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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 Paperback – 30 Nov 2004
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About the Author
Nick Hornby is the best-selling author of High Fidelity, About a Boy, How to Be Good, Fever Pitch, and Songbook. He lives in London.
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Maybe that makes him better than me--probably does--because he can read a wide range of stuff and like it, but it was kind of annoying, too, because I wanted to hear his opinion on authors I like, and he only mentioned two: Richard Price and Dennis Lehane. I would have liked his thoughts on many of the other novelists I enjoy, (which, I guess, is very selfish of me) but at the same time I wasn't bored reading the reviews on books I'd never read, and I'm sure for those who like biographies and literary classics such as Ulysses, they will probably find this book fascinating.
I guess if I wanted to be pedantic, the lack of disdain dampened the book a little. I only usually read the one and two star reviews when I go on Amazon. I check them before I read a book and after. I like to hear what people hated about a book, not what they liked. I don't care what they liked, unless, of course, their opinion vibes with mine. And Hornby is too nice. I guess, because he's got a career he doesn't want to lose by down-talking other authors. Luckily, I'm not in that position. I just think it would have been better if he was more scornful throughout, because on the rare occasions he did highlight an author's stupidity, I found myself relating to him more. Maybe that's because I'm an angry person.
Anyway, if you like the type of books he reviews then buy it. If you don't, then get it from eBay and read it anyway.
The Complete Polysyllabic Spree is first and foremost a great company. It is a needed pause between our endless reading wish list, it gives us time to reconsider why and how we read books and wether we are doing it for all the right reasons. And, of course, it is always interesting to learn what other people think of books you read and loved (or hated), especially if these people happen to be someone you respect.
I have a healthy appetite for books. As your average nerdy child I used to read everything that landed on my parents' book shelf and now that I'm at liberty of buying as many books as I please I feel that I read too much and sometimes "badly" - a term fully explained in the first few months of the spree. I will not spoil the book by discussing it further, but I will give a fair warning for the potential reader - if you think that this book is a collection of reviews you run the risk of reading it "badly". This book is all about the experience of reading, its joys, challenges and purpose.
Anyway, soon after finishing it, I ordered two of the books reviewed, put others on a list and recommended one to my daughter who doesn't read fiction a lot.