Synopses & Reviews
The Polysyllabic Spree
collects fourteen installments of Nick Hornby's celebrated monthly column "Stuff I've Been Reading" from The Believer
A finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for his music criticism, Nick Hornby now turns his unerring gaze to books. Here, in his monthly accounts of what he's read along with what he bought and may one day read Nick Hornby ably explores everything from the classic to the graphic novel, as well as poems, plays, and sports-related exposes. 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.
All proceeds from this book will be split between 826NYC, a writing center in Brooklyn offering free classes to students between the ages of 8 and 18, and Treehouse, a London-based charity for kids with autism.
"Both playful and profound, The Polysyllabic Spree is a literary smorgasbord that insatiable bibliophiles will devour with delight." Allison Block, San Francisco Chronicle
"If you love to read, or like to read, or you're in that vast category of those wishing for more time to read, here is a book that will have you saying "yes" and "so true," or just have you smiling in knowing amusement at most pages....A reading diary of sharp and thoughtful musings on literature that ultimately asks: Why do we read, anyway?" Carol Iaciofano, Boston Globe
"[The Polysyllabic Spree] will give you a remarkable opportunity to spend some time in conversation with a guy who will almost certainly make you go out and buy what he reads." John Freeman, The St. Petersburg Times
"Hornby is the rare writer who can say a whole hell of a lot without coming off as smugly proud of himself for being able to say so much." PopMatters
"What Hornby does so beautifully here is to assume the intelligence of his readers, and to obliterate the literature/pleasure divide by acting, sensibly, as if it didn't exist. The implicit message of these columns is that nothing that is not pleasurable has a right to be considered art. It certainly doesn't have a right to your time." Charles Taylor, Salon.com (read the entire Salon.com review)
"Books are, let's face it, better than everything else," writes Nick Hornby in his "Stuff I've Been Reading" column in The Believer. "If we played cultural Fantasy Boxing League, and made books go 15 rounds in the ring against the best that any other art form had to offer, then books would win pretty much every time. Go on, try it. The Magic Flute v. Middlemarch? Middlemarch in six. The Last Supper v. Crime and Punishment? Fyodor on point. And every now and again you'd get a shock, because that happens in sports, so Back to the Future III might land a lucky punch on Rabbit, Run; but I'm still backing literature 29 times out of 30." This book collects Hornby's popular columns in a single, artfully illustrated volume with selected passages from the novels, biographies, collections of poetry, and comics under discussion.
In his monthly column "Stuff I've Been Reading," Hornby lists the books he's purchased that month, and briefly discusses the books he's actually read.
NIck Hornby's Polysyllabic Spree Includes selected passages from the novels, biographies, collections of poetry, and comics discussed in the column.
About the Author
Nick Hornby is the author of Fever Pitch, High Fidelity, About a Boy, and How to be Good. Songbook, his collection of essays on music, was a finalist for the 2003 National Book Critics Circle Award.
The Polysyllabic Spree is the first title in the Believer Book series, which collects essays by and interviews with some of our favorite authors George Saunders, Zadie Smith, Michel Houellebecq, Janet Malcolm, Jim Shepard, and Haruki Murakami, to name a few. These attractive books combine material previously published in The Believer with new, shockingly good material. In addition, Believer Books is happy to introduce our audience to titles from around the non-English-speaking world (places like Sweden, Portugal, and Madagascar), translated and published in English for the first time. These jacketed paperbacks will feature a recognizable and cohesive style and will be affordably priced.