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January 3, 2007

'Stuff I've Been Reading' — by Nick Hornby


That's the title of his monthly column in The Believer magazine.

Each month's column begins with a list of "Books Read" and "Books Bought," then goes wherever Hornby chooses.

Full disclosure: I've never read one of Hornby's columns, nor did I even know of its existence until I read the following in the final paragraph of Tom Shone's review of John Sutherland's "How To Read A Novel: A User's Guide," in the December 17, 2006 New York Times Book Review:

"Anyone interested in the way people really read novels ought to turn to Nick Hornby's "Stuff I've Been Reading" columns for The Believer magazine: they're a real-time, on-the-ground account of one man's monthly battle to square the number of books he buys with the number of books he actually reads, while fighting off the competing demands of TV, kids and soccer."

Hornby's first online Believer column is from September, 2003, and each month's is posted up through October, 2006.

The Believer website lets you see each month's "Books Read" and "Books Bought" and then read the opening 800 words of so of the column free; to read the rest of the column you have to pay.

Another way to gain access to the columns is to buy or borrow from the library Hornby's recent book (2006), "Housekeeping vs. the Dirt," a collection of his more recent Believer columns.

His 2004 book, "The Polysyllabic Spree,"


collected an earlier group of those columns, a total of 14 months worth.

As the years pass and the books accumulate much faster than I can ever hope to read them, I'm comforted by Truman Capote's remark, to wit: "Once you own a book you don't have to read it."

Much solace there.

January 3, 2007 at 02:01 PM | Permalink


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