May 30, 2009 at 7:24 pm (Authors Who Influence)
Yesterday I was at the bookstore looking for Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke. I heard of the book from a friend’s blog (this friend has great taste in books) and I decided I had to read it…I had to own it. Each day I discover a new book I must buy. Sometimes I spend hours on Amazon and the New York Times websites making lists for future reading. My book addiction is very serious and very expensive. So you can imagine how pleased I was when I discovered that Nick Hornby suffers from the same addiction. While looking for the Rilke book I stumbled upon something amazing. The Polysyllabic Spree by Nick Hornby. The book is a compilation of essays Hornby wrote for the Believer magazine.
Each essay begins with two lists: (1) a Books Bought column and (2) a Books Read column. Perfect. Just like Hornby I buy hundreds of books I will never read and usually my Books Bought column outweighs my Books Read column. I’m happy to report The Polysyllabic Spree belongs in both columns. I have to admit that I’ve never read a Hornby novel. I’ve picked them up many times and read the blurbs, but ultimately I always decided against reading them. Now after reading his essays I know what I have been missing out on. A clever and comic style of writing which can’t be found elsewhere.
When I bought Hornby’s essays yesterday, I thought I was going to benefit from reading someone who understands me. And I did. However, Hornby also contributed to my addiction by creating a craving for more of his writing. Directly after finishing his book I went to Amazon and ordered the other two essay compilations written for the Believer magazine, Housekeeping vs. the Dirt and Shakespeare Wrote for Money. I will be adding his novels to my must-read list, and many of the books he mentions in his essays.
My addiction continues, but at least I have a brilliant writer like Nick Hornby on my side.