Item description for Housekeeping vs. the Dirt by Nick Hornby, Ron Brooks, Caitlin Davies, Famke Peters, David B. Clarke & Helton G. Baynes...
Overview Offers reviews on a wide range of American works, providing insights into the authors' styles and techniques and making recommendations for readers.
In this latest collection of essays following The Polysyllabic Spree, critic and author Nick Hornby continues the feverish survey of his swollen bookshelves, offering funny, intelligent, and unblinkered account of the stuff he's been reading. Ranging from the middlebrow to the highbrow (with unrepenting dips into the lowbrow), Hornby's dispatches from his nightstand table serve as useful guides to the contemporary literary scene. Purchasing more books than he can read in the month allotted to him, Hornby nevertheless manages to speed through an impressive amount of material, and his choices often strike into deep, odd places. Hornby's book reviews are suffused with wit, ire, and loving insight. He can be trusted to point out which books are ridiculously unfunny, which books can be read incognito for their naughtiness, and most urgently, which books can bring themselves "all the way through the long march to your soul."
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 0.5" Width: 5.5" Height: 8.5" Weight: 0.6 lbs.
Release Date Sep 30, 2006
ISBN 1932416595 ISBN13 9781932416596
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More About Nick Hornby, Ron Brooks, Caitlin Davies, Famke Peters, David B. Clarke & Helton G. Baynes
Nick Hornby is the author of six internationally bestselling novels (High Fidelity, About a Boy, How to Be Good, A Long Way Down, Slam and Juliet, Naked) and several works of non-fiction, including Fever Pitch. His screenplay for the film An Education was nominated for an Academy Award. He lives in Highbury, north London.
Nick Hornby currently resides in London. Nick Hornby was born in 1957.
Reviews - What do customers think about Housekeeping vs. the Dirt?
Holyer Than Thou Jan 20, 2008
I always used to love NH, especially his characters, but in Housekeeping vs Dirt one gets a sense of the man himself. That's the appeal, of course, except I don't find what I read there remotely appealing. Hornby is the archtypal Thatcher era liberal. I say Thatcher era, because his current stance reminds me of the London Labour Party liberals I knew at the time and, unlike them, Hornby never came to terms with the fact that "New Labour" was basically the Tories gone trendy. The thing about Thatcher era liberals (apart from being stuck in a time-warp) is that beneath the self-deprecating veneer they can be pretty intolerant, self-obsessed, and petty bourgeois. Thus it annoys him when a book he reviews is described as "deliciously politically incorrect", a description he believes only "arseholes" use to justify racist and sexist attitudes. Time and again his inner teacher breaks to the surface, for instance when reviewing The Dirt by Mötley Crüe. He finds a sentence in this so disturbing and "corrupting" even, that he prints it in nano-letters, telling his readers to get a magnifying glass if they wish, but advising them not to bother. Of course, one does. And while the offending sentence is pretty harsh, the year is (or was) 2007, and it hardly qualifies as the "most vile thing" ever printed. Why bother to include it at all? Because it allows for classroom drama: who's a naughty boy then?
Sorry Sir, I just couldn't resist! Okay Then, but to make it up you'll study the Labour Party's 1984 Manifesto, and tell us why American intellectual imperialism prevented the party's ascension to power in that year. You can sit now. Oh, and put that silly magnifying glass away! I actually wish I hadn't read this diatribe because it casts a brilliant author in a rather unpleasant light - though it obviously doesn't detract from his achievements.
Excellent essays on reading Sep 3, 2007
This second collection of Hornby's columns picks up where "The Polysyllabic Spree" left off.
We readers are treated to another set of Hornby's thoughts on reading. There are few authors today like Hornby, who are immensely intelligent while remaining accessible. To read this witty and thought provoking collection is to see a master taking joy in what he loves to do.
An added bonus is that there are many great book recommendations here. I personally found about 5 books that I immediately placed on my to-read list.
A great book for avid readers and Hornby fans.
Another Fantastic Collection Mar 29, 2007
I'll pretty much devour anything Nick Hornby publishes, but this book filled me with a little extra "I know just what you're talking about" glee with the features on Sarah Vowell, probably my next favorite writer next to Hornby, and Jess Walter, who hails from my neck of the woods-- Spokane, WA. With both this book and the previous collection of Believer essays, Hornby inspires you to tackle your stack of books you've let accumulate on the shelf, or to go a bit crazy next time you visit the library. I say that anyone who inspires us to read, and urges us to really read what we WANT (and not what we think we SHOULD), is speaking the commendable truth.
Writer on the Decline. Mar 26, 2007
I've been a Nick Hornby fan since I read Fever Pitch and High Fidelity, and I enjoyed the first round of reviews in The Polysyllabic Spree but this book wore on me by the end. The first thing which made it as inferior was the book selection itself--or the works he talks about throughout. For the most part its fiction and there was nothing Hornby perused that wound up on my wish list; whereas, in the first installment I got several solid recommendations. Second, Hornby always has witty, clever moments, that's his nature, but they are not enough to make up for the outright politicizing he engages in at several points in the book. He was not as overt about his politics in Polysyllabic which caused it to grate less. He seems to think that people on the right can't read so that all of his leftist cant is merely preaching to the converted. Well, he lost one fan with this publication. We'll see how many more he looses in the future. It was probably inevitable anyway as he doesn't like this site reviewers much either and takes an elitist view of guys like me. The last thing I need is a silly fiction writer like Hornby talking down to me about politics. If he thinks socialism is the answer to anything, life is going to deal him several more disappointments in the years ahead. His views on the subject are superficial and I resented his taking advantage of his readers in such a fashion.
The true low point of the book came on pages 100 and 101 where he actually defended political correctness. He objected to the phrase `deliciously politically correct', and said that what the phrase really meant is that a work is racist, sexist or homophobic. Um, no, actually it doesn't as they usually are not. Fiction is supposed to be about imagination and creativity so it's appalling that any novelist would defend limitations on speech. Given the thin parameters of PC, do we throw out all of Hemingway, Faulkner, and Mark Twain? We'd have to if we left it to the race, sex, and gay obsessed leftists who are the true merchants of hate in our society. Creating rules for speech and shunning those who fail to meet them is the stuff of totalitarianism. I don't want it here and they shouldn't want it in England. PC is a great evil and represents the death of the intellect. It's too bad that Mr. Hornby has become so corrupted by trends and his own pathetic need to conform. As we saw in Fever Pitch, he could have been somebody, but now, like the Arsenal player Gus Caesar, he's nothing but a memory.
long may he run. Mar 23, 2007
i have never seen the believer magazine. i don't know if mr hornby is still doing this column. i hope he is. the first volume of these collected essays "the polysyllabic spree," was addictive, so i was thrilled to see this second volume on my local barnes & noble shelves. i took it home with me, put all other reading material aside, and devoured it in an evening. just as addictive as the first book. long may mr hornby run. someday i hope to see more volumes of this material at bookstores than, say, volumes of patrick o'brian sea novels. i don't know what it says about me, but lately i've been enjoying reading what other people have to say about the fiction they are reading, more so than i am enjoying reading fiction myself. call me knucklehead johnson, i guess.