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October 14, 2006

Nick Hornby, will you marry me?

Bookish , What, me? Have an opinion?

(This one-book-at-a-time thing? Totally going well. I started this book last Saturday, was totally into it, and finished yesterday. Not bad, considering the amount of homework/D&D work/TV/etc. I have going on. Also, I'm hoping that the one-at-a-time thing will make me more likely to actually review all the books I read here.)

If you didn't guess it from the subject line, let me just tell you that it's official: Nick Hornby is my new celebrity crush. If only he didn't smoke. And wasn't already, you know, married. But hey, no one's perfect.

I came to this book in an odd manner. It was on the "New Paperbacks" table at the bookstore where I work, and I was neurotically straightening the stacks of books, as is my wont. What attracted me first, actually, was the title: Housekeeping vs. the DIrt, which is really one of life's ongoing crises, plus also rather funny. And then I noticed that it was a book about reading. And then I noticed that it was by Nick Hornby. Now, either of those latter two elements would have been enough to make me pick up the book, but it was the title that originally grabbed me. Huh.

(I feel compelled to mention that I've never actually read one of Hornby's novels. I adored his book about music, Songbook, and I have enjoyed a few moives based on his books. But yeah, I realize I should actually read his books at some point. Seeing as how I'm apparently proposing marriage and all.)

Housekeeping vs. the Dirt is a collection of Hornby's "Stuff I've Been Reading" columns from Believer magazine. Each represents a month; Hornby lists the books he bought and the ones he actually read, and then talks about why he read what he read and what he thought about it. The concept is simple, but the execution is compelling and touching and hilarious.

There are many reasons to love this book. First and foremost is Hornby's down-to-earth and self-deprecating sense of humor. Then, of course, are all the books he talked about that I now want to read. And there's the window into his daily life that the column provides. And his reflections on the differences between Britain and the US. (Hornby is British; the Believer's audience is predominantly American.) But this line, in the introduction, was what really got me:

"And please, please stop patronizing those who are reading a book - The Da Vinci Code, maybe - because they are enjoying it." (17)

I've been trying to say that, to lots of people, for years. And a bit later:

"Read anything, as long as you can't wait to pick it up again." (18)

He gets it.

Posted by Kat at October 14, 2006 10:00 PM

I'd no idea there was a new Nick Hornby book. Yet another thing to add to my overburdened hold list. Thanks for letting me know! :)

Posted by: Rachel at October 15, 2006 03:00 AM

Oooo, wait until you hear his voice! He was on NPR recently, reading one of his stories that's in a collection. Plus other radio interviews on his books. And I LOVED The Long Way Down!

Posted by: Nita at October 15, 2006 09:20 AM

I have 2, count 'em, 2! Nick Hornby books on my bookshelf that I haven't read yet, and now you tell me there's another one? So many books, so little time...

Posted by: kmkat at October 15, 2006 08:26 PM

How can nobody in my whole library system own this?? That's it, I'm ordering it for my library! (and then, maybe for me)

Posted by: alissa at October 25, 2006 07:27 PM
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