Tuesday, September 18, 2012

More Baths, Less Talking

In the beginning, there was Nick Hornby.  That is, the very first time I posted here at Fine Print, I wrote about Nick Hornby's collections of "Stuff I've Been Reading" columns from The Believer magazine. In the subsequent years, I've occasionally bored you   inundated you  shared with you my belief that Nick Hornby is a great author. And now, 138 posts and nearly 4 years later, Hornby's back. 

Hornby ended his column in 2008, resulting in the presumptive last collection, Shakespeare Wrote For Money after the success of The Polysyllabic Spree and Housekeeping vs The Dirt. And then in 2010, Hornby returned, likening himself to the boomerang child who, after leaving with middle finger raised, comes back, tail between his legs, to reclaim his old bedroom.  Given that my children are too young to have ever left their bedrooms behind, let alone understand what a raised middle finger means (oh, just let me pretend) I can't predict how I would feel if they returned to the nest after a few years away. As a reader, though, I gave a sigh of relief at Hornby's return to the pages of The Believer to share, once again, his reading diary. The columns from January 2010 through December 2011 have been published in his newest collection, More Baths, Less Talking.

After years of devotion to Nick Hornby's books, I've discovered that I really like most of his fiction a lot. In fact, some of it I've loved.  His nonfiction, though, is what makes me quasi-obsessive about his writing. In his collections about what he reads, he articulates and illustrates the things I love best about reading. He explains how the books he's reading interact with his life, and how they become a part of it.  He writes with a forthright lack of pretension makes me laugh about topics like the post-WWII austerity in Britain, the global economic crisis, and John Updike.  Is my devotion to all things Hornby excessive? Perhaps, but when someone recently saw me reading it, she asked what was making me smile and look so happy in the midst of what had otherwise been a rather crummy day. The quick and easy answer: More Baths, Less Talking.

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