Monday, February 2, 2009

BOOK: Shakespeare Wrote for Money by Nick Hornby

Shakespeare Wrote for Money by Nick Hornby, 131 pages

Dewey Decimal: 808

I can never decide what I like best about these books: the new book ideas, the reviews of books I've already read, or Hornby's musing about reading in general. It's a real blend of all three. What I have also liked in the other two books of this series (The Polysyllabic Spree, Housekeeping vs the Dirt) were excerpts from other books which were sadly missing from this book.

1. Books I now want to read: Poppy Shakespeare, Skellig, Everything That Converges, The Abstinence Teacher. He seemed to read a lot more non-fiction this time, which he attributes to turning 50 and needing to know more stuff.

2. Books I've read already that I enjoyed reading his review of (and I feel smarter because I had already read them, just like Nick Hornby did): The Road, American Born Chinese, Holes, On Chesil Beach, Weetzie Bat

3. On favorite books and movies: to achieve such an exalted positon means that they entered your life at exactly the right time, in precisely the right place, and those conditions can never be re-created. Sometimes we want to revisit them in order to check whether they were really as good as we remember them being, but this has to be a suspect impulse, because what it presupposed is that we have more reason to trust out critical judgments as we get older, whereas I am beginning to believe that the reverse is true.

On finding a new author: It's not often you finish a first novel by a writer and you are seized by the need to read her second immediately. Of course, by the time her second comes out, I'll have forgotten all about the first. But today, the will is there.

The Bookword Game

When I read The Book Thief, I mentioned how I kept putting the book down, because I was afraid to read on, too afraid to wonder how bad Zusak could make this Holocaust book. Somebody commented that it was a Freezer Book, from the "Friends" episode of how Joey would put a scary book in the freezer when he didn't want to keep reading. Exactly!

A few months ago, bybee tried to find the phrase to describe the moment when you discover the title embedded in the novel. Turned out there was no such phrase, much to all her readers' dismay, so we suggested some names and voted on Title Drop. Isn't that perfect? It describes an event exactly that needed a description.

I think there are many more book phrases that need to be named. So, starting this Wednesday, Suey of It's All About Books and I are going to try this game, the Bookword Game. We will put a phrase out there that we think needs its own word, like Freezer Book, or Title Drop. We'll take suggestions and then there will be a vote. It is a democracy here after all. Mostly. We may make some unilateral decisions, but most unlikely! So come back on Wednesday to see what this is all about.


  1. I haven't had a chance to pick up anything by Hornby but it sound like I should. I'll add these 3 books to my TBR list. BTW- I loved, loved, loved The Book Thief. Hope you enjoy it as well :)

  2. I read his first 2 collections of essays and bought this one to read it. I was sad to learn this was the last one, does he mention at all why he stopped doing his column?

  3. I've had this book on the TBR shelf for a while now, but I'm waiting for the perfect time to read it (namely, when I'm not distracted by a ton of other stuff). I can't wait. Nick Hornby is an awesome reviewer. I was sad to see there were no book excerpts as well. It makes me even sadder to think this is his last Believer book. =( Ah well. Maybe he'll still release a book of reviews every once in a while. One can only hope!

  4. I love the Hornby books.

  5. I missed the book excerpts too! But it was still such a great collection.

    The Bookword Game sounds fun!

  6. sam.1020 - the Hornby's are very readable and amusing and you'll think he lives in your head, just that he can put your ideas into words better than you can!

    alea - not really. He continually mentions that the Spree want to fire him, but it sounds more like he just wanted a change.

    baddict - I can understand about wnating ot find the perfect tiem. It is so short and it is easy to just fly through it, but it should be savoured.

    amy - me too!

    nymeth - it felt a bit 'on the cheap' to not have the excerpts. Just throwing the columns together adn expecting Hornby fans to goggle it up, which we did. But I felt like I was taken advatage of by my good nature.

    I hope the game is fun, it relies on everyone's imaginative and creative minds.

  7. I haven't been able to stop thinking about "Title Drop" since I first heard it. I use it for movies, songs, and albums too!

  8. I really want to read these books! My library doesn't have them, so I inter-library loaned them. It would probably be nice to own them, but not a good time for book purchases!

  9. I read everything by Hornby, I didn't realize he had a new one out.

  10. I can't wait for the Bookword Game to start! What fun that's going to be!!!

  11. My copy of this arrived a couple of days ago and I can't wait to get stuck in to it. I loved the first two collections and Hornby is one of my favourite authors.

  12. lexi - I know, I love Title Drop and look for it all the time. You should read The Road Home, every chapter had a title drop. It was awesome.

    kailana - the boks are pretty slim, so the library would be worthwhile, (but they are good to go back to as well, so when you get some money, you can get them)

    pam - I just read a review on Nymeth a few weeks ago; I didn't realize he had a new book either. I ordered it right away.

    debi - the suggestions are so awesome, I knew if we all put our minds together, there would be some great ideas.

    rhinoa - it is a book to savour. I like going back to them afterwards to see if I've read a book that he reviewed earlier.

  13. LOVE the title! I haven't read anything by Nick Hornby in ages - I'll have to check this out.

  14. Just read this and finished it yesterday and linked to your review in mine. Such a great book. Most of my past week has been taken up with this and Polysyllabic Spree and it has been a great week of reading. So much to love from these books, from the way they cause one's to read pile to grow to just listening to the thoughts of another who loves reading like we do. Great stuff.


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