Wednesday, May 06, 2009

The Polysyllabic Spree by Nick Hornby

Reason for Reading: Dewey Reading Challenge
"Books are, let's face it, better than everything else," writes Nick Hornby in his "Stuff I've Been Reading" column in The Believer. "If we played cultural Fantasy Boxing League, and made books go 15 rounds in the ring against the best that any other art form had to offer, then books would win pretty much every time. Go on, try it. The Magic Flute v. Middlemarch? Middlemarch in six. The Last Supper v. Crime and Punishment? Fyodor on point And every now and again you'd get a shock, because that happens in sport, so Back to the Future III might land a lucky punch on Rabbit, Run; but I'm still backing literature 29 times out of 30." This book collects Hornby's popular columns in a single, artfully illustrated volume with selected passages from the novels, biographies, collections of poetry, and comics under discussion.
Dear Dewey,

This is another book that I had no idea that you read. I was very happy with your review. It could easily be mine. I did like The Polysyllabic Spree, but I didn't really add all that many books to my TBR pile, either. I was more interested in hearing what he thought about the books I have read! It goes to the whole concept of how I don't read reviews of books I have never read and I very often do not read the back of books. I like to make my own opinions, I suppose. So, I did read the book, but not in a lot of depth. I plan to read the sequels, and I hummed and hawed over buying them, but chances are I will just wait until they come in for me at the library. I am glad you had mostly the same idea about the book!

One thing I really enjoyed about Hornby's book is when he admitted he didn't list everything that he bought. I do that! I am better this year, but mostly I pretend that I am an angel and no books entered my house at all! It's more the amount that has entered over the years scares me, so I like to hide from it. He talks about books you really just buy to put on the shelf, and I so do that too! I am aiming for about June to quiet down at the library and actually read my own books. We will see how that works out!

Anyways, I was very happy to see that you had the same idea behind this book. I was feeling a little alone because everyone seemed to love it! And, I mean, I didn't hate it, but you know what I mean!

Until next time...

To read Dewey's review of this book, click here.


  1. I didn't know you don't read review of books you haven't read or the back covers. I think it's all that reading that gets me in trouble with book buying.

  2. You are not alone in not loving this book, and yet i really enjoyed it. I have to do my review of it shortly, meanwhile, your review is spot-on. I didn't come away with a lot of books to read, and I read it mostly with the idea of enjoying what he has to say about books and reading, which was so delightful.

    Thoughtful post, especially confessing that you don't like to read the blurbs before buying the books!

  3. Vasilly: Nope! I just read backs when I am impulse shopping. I like my books to be a surprise.

    Susan: Yeah, no blurb reading for me! I think it sounds a bit weird to people, though.

  4. *cries*

    Nah, it's okay :P I actually do read blurbs, but I should stop, because more than once they have given away key plot elements that I really didn't want to know beforehand! I can't imagine what whoever wrote them could be thinking.

  5. So the whole idea of hiding from how many books enter your house - that's what I used to do. But now it's gotten so bad that if you close your eyes and point randomly you will always end up pointing at a book! It's baaad.

    Not reading the back of books is a new one - I don't think I've ever heard of someone who does that. Now I'm gonna have to try next time I'm out. The idea of a surprise is kinda cool - see this is another symptom of book addiction, I'm excited about a new reason to bring more books home (o.O) lol

  6. Ana: I know. That's why I hate blurbs. And reviews. I like to be surprised by books, not know everything is going to happen!

    Joanne: I know. I'm weird. I do read the backs of books that look interesting at bookstores and I know nothing about, but otherwise I rarely know what the books I am going to be reading are about...


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