Saturday, January 19, 2008

Gimme Nick!

I finished The Polysyllabic Spree so quickly! While I am pissed off at Nick Hornby for writing such a short book, I DID love it, and yes, he IS my newest literary crush. Roll over, George Orwell, and tell Steinbeck the news.

Crap, I'm besotted! I managed to get through the first chapter of All Families Are Pyschotic, but like Hornby, when he saw Marah in concert, I didn't want to pay attention to anyone/anything else. If this were literary Fantasy Boxing, Hornby would be wiping the canvas with Coupland.

What did I like? Everything! Well, almost everything. I just can't wrap my mind around Hornby's need to go and read Dickens periodically. (Now I've got guilt spikes again about Dickens. Where is the novel that will make me at least like if not love him? Hint: It's NOT David Copperfield!)

Never mind Dickens for now. I'm all about Nick Hornby. Let me count the ways: He's funny; he's self-deprecating in that lovable English way; he's got lists and lists of books that he buys and/or reads; he's brutally honest about his reading moods and reasons why he did and didn't finish books; and best of all, he's wonderfully intelligent without having a huge stick up his butt about it. (Put that it in your pipe and smoke it, Richard Schickel! I'm still pissed off at you for your rude comments about book bloggers last year!)
It's true that my new beloved did call all Amazon reviewers bastards, but even though I've written 33 reviews at their website, I can overlook the epithet. (I've never been called a bastard before, except for the time Mr. Bybee blurted it out when I bingoed on him twice in a row during a game of Scrabble.)

All I can say is read The Polysyllabic Spree. Please. If you haven't already read it, that is. And if you have -- there's worse ways to spend your time! I read it over again today and chuckled at the funny parts and made thorough notes for my wishlist. After that, I did some laundry and painted my fingernails blue. Then, feeling bereft, I headed over to Amazon and ordered Housekeeping vs. the Dirt. There was nothing else to do. Now I'm thinking about making Arsenal my favorite football team. CanadaBoy would be pleased, but that's beside the point. Gimme Nick.


raidergirl3 said...

Excellent assessment, and I liked Housekeeping vs the Dirt better because I recognized more books... but don't let Hornby ruin Coupland. He's so good too, but in a different way. I read Hornby and Coupland this month too.

Anonymous said...

I too have a long-standing crush on Nick Hornby! *sigh*. Like you,
I love the fact that he doesn't feel the need to validate his intelligence everytime he opens his mouth or uncaps his pen.

Its so refreshing to come across a writer who strips away the facade of writer as 'artiste', and happily admits to loving football, horror flicks and a number of other un-writerly like pursuits. He's living proof that you can be both a 'regular joe' and an incredibly perceptive and funny writer.

I think I'd nominate 'High Fidelity' or 'About a boy' as my favourite Hornby's.

Kathy said...

I recognized more books in The Polysyllabic Spree but both books are lots of fun. I also loved High Fidelity but haven't read About A Boy -- it's in my tbr pile.

lazy cow said...

Hate to tell you that The Complete Polysyllabic Spree has more articles than The Polysyllabic Spree (I know, I bought the second one, not knowing about the first).
Totally agree with you, and recommend A Christmas Carol (short! easy to read!) to ease you into Dickens. I did adore Nicholas Nickleby.

Lesley said...

OK, I've never read anything by Hornby but now you've got me wanting to rush out to the bookstore and remedy that! Excellent post!

jenclair said...

Like Lesley, after this enthusiastic review, I'm ready to break my self-imposed book buying ban and rush to a book store to get a copy!

Jeane said...

I just discovered and read Polysyllabic Spree too, and LOVED it! (didn't get his thing with Dickens either). I can't wait to read Housekeeping vs Dirt, now. Eager to read your review of it; I haven't even ordered mine yet.

Bookfool said...

Nick Hornby came to Oxford, Mississippi, last year and I missed him. You should have heard the wailing. Of course, Oxford's a 3 1/2 hour drive, but that's not the point. Had I known, I would have been there, period. I've had a literary crush on him for years. Have you just discovered him?

Eva said...

I loved this book too!

Sam said...

I absolutely love Hornby's novels, Bybee, and recommend them to anyone who hasn't read them yet. I'm not sure that female readers will react to his work the same way that men do (because of the topics of some of his novels...sports and rock & roll music, etc.) but I enjoyed each and every one of them. The best thing is that they are all so different from each other that there is never any sense of deja vu while reading Nick Hornby.

I "discovered" him while living in the U.K. when I noticed so many of my fellow commuters hiding behind the covers of his books...:-)

Anonymous said...

I love Nick Hornby! I think he appeals to all genders, not just men. he is definitely not 'lad lit'.

As for Charles Dickens, try Great Expectations and if you like that you can move on to Oliver Twist. A Christmas Carol is also short and sweet.

Bybee said...

I wasn't crazy about the Coupland novel, but I liked it well enough to try another by him.

You said it so much better than I did!

My son read About A Boy while he was here. I think he took it home with him. Crap.

Oh, wow....great! There's a COMPLETE P.S.? I won the first one from Dewey, so I'm not complaining. Thanks for the heads-up. Thanks also for the Dickens advice.

Run, don't walk. He's a gem.

I'd break all bans for Nick. I'd probably break a bone for Nick.

In a few days, I'll start haunting the student worker that fetches the mail.

I would've cried, too. So close and yet so far. My son was reading Hornby when he was here & what started him were Fever Pitch and About A Boy, the movies based on his books. I gave him props for naming a book after an Elvis Costello song, but didn't go the extra mile to get it. I have been furiously hunting The Polysyllabic Spree here in Korea. Luckily, I won it from Dewey earlier this month. Dewey changed my life!

I just can't help but love it! You'd have to be made of stone!

Sam Houston,
I will be reading as much of his canon as I can manage this year. Isn't it funny, the unexpected pleasures you encounter through books?

Have you given up blogging, or what? I meant to ask you a while back.
I wouldn't classify Hornby as "lad lit" either. He's too wonderful for that.
I do have Great Expectations on my TBR mountain.

Caitlin said...

Hi, no I haven't given up blogging - quite the contrary! I have moved my blog to my own domain so it's now at Unfortunately Google is being all protectionist and now if I use a nickname instead of my Blogger ID, it doesn't let me enter a URL.(Or maybe it's an anti-spam measure even though you can still put URLs in the text of a comment).

I have actually launched two new blogs as well as my personal one. There is about cooking and food, and about travel.

Bookfool said...

Good ole Dewey. High Fidelity and About a Boy are great. Loved 'em.

Susan said...

I don't know if you read Fever Pitch, but you haven't, do. It is not really anything like the movie (which was sweet on its own, but Boston instead of Arsenal???), and is hilarious in places. I"m an Arsenal fan, which makes Nick one of my good guys! I saw Housekeeping v Dirt and still have to pick it up, it's on my list of books to get this year. Now it's really on my list (I thought the title alone was superb and I could point to it when my husband mentions anything about dust bunnies etc) because I'd rather read than do housework! I'll let you know when i get H v D, in the meantime - do try the Fever Pitch. My husband is from England and a Chelsea fan, and I swear he actually has planned his weekends around games, esp now as we have no video recorder!

JoanneMarie Faust said...

Great review! I totally fell for Hornby when I read this book. Don't you just want to invite him over to chat books and music for hours and hours? I wanted to be his best friend.

There are plenty of people in the anti-Hornby camp. I, however, would be willing to beat people up for messing with him. Yup, all 5'2" of me, kicking butt for Nick.