers grumble on I ve been vindicated, time to get another iced coffee.

  2. says:

    This is for the true bibliophile for those I can t stop buying new books even though I have piles unread at home types a group to which I happily claim membership Nick Hornby spent a little over a year analyzing his reading habits what he bought, what he started and couldn t finish, what he loved and each month printed an article in the Believer magazine with his musings I was hesitant at first to read the collected articles because I though I d have to have Nick Hornby s taste in books whatever that is What I found was a surprisingly insightful look at the love of reading I found myself dog earing pages to read passages on the phone to my father my bibliophile role model , or to remind myself of books that sounded interesting damn you, Nick Hornby, for encouraging my habit He really sums the whole thing up when he says, I suddenly had a little epiphany all the books we own, both read and unread, are the fullest expression of self we have at our disposal Indeed I highly encourage you to add this one to your collection.

  3. says:

    How is it that I ve never read any Nick Hornby before I feel like I ve been missing out, and now want to thrust this book at everyone I know and to steal a quote from the book itself declare, This is me I always thought Hornby would be too dick lit for my tastes I did see the film versions of High Fidelity and About a Boy, but even those were just okay for me When I saw Kim was reading this, and realized it was a book about books, those are my weakness , I thought I d give it a shot I loved it Loved it even though I now have even books on my to read list thanks a lot, Nick I was amazed at how funny and smart Hornby s writing was, and finished it in one sitting.Are his novels as good as his nonfiction

  4. says:

    Nick Hornby begins his book with the month of Sept 2003, listing on the left the 10 books he acquired that month a few Salingers, a couple of biographies, some poetry , and the 4 books he read that month the Salingers and one from a TBR pile And then he tells us, So this is supposed to about the how, and when, and why, and what of reading about the way that, when reading is going well, one book leads to another and to another, a paper trail of theme and meaning and how, when it s going badly, when books don t stick or take, when your mood and the mood of the book are fighting like cats, you d rather do anything but attempt the next paragraph, or reread the last one for the tenth time Well, this kind of book is tailor made for Goodreads fans In a way, Goodreads is a polysyllabic spree too All the books we own, both read and unread, are the fullest expression of self we have at our disposal But with each passing year, and with each whimsical purchase, our libraries become and able to articulate who we are, whether we read the books or not I would add that not only do our libraries articulate who we are, they also articulate who we want to be On quoting Gabriel Zaid, the truly cultured are capable of owning thousands of unread books without losing their composure or their desire for , he enthuses That s me And you, probably That s us Yes it is me Hi nerdy Horshack wave Thanks for giving me again even titles for my TBR pile, Nick So Many Books Reading and Publishing in an Age of Abundance This inaugural volume is the second one I ve read in this series the first was the last one of the series, More Baths, Less Talking and it s just as good.

  5. says:

    Absolutely loved this book I not only laughed out loud many times, I snickered many , I have a list of books I want to check out and some music , and I and I have even admiration for Dickens I also really enjoy meeting another reader who buys books for the love of them, not knowing exactly when he will read them if ever.Another of my favorite quotes Zaid s finest moment, however, comes in his second paragraph, when he says that the truly cultured are capable of owning thousands of unread books without losing their composure or their desire for referring to So Many Books, Gabriel Zaid p 124Hornby reads widely so the reader is exposed to so many books, old, new, literary, sport Run, don t walk, to get a copy if you enjoy reading about reading unless you require it be serious.Heartily recommendedAddendum The quote below p 91 where Hornby writes he read but never swore once, refers to his reading poetry, specifically What Narcissism Means to Me by Tony Hoagland He offered his line up as a cover blurb thinking it might be useful on a book of poetry.

  6. says:

    Tuesday night found me at a Shell station on the outskirts of Nashville, Tennessee I was filling up my tank before heading back to my hotel to curl up in a warm bed and crash As I shivered in my too light for the 52 weather dress and sandals it had been 30 degrees warmer when I started the day in Montgomery, Al , I yawned to remind myself of how completely beat I was and then immediately locked my keys in the car As I sank onto a gas station bench to wait for AAA who were delayed due to some sort of accident which had turned a major interstate into a parking lot , I felt quite sorry for myself Then I reached into my purse and pulled out The Polysyllabic Spree 35 minutes later when the AAA guy arrived to rescue me, I was grinning ear to ear and marking my place in my book in markedly better spirits than I had been in before I had dived into it.The Polysllabic Spree is a collection of essays that Nick Hornby wrote earlier this decade for The Beliver I was completely entertained as Mr Hornby related the details of his book reading and book buying habits for the each month I loved that he got completely the joy of acquiring books, even when you have books everywhere and could probably never read them all if you bolted the front door and just chained yourself to the shelf His reading tastes are quite eclectic and his writing in this is like that in his novels breezy and fun.The only complaint I have about the book is that due to The Believer s desire to be snark free, books that Mr Hornby did not care for are just referred to as abandoned literary novel, etc I would have appreciated a warning Quite a few of his positive reviews made me want to pick up that book right that minute and see if I loved it as well.He spoke of a Biography of Richard Yates so glowingly that I wanted to read a book by Mr Yates Just the knowledge that Larry David dated his daughter, the model for Elaine in Seinfeld, was enough to pique my curiousity The real Alton Benes, this I ve got to see Coincidentally, I had a copy of Revolutionary Road tucked in my suitcase and so leapt in to the book, not the suitcase I have several on the list from Mr Hornby that have moved up to the top of my ever changing next to read list.I would only change the lack of negative reviews No need to be nasty, but it would have been nice to get a few yikes, avoid this one warnings.All in all, an entertaining book by a man who understands that Books are, let s face it, better than everything else Highly recommended for bibliophiles who don t just like books, but love them.

  7. says:

    Nick Hornby is flat out interesting all around, and he writes about my favorite topics, all of which I want to read and absorb He is exceptional at relating what it means to be a fan of almost anything, for example, Fever Pitch sports , Songbook music , and Polysyllabic Spree books , High Fidelity and Juliet, Naked Music and Relationships , the list goes on and on This is a short collection of articles Hornby wrote for Believer magazine over a period of 14 months, each of which begins with a list each of books Hornby bought and another list of books read during that particular month The Polysyllabic Spree accomplishes a few things beyond the obvious of adding to the reader s inevitably already too long list of must reads there s no way a true reader or Hornby fan who picked up this book didn t already have a list, I sure do he writes on particularly interesting books, and even adds excerpts to some of them, like a literary sample platter over, it compares books to other cultural media and explains why and how literature beats movies and film almost every time Hornby recounts some amusing anecdotes about his writing career and first glimpses of associated fame Most importantly, the Spree offers great commentary on the compulsive allure of reading no, of book purchasing and then reading well sometimes , and of the acceptable snobbishness associated with selectively accepting book recommendations, and literary criticism Hornby is both passionate and very opinionated on the subject, and reveals his personal literary ethic throughout He treats personal book recommendations with suspicion, hates reviewers, and seeks to avoid too familiar subject matter such as autism he has an autistic son and writing styles just as he prefers others cooking style to his own The book suggestions are fantastic, although there is an emphasis on obscure older British authors Hornby abided by the Believer s editors review rules, one of which was emphasizing only the positive in his selected books, so almost every book listed in the Spree comes recommended The book s title comes from Hornby s hilarious send up of the editorial staff, which he pictures as twelve rather eerie young men and women, all dressed in white robes and smiling maniacally, like a sort of literary equivalent of the Polyphonic Spree I got a good laugh from those references I now have a whole lot of book picks that I wouldn t otherwise be aware of, and Hornby really made me want to read David Copperfield.

  8. says:

    Nick Hornby has always been an interesting figure to me, at a remote intersection between the laddish and the literary His defining affections are football the English kind , rock music, and pub culture At the same time, he reads lots of books and some of them are serious Maybe such a subspecies is less rare in England, but where I m from they re scarce Of course, as a writer it s not so surprising that he s a reader, too It s the kind of books he reads, though, and his criterion for choosing them that makes Polysyllabic Spree worthwhile to read It s a short compilation of columns he wrote for Dave Eggers magazine The Believer where he discussed his monthly book purchases and gave short reviews of the ones he actually read with the former list always longer than the latter He also included a few excerpts, among them works by Dickens, Chekhov and Patrick Hamilton.Hornby s well stropped wit, where the jokes are often at his own expense, complements his entertaining take on things from the Every Man point of view Joe Sixpack was the old appellation around these parts, but I m not sure what the English equivalent might be something involving pints and pies I would guess Anyway, he s not the type to be taken in by anything pretentious and littrary At the same time, he can enjoy good writing even classics and critically acclaimed stuff Maybe I m making too much of this, but if his other interests really do seem at odds with his taste for the writerly arts, the apparent anomalies somehow make his declarations affecting Maybe it s like the extra attention you might pay to a hipster extolling the virtues of one Jane Austen novel over another, or a guy in a hoodie holding court on which cozy mysteries are best A fresh perspective can be good, especially from a fish who cares enough to come out of the water to give it Beyond that, Hornby himself writes very well Despite his incongruities or maybe because of them , to my mind he s credible He sold me on a good half dozen titles from his list.

  9. says:

    This was fun Thank you to my friend Stephanie for putting this series on my radar Originally written for the arts and literature magazine The Believer, Hornby wittily chronicles his monthly reading this collection is from 2004 Each chapter begins with a listing of what he purchased versus what he actually read that month My TBR has grown a bit I really appreciate a writer who s also a prolific reader, book buyer hoarder, and thoughtful reviewer.

  10. says:

    Last month, I ended by saying that I was in need of some Dickensian nutrition, and maybe it s because I ve been sucking on the bones of pared down writing for too long Where would David Copperfield be if Dickens had gone to writing classes Probably about seventy minor characters short, is where What an entertaining and humorous collection of essays about reading, not reading and the acquisition of books I really enjoyed the heck out of this slim volume, reading one or two essays per day Any serious reader will recognize many of their own foibles and feel at home in these pages and he s a fan of Dickens, what could I want