Sunday, March 20, 2005

Books Bought Vs. Books Read

I bought Nick Hornby's The Polysyllabic Spree this weekend, after reading several raves for it, not least of all from Mr. Hornby's devoted fan and (dare I say) friend, DV. The book is a collection of Hornby's column for the Believer - which is to say the guaranteed "must read" item in the entire magazine (some people read Christopher Hitchens' literary musings in The Atlantic with the same devotion; Hornby's work is distinct from Hitch's by virtue of its genuine (and entirely beguiling) humility).

Hornby begins his monthly column with a list of books bought, contrasted to a list of books read. I'm tempted to follow suit, and just might, if I could be assured Hornby is fudging (conservatively) on his list of books bought. If the lists are accurate, he manages a better percentage than I do! (Which might make the exercise especially worthwhile for me...)

It's late in the month, but I'm confident Hornby's book will be listed among March's Books Read. His prose is easy on the brain - deceptively so. It works like the best liquor: it is consumed with ease, but does its work with an alarming speed and thoroughness. Highly recommended, for all those reasons.


DarkoV said...

Dear Mr WP,
A Worthy Item to be involved with in lieu of your computer problems. I issue only one warning and this warning may be totally unnecessary as your California blog entries revealed that you are married to a bibliophile's dream; a woman who allows books to be purchased in suitcase quantities. Nevertheless, the warning is as follows. You threw out the possibililty that you may follow Mr. Hornby's reading travails, as he discussed various tomes he has purchased and read OR not read. Do not go down that path! (intoned with the same breathing cycle as John Torturro, in "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?", when he implores, "Do not Seek the Treasure!"). Even your understanding spouse's kindness may be stretched too far going down this paper trail.

As for the "(dare I say) friend" phrase...I wasn't sure if that was connected with Mr. Hornby or with you.
If it was the latter, I'd be honored to be included in that group, with all of the responsibilities that may ensue.
If it was the former, well there is a difference between sharing a quick & witty brew in a smoky & crowded bar in Philly with Mr. Hornby and the low-end possibility that he even remembered my name. I just write that off to selective memory/imagination and resist over-analysis of what, for him, was just a friendly & free pint.

Whisky Prajer said...

DV - I've presumed ours is a "virtual" friendship, but I'm sure a pint or two in the City of Brotherly Love would promote the friendship to the next level of "drinking buddy" (or something similar).

Perhaps my use of "friend" is a bit lax, but did you not introduce Mr. H. to Marah's music? Or do I have the details wrong? If you did, then anyone who performs such a service to another human should be regarded as a friend, pint or no pint.