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

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

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by Nick Hornby
     
 

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“Read what you enjoy, not what bores you,” Nick Hornby tells us. That simple, liberating, and indispensable directive animates each installment of the celebrated critic and author’s monthly column in the Believer. In this delightful and never-musty tour of his reading life, Hornby tells us not just what to read, but how to read.

Whether tackling

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Overview

“Read what you enjoy, not what bores you,” Nick Hornby tells us. That simple, liberating, and indispensable directive animates each installment of the celebrated critic and author’s monthly column in the Believer. In this delightful and never-musty tour of his reading life, Hornby tells us not just what to read, but how to read.

Whether tackling a dismayingly bulky biography of Dickens while his children destroy something in the next room, or getting sucked into a serious assessment of Celine Dion during an intensely fought soccer match featuring his beloved Arsenal, or devouring an entire series of children’s books while on vacation, Hornby’s reviews are rich, witty, and occasionally madcap. These essays capture the joy and ire, the despair and exhilaration of the book-lover’s life, and will appeal equally to both monocle-wearing salonnieres and people, like him, who spend a lot of time thinking about Miley Cyrus’s next role.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
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 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.)
From the Publisher

"Hornby is a champion of the book, of reading, of the pleasure of a smart literary experience. He has a quality desperately needed in these times: intelligent enthusiasm."
The New Republic

"A witty and illuminating blueprint to the habits and how-to’s of reading good books well."
Brain Pickings

"[Nick Hornby] has a knack for creating appealingly irresolute characters and is a genial guy with excellent taste and a smart, irreverent sense of humor."
Boston Globe

"...this book is much more than funny. He understands writers and what they are trying to do. This book crackles with insight."—Star Tribune

"A wonderfully eclectic to-read list, Hornby reminds everyone how important it is to revel in the written word."—Publishers Weekly

"Hornby is an entertainingly unpretentious critic; any reader would come away with a handful of book recommendations they’d be eager to check out."—Kirkus

Kirkus Reviews
The rock-obsessed novelist confesses his idiosyncratic reading habits in this fourth collection of columns written for the Believer. Critics tend to write reviews as if in a bubble, rarely acknowledging the ways the world can intrude on their reading and comprehension. The charm of Hornby's (Juliet, Naked, 2009, etc.) "Stuff I've Been Reading" column is his candor about the messy intersection of living and reading. One column opens with his two young children demanding his attention as he struggles to finish Nicholson Baker's novel The Anthologist; in another, he points out how a trusted recommendation led him to Don Carpenter's obscure 1966 noir, Hard Rain Falling. That intimate perspective makes this book read more like a set of personal essays than book reviews, but he still delivers some funny and clear-eyed insights on writing. He demolishes the sexism of John Updike's Marry Me by calling out the preposterousness of its dialogue, and writing about Colm Tóibín's novel Brooklyn gives him the opportunity to thoughtfully consider the pleasures of rereading and the distinctions between screenwriting and writing novels. Hornby's tastes often match those of the Believer audience's, which prefers contemporary fiction and hipper nonfiction, but he roves widely, devouring Muriel Spark and Charles Dickens along with David Kynaston's dense history Austerity Britain and a biography of Preston Sturges. Hornby's reading life is pleasantly experimental, and though he softens his disappointments for the no-snark-allowed Believer, he's at his most entertaining when he falls in love by accident with a book, as with Sarah Bakewell's Montaigne biography, How to Live. Hornby is an entertainingly unpretentious critic; any reader would come away with a handful of book recommendations they'd be eager to check out.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781938073052
Publisher:
McSweeney's Publishing
Publication date:
08/21/2012
Pages:
135
Sales rank:
1,312,643
Product dimensions:
5.64(w) x 8.32(h) x 0.40(d)

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