Tuesday, January 8, 2008

BOOK: Housekeeping vs The Dirt by Nick Hornby

Housekeeping vs The Dirt: Fourteen Months of Massively Witty Adventures in Reading by Nick Hornby

themed reading, essays (mini challenge)

This would be the sequel to The Polysyllabic Spree, Hornby's collection of essays from the Believer, something I've never read. When I originally read the Spree, I thought I read a lot of different books, but I recognized very few of the books Hornby read and even fewer of the books he bought - two separate categories, as we all know. His writing was still hilarious, as if he understood the voice in my head and knew how to tickle it. Two years later I'm reading the sequel and my book intelligence quota (B.I.Q.)has risen immensely.

Several excerpts are included: Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell(I've read); Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris (I want to read and had heard of ); Persepolis, a graphic novel by Marjane Satrapi (which I recognize the name of from the Graphic Novel challenge); Citizen Vince by Jess Walters, plus a few more. But it is Hornby's essays as he studies his reading, and the writing of other books and his admiration of authors that keep me reading.

I wish I could analyse and discuss books as coherently and interestingly as he does. I can follow his train of thought but as soon as I try to explain what I just read, I can't. His logic is not my outline logic ( I organize ideas in classic outline form, with Roman numerals, letters, numbers, etc), but it still works. His defence of reading what you like makes so much sense - why struggle through a book you find difficult and are not enjoying? And then in another essay, he talks about buying a book because he'd like to be the guy who reads a book like that.

I think this is the book that So Many Books, So Little Time wanted to be, but wasn't quite there. It was very good, but Hornby is even better.


  1. I have never read any of his stuff. I must do it one day! Great review! =)


  2. Sounds good! Btw, I gave you an award on my blog.

  3. jill - not even his fiction? About a Boy, High Fidelity, and another one? are all pretty good. You should try one.

    chris - thanks and mwah

    teddy rose - welcome to my blog; it's your first comment!

  4. I'm looking forward to reading The Polysyllabic Spree. I love the title of this new one.

  5. bybee - The Dirt refers to a book about/by Nicky Sixx of Moltley Crue. There was a line so horrible, Hornby reprinted it, but it is so small you need a magnifying glass. That reminds me, I want to look that line up. Where is that magnifying glass?

  6. As usual, you're totally right! I think that these 2 (I haven't read this one yet) are what So Many Books, So Little Time wanted to be.

    From the sounds of it, I think I'll like this one even better, woo!

  7. Just read this book myself and thought it was fabulous! I've begun living by his read-what-you-like credo myself.


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