I've enjoyed three of Nick Hornby's books. Two were made into great movies: "About a Boy" and "High Fidelity." The third book was "The Polysyllabic Spree," a collection of fourteen months of book review columns he did for "Believer" magazine. I was initially drawn to that book because 1) I love to read, and 2) I like to write reviews on Amazon. I appreciated it for those reasons, and was happy to continue with this sequel, "Housekeeping Vs. The Dirt."
Each month gets one chapter (except for the two June/July periods, which are each compressed into one), where Mr. Hornby lists the title and author of the eclectic collection of books he bought vs. the ones he actually read. Then, he discusses the rationale for his purchases, and what he got out of the ones he managed to open. Plus, there are plenty of half-baked excuses for why he missed his reading goals (the Christmas column contains a nice running gag along those lines). Finally, there are excerpts from his top picks.
In "The Polysyllabic Spree," Mr. Hornby wrote that Amazon reviewers are of dubious parentage. Even so, I still enjoy his unique style of, well, reviewing. He has a cool way of weaving his personal life into the mix, so there's an autobiographical slant throughout the columns. For example, we find out some stuff about his family life, and follow the progress of his favorite football (i.e. soccer) team. But the best part of reading this book was finding out that I'm not the only sap who buys tons more books than I'll ever be able to read in a lifetime. Now I don't feel so alone in the world.
For those of you who love reading and are looking for a lighthearted book or two about your passion, then both "Housekeeping Vs. The Dirt," and its predecessor "The Polysyllabic Spree," are just the ticket. And if you find yourself enjoying Nick Hornby's style, then grab his other books and put them on your overflowing reading stack. Recommended (even if Mr. Hornby does insist I'm ignorant of who my father is).