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Housekeeping vs. the Dirt: Fourteen Months of Massively Witty Adventures in Reading Chronicled by the National Book Critics Circle Finalist for Criticism

Overview

In this latest collection of essays following The Polysyllabic Spree, critic and author Nick Hornby continues the feverish survey of his swollen bookshelves, offering a funny, intelligent, and unblinkered account of the stuff he's been reading. Ranging from the middlebrow to the highbrow (with unrepenting dips into the lowbrow), Hornby's dispatches from his nightstand table serve as useful guides to contemporary letters, with revelations on contemporary culture, the intellectual scene, and English football, in ...

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Overview

In this latest collection of essays following The Polysyllabic Spree, critic and author Nick Hornby continues the feverish survey of his swollen bookshelves, offering a funny, intelligent, and unblinkered account of the stuff he's been reading. Ranging from the middlebrow to the highbrow (with unrepenting dips into the lowbrow), Hornby's dispatches from his nightstand table serve as useful guides to contemporary letters, with revelations on contemporary culture, the intellectual scene, and English football, in equal measure.

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Editorial Reviews

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If you need proof that Nick Hornby's literary status hasn't gone to his head, consider the unpretentious banner of his book review column in The Believer: "Stuff I've Been Reading." This second collection of "Stuff" columns follows his successful Polysyllabic Spree. Like its predecessor, Housekeeping vs. the Dirt doesn't dawdle over exquisite sentiments or arcane insights; it moves briskly through the monthly offerings, touching down on the significant or the simply sensational. To peruse this book is to share Nick Hornby's discoveries; a refreshing option, indeed.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781932416596
  • Publisher: McSweeney's Publishing
  • Publication date: 8/28/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 153
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 5.52 (h) x 0.43 (d)

Meet the Author

Nick Hornby
Journalist and bestselling novelist Nick Hornby is best known for his portraits of dysfunctional Peter Pans -- clueless postmodern males in various stages of arrested development who discover, often to their chagrin, that growing up is a process involving far more than the passage of time.

Biography

Journalist and bestselling novelist Nick Hornby is best known for his portraits of dysfunctional Peter Pans -- clueless postmodern males in various stages of arrested development who discover, often to their chagrin, that growing up is a process involving far more than the passage of time. Dubbed the "maestro of the male confessional" by The New Yorker, Hornby is credited as the founder of the "lad lit " genre -- a peculiar honor, since he also seems to be its only truly successful practitioner!

However, to dismiss Hornby's writing as the testosterone-laced equivalent of "chick lit" is to seriously underestimate his talent. The New York Times Book Review put it this way: "Hornby is a writer who dares to be witty, intelligent and emotionally generous all at once. He combines a skilled, intuitive appreciation for the rigors of comic structure with highly original insights about the way the enchantments of popular culture insinuate themselves into middle-class notions of romance." (As further proof of his standing in the literary community, a group of distinguished colleagues -- including Germaine Greer, Zadie Smith, and Doris Lessing -- honored Hornby with the 2003 London Award.)

After graduating from Cambridge, Hornby worked a succession of jobs (he taught school, gave language classes, and served as a host for Samsung executives visiting the U.K.) before becoming a journalist. He wrote a series of pop culture columns for the Independent and wrote about music, books, and sports for Esquire, The Sunday Times, Elle, and the Times Literary Supplement. Then, in 1992, Hornby published a hilarious sports memoir about his maniacal obsession with Britain's Arsenal Football Club. A huge bestseller, Fever Pitch won the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award and helped to give soccer a cachet far beyond its formerly "blokey" appeal. His debut novel, High Fidelity, appeared in 1995. Teeming with hip music and pop culture references, this story of a thirty-something record store owner lamenting his failed romantic relationships struck a responsive chord with readers on both sides of the Pond, paving the way for his bestselling 1998 follow-up, About a Boy.

Critical praise and literary honors have followed Hornby throughout his career: His 2001 novel How to Be Good won the WH Smith Fiction Award and was nominated for a Booker Prize; A Long Way Down (2005) was shortlisted for both the Whitbread Novel Award and the Commonwealth Writers Prize. He is the author of a bestselling novel for young adults (Slam), and his nonfiction essays have been collected into several anthologies, including The Polysyllabic Spree, Housekeeping vs. the Dirt, and Songbook (published in the UK as 31 Songs). He also serves as a pop music critic for The New Yorker.

Good To Know

Hollywood loves Hornby!
  • High Fidelity was filmed in 2000 with John Cusack.
  • Hugh Grant starred in the 2002 film About a Boy.
  • Fever Pitch was filmed twice: The 1997 British version starred Colin Firth. In 2005, an Americanized remake (substituting the Boston Red Sox for the Arsenal Football Club ) was released starring Jimmy Fallon and Drew Barrymore.

    Hornby has admitted that when he first began writing, voice was a problem. "Everything changed for me when I read Anne Tyler, Raymond Carver, Richard Ford, and Lorrie Moore, all in about '86-'87," he has said. " ... voice, tone, simplicity, humour, soul ... all of these things seemed to be missing from the contemporary English fiction I'd looked at, and I knew then what I wanted to do."

    Hornby is the father of an autistic son, Danny. He is also a co-founder of TreeHouse, an English charity school for autistic children. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of Speaking with the Angel, an anthology of stories he edited in 2002, was donated to TreeHouse.

    Writer Zadie Smith has credited Hornby for "reintrocuding the English novel to its long-lost domestic roots."

    Music is still paramount in Hornby's life. He has a longstanding relationship with the American rock group Marah and has collaborated with them in music/spoken word performances on several occasions.

    Hornby writes a monthly column, "Stuff I've Been Reading," for The Believer , a literary magazine published by Dave Eggers's McSweeney's publishing house.

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      1. Date of Birth:
        April 17, 1957
      2. Place of Birth:
        Redhill, Surrey, England
      1. Education:
        Jesus College, Cambridge University

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    • Anonymous

      Posted October 14, 2006

      A Terrific Book

      I just finished reading this book (literally, just finished it). It's a really wonderful book. It's funny, it's interesting, and, of course, it's a great way to find even more interesting writing. It also is a must read for everyone who loves 'McSweeney's' or 'The Believer'.

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