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More Baths Less Talking: Notes from the Reading Life of a Celebrated… (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Nick Hornby

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2272051,069 (3.96)63
Member:dastevens
Title:More Baths Less Talking: Notes from the Reading Life of a Celebrated Author Locked in Battle with Football, Family, and Time Itself
Authors:Nick Hornby
Info:McSweeney's, Believer Books (2012), Paperback, 135 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:non-fiction, essays, books/reading, author-England

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More Baths Less Talking: Notes from the Reading Life of a Celebrated Author Locked in Battle with Football, Family, and Time Itself by Nick Hornby (2012)

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I have never read Believer Magazine, which is where Nick Hornby's book reviews are initially published, but I love the collections that come out from these columns. More Baths Less Talking presents his columns from May 2010 to Nov/Dec 2011.

Each column begins with lists of the books he purchased that month and what he actually read during that month -- then he proceeds to discuss. But, Hornby brings in his thoughts also, and not just about books. He is often very funny. I love his humor. He'll say things that make me nod in agreement.

This book is so quote-worthy and I shared some of my favorites with my husband who doesn't seem to "get" Hornby as much as I do, but I know I am not alone in appreciating him -- after all, if I were, he would be out of work as a book columnist. His novels? I've only read About a Boy and it didn't make me want to hurry up and read his other novels although I'm sure I will get to them eventually. But his columns are just awesome.

Here's some quote-worthiness:

"Great writing is going on all around us, always has done, always will." (p. 63)

About Colum McCann's "Let the Great World Spin" he says:

"It's a rich, warm, deeply felt and imagined book, destined, I think, to be loved for a long time. Regrettably, however, McCann makes a very small mistake relating to popular music toward the beginning, and, as has happened so many times before, I spent way too long muttering at both the novel and the author. I must stress, once again -- because this has come up before -- that my inability to forgive negligible errors of this kind is a disfiguring disease, and I am determined to find a cure for it; I mention it here merely to explain why a book I liked a lot has not become a book that I have bought over and over again, to press on anybody who happens to be passing by. And it would be unforgivably small-minded to go into it....Ach. Donovan wasn't an Irish folk singer, OK? He was a Scottish hippie, and I hate myself." (p. 69)

I can relate, and got a good laugh out of this...for instance I hate it when I watch a period movie and the hairstyles are all wrong for that era. It is something that really, really bugs me, and also especially book covers that depict the wrong era from what the actual setting is. By the way, Let the Great World Spin is still in my TBR pile, so if Hornby liked it this much (even in spite of that small detail) I will have to get to it soon.

"The trouble with history, it seems to me, is that too many people are involved. The next time something historical happens, someone should thin out the cast list." (p. 123)

"If Dickens were writing today, some journalist somewhere would be obliged to point out that he was living the rock-star life; there's always a slightly disapproving wistfulness to this observation when it's made about Neil Gaiman or David Sedaris or one of the other authors who routinely pack out theaters on reading tours, as if it betokens something unspeakably vulgar about our modern world. And yet, Dickens got there first.... " (p. 133)

Hornby's admiration for Dickens' work makes me want to reacquaint myself with his writings. Not all books that Hornby discusses are ones I want to read now, but I love his thought processes about all of the ones he mentions in his columns. ( )
  ValerieAndBooks | Oct 26, 2014 |
I loved this book and I love Nick Hornby's writing. I am obsessive about books and Nick's column in THE BELIEVER is terrific. This volume includes two years or so of his columns. He tells you every book he bought each month and if he read it he shares his feelings on the book. His tone is conversational and no one does it better than he. I try to read everything he has written. It is as if he is talking to you the reader personally which is very appealing. If you are into books and into clever writing about books do read it. It is not strictly book reviews which can be tedious. Hornby is anything but tedious. ( )
  SigmundFraud | Aug 19, 2014 |
Brilliant, funny, insightful...a great way to get inspired for a year of reading. ( )
  katherinesayre | Oct 22, 2013 |
Nick Hornby is now officially on my dinner party list, that list of people who I would invite to my house for dinner and scintillating conversation (despite the fact that my dinner table only seats 4 and my "fancy dishes" are from Target). I love Nick Hornby's fiction ([Juliet, Naked] is my favorite), but I'd never read his non-fiction. This book is a collection of monthly columns about reading from The Believer. Hornby begins each column with a list of books that he read that month and a list of books that he purchased that month, and then he discusses what he read. The columns are conversational, almost like chatting with a wise and witty friend. And who doesn't love to hear the answer to "Tell me what you've been reading lately," especially when the answer comes from someone like Hornby. I'll be looking for more of Hornby's columns. ( )
  porch_reader | Aug 1, 2013 |
For readers who enjoyed Hornby's previous essay collections from The Believer - The Polysyllabic Spree, Housekeeping vs. the Dirt, Shakespeare Wrote for Money - this is, satisfyingly, more of the same. No matter whether the books Hornby's reading would interest you or not, he always has interesting things to say about them, and more often than not you end up curious to read them after all. As usual, his transitions are thin-to-nonexistent, which can be jarring, but one adapts.

I was excited to see Will Grayson, Will Grayson on the "Books Bought" list one month, but it never appeared on the "Books Read" list. Sad.

Books on which to follow up:

The Child That Books Built, Francis Spufford (p. 19)
How to Live, Sarah Bakewell (p. 59)
Book of Days, Emily Fox Gordon (p. 61)
My Name is Mina; Skellig David Almond (p. 94)
Niagara Falls All Over Again Elizabeth McCracken (p. 107)
Ten Thousand Saints Eleanor Henderson (p. 119)

"Ten Thousand Saints is the offspring of Lester Bangs and Anne Tyler, and who wouldn't want to read that baby?" (p. 119)

Quotes:

Re: American Rust: "And, unlike most first-time novelists, [Philipp] Meyer knows that we're all going to die, and that before we do so we are going to mess up our lives somehow." (p. 21)

"Influential books are often a disappointment, if they're properly influential, because influence cannot guarantee the quality of the imitators, and your appetite for the original has been partially sated by its poor copies." (p. 37)

"Great writing is going on all around us, always has done, always will." (63)

"What happened in between? Other books, is what happened." (p. 82)

Re: Whoops!/I.O.U. by John Lanchester: One authoritative market commentator puts the cost of the bailout in the U.S. at just over $4.5 trillion - a number "bigger than the Marshall Plan, the Louisiana Purchase, the Apollo moon landings, the 1980s savings and loan crisis, the Korean War, the New Deal, the invasion of Iraq, the Vietnam War, and the total cost of NASA's space flights, all added together."

( )
  JennyArch | Apr 3, 2013 |
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Shares selections from the author's column in "The Believer" that discuss books he has bought and books he has read, and offers suggestions for great reads in every genre.

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