Wednesday, December 12, 2012

More Baths Less Talking

"Several months later, and I have finally read one of the three (books), even though I wanted to read all three of them immediately. What happened in between? Other books, is what happened. Other books, other moods, other obigations, other appetites, other reading journeys."

I confess I picked up this book because of the title, but I ended up enjoying it quite a bit. A book about books is right up my alley. This is a collection of the articles Hornby (author of About A Boy, High Fidelity, and more) wrote for the literary magazine The Believer from May 2010 to November/December 2011 in a column called "Stuff I've Been Reading." Hornby starts off each chapter (month) with two lists: the  books he bought that month and the books he read that month. Not surprisingly, they don't match up very often and many never turn up in the Books Read list, something all us booklovers can relate to.  Several books I have read are on his lists and it was fun to hear his thoughts on those--Just Kids, by Patti Smith, Brooklyn, by Colm Toibin, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot, Out Stealing Horses, by Per Petterson, A Visit From the Goon Squad, by Jennifer Egan, and some fiction by Muriel Spark. And he writes about plenty of books that are on my radar but that I haven't read yet, and a lot that I probably never will. But it's great fun to read about all of them because he writes with such enthusiasm about books, bringing in personal anecdotes about his  life and his family with a lot of humor thrown in, so it's like having a conversation with another reader.  His reading interests are vast and varied--fiction, non-fiction, biography, children's, poetry, contemporary, young adult,  classic. I can see why his column in The Believer is so popular, though it is currently on hiatus until 2013.  If you like to read about books and reading, I think you'll enjoy this. (Biff, you'll like it.) And how can you not like it with a title like that? The title, by the way, comes from one of the books, Mating in Captivity, in which a couple who don't speak the same language have a happy marriage because they communicate in other ways (like taking baths together).

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