More Baths, Less Talking: Notes from the Reading Life of a Celebrated Author Locked in Battle with Football, Family and Time Itself

Nick Hornby. McSweeney’s/Believer, $14 trade paper (140p) ISBN 978-1-938073-05-2
A lesser writer would be inscribing his own death sentence by proclaiming to “vent my spleen by embarking on a series of books that, I hope, will be of no interest to the readership of this magazine.” But Hornby, referring to readers of the Believer magazine, in which he writes a column detailing his monthly literary consumption, is as engaging as he is droll and witty. This collection of Hornby’s “Stuff I’ve Been Reading” columns from May 2010 to December 2011 encompasses a broad range of topics, both literary and not. It’s amazing how Hornby’s enthusiasm for an obscure book (such as Andrew Brown’s Fishing in Utopia) on an even more obscure topic (fishing in Sweden doesn’t have obvious broad spectrum appeal) can segue so smoothly into musings on the artistic experience and the genius of Patti Smith’s Just Kids (“many of us—most of us—could have been right outside the front door of Max’s Kansas City and never taken the trouble [or plucked up the courage] to open it”). His side venture into the children’s books he read with his sons (the hilarious Mr. Gum series) is as in-depth as his reflections on Sarah Vowell, that “dark nerd-maiden from across the water.” In addition to providing readers with a wonderfully eclectic to-read list, Hornby reminds everyone how important it is to revel in the written word. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 06/25/2012
Release date: 08/01/2012
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