The Polysyllabic Spree: A Hilarious and True Account of One Man's Struggle With the Monthly Tide of the Books He's Bought and the Books He's Been Meaning to Read by Nick Hornby
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A collection of essays about books bought, books read, and occasionally Arsenal football, Nick Hornby's voice remains consistently funny and smart. He reads literary books and thick biographies, but undercuts any hint of snobbery with a wry and self-deprecating humor (perhaps this is a uniquely British skill). I love hearing his thoughts about his reading life, and I always come away with a few unexpected additions to my to-read list.
Sometimes I know he's thinking my thoughts:
"I don't reread books very often; I'm too conscious of both my ignorance and my mortality.[...] But when I try to recall anything about [a certain book] other than its excellence, I failed. [...] And I realized that, as this is true of just about every book I consumed between the ages of, say, fifteen and forty, I haven't even read the books I think I've read. I can't tell you how depressing this is. What's the fucking point?"
On why he bought a book right then even though it wasn't the one he had come for:
"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."