Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Polysyllabic Spree- my thoughts

The Polysyllabic Spree
-Nick Hornby
Published 2004
143 pages

From Amazon:
The Polysyllabic Spree collects a year's worth of Hornby’s riotous and informative "Stuff I’ve Been Reading" columns from the Believer, in which Hornby lists the books he’s read, along with what he bought and may one day read. He ably explores everything from the classic to the graphic novel, as well as poems, plays, and sports-related exposés. And if he occasionally implores a biographer for brevity, or abandons a literary work in favor of an Arsenal soccer match, then all is not lost. His warm and riotous writing, full of all the joy and surprise and despair that books bring him, reveals why we still read, even when there's soccer on TV, a pram in the hall, and a good band playing at our local bar.

One of my favorite passages:

Never mind that, as regular readers of this column know, I have over the last few months bought several hundred books I haven't yet read. And never mind that, as it turned out, I found myself passing a bookshop the very next day, and the day after that (because what else is there to do with a new baby, other than mooch around bookshops with him?), and was thus able to buy Mystic River. I didn't know for sure I'd ever go to a bookshop again; and if I never went to a bookshop again, how long were those several hundred books going to last me? Nine or ten years at the most. No, I needed that copy of Prayers for Rain, just to be on the safe side.p. 104

I absolutely identified with this passage because I'm always worried that I might run out of books to read. Which is crazy, because I always check out about 26 from the library, and then I have over 200 books laying around the house, but when I read that Hornby has those feelings about books, I knew that I would like him! I enjoyed the fact that a high-profile author, such as Hornby, also shares the same problems and dilemmas as us "normal" readers. When I read how he enters a bookstore and leaves with several, only to find the next month that he never cracked them open, I rejoice in the knowledge that I am "O.K." There were times, though, during my reading that I had a hard time keeping up with Hornby. Unfortunately, I am not as well-read as he is and some of his jokes or insider humor fell short. That, however, did not stop me from plowing through this book. In fact, it made me more determined than ever to try to read some of the books that Hornby had read and loved. That is the one thing that I took from this book....that we "the readers" share our love of the written word and in return, our knowledge and experiences grow.
I can now blame Nick Hornby for some of the books that I will be checking out of my library in the future!! Here's the list that I walked away with:

Notes on a Scandal- Zoe Heller
Revolutionary Road- Richard Yates (bought this a few weeks ago)
How to Breathe Underwater- Julie Orringer
George and Sam: Autism in the Family- Charlotte Moore
The Sirens of Titan- Kurt Vonnegut
Clockers- Richard Price
David Copperfield- Charles Dickens
Random Family- Adrian Nicole LeBlanc
Mystic River- Dennis Lehane

I am trying to get my hand on Housekeeping vs. The Dirt and Shakespeare Wrote for Money which would round out his column that he wrote for The Believer. I'm sure my TBR list will be out of control once I finish those!!!

Other reviews:

Stuff As Dreams Are Made On
Things Mean A Lot
The Hidden Side of a Leaf
Rhinoa's Ramblings
Tripping Toward Lucidity
Lisa's Review

If you've reviewed Polysyllabic Spree please let me know and I'll add your link!!


  1. Seriously, he's one of us :) I added many of those to my wishlist as well. Now to find the time to read them!

  2. I've heard so many good things about Hornby and his books. After reading your review it makes me think that I should definitely pick it fact I might go and request it from the library. And I too worry about running out of books which probably isn't possible :)

  3. I would find it hard to believe that U would EVER run out of books!! LOL! :):):):):):):):) LOVEEEEEEEE this! :):):):):):):):):)

  4. The passage you quoted was one of my favorites, too! Thanks for reminding me about Housekeeping vs. the Dirt - I just requested it from the library.

  5. Yeah I have a couple years worth myself so I can relate.

  6. I loved reading your thoughts on this one! Hornby truly is one of us...when I read this, I thought "finally, someone gets me" lol. Though your house sounds just like mine! Over 200 books sitting on the TBR shelf, yet I still bring home tons from the library :p

  7. I find it hard to believe that you can relate with the quote you quoted. What with 556+ books on your TBR list, and 5 or 6 that come home each week with you from the library, and the fact that you are posting new quotes every other day from a NEW book you are reading. I'm the same way since I've came across bookmooch/paperbackswap.

    Have a great week. :)

  8. Hey girl! I just wanted you to know I am going to catch up with my post reading really soon. I'm running out early to go to my first appt for what we discussed in email. Ugh!

    I hope you have a terrific Monday~!

  9. Isn't it amazing how we keep adding to those book piles, even when the piles threaten to take over several areas of our houses?

    What a great book concept though. A book addict writes a book to sell to other book addicts.


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