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The Polysyllabic Spree: A Hilarious and True Account of One Man's Struggle with the Monthly Tide of the Books He's Bought and the Books He's B [Paperback]

By Nick Hornby (Author)
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Item description for The Polysyllabic Spree: A Hilarious and True Account of One Man's Struggle with the Monthly Tide of the Books He's Bought and the Books He's B by Nick Hornby...

The author of High Fidelity and About a Boy shares samples from his "Stuff I've Been Reading" columns in The Believer, focusing on various books he has found interesting, in a volume that includes selected passages from the novels, poetry, biographies, and comics discussed.

Publishers Description
"Books are, let's face it, better than everything else," writes Nick Hornby in his "Stuff I've Been Reading" column in The Believer. "If we played cultural Fantasy Boxing League, and made books go 15 rounds in the ring against the best that any other art form had to offer, then books would win pretty much every time. Go on, try it. The Magic Flute v. Middlemarch? Middlemarch in six. The Last Supper v. Crime and Punishment? Fyodor on point And every now and again you'd get a shock, because that happens in sport, so Back to the Future III might land a lucky punch on Rabbit, Run; but I'm still backing literature 29 times out of 30." This book collects Hornby's popular columns in a single, artfully illustrated volume with selected passages from the novels, biographies, collections of poetry, and comics under discussion.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   143
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.5" Width: 5.7" Height: 0.41"
Weight:   0.5 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Nov 30, 2004
Publisher   McSweeney's, Believer Books
ISBN  1932416242  
ISBN13  9781932416244  

Availability  0 units.

More About Nick Hornby

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Nick Hornby is the author of seven internationally bestselling novels (Funny Girl, 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, Songbook and Ten Years In The Tub. He has written screenplay adaptions of Lynn Barber's An Education, nominated for an Academy Award, Cheryl Strayed's Wild and Colm Toibin's Brooklyn. He lives in London.

Nick Hornby currently resides in London. Nick Hornby was born in 1957.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Authors, A-Z > ( H ) > Hornby, Nick
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Books & Reading > General
3Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > History & Criticism > Criticism & Theory > General
4Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > World Literature > British > 20th Century
5Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > World Literature > United States > United States > General

Reviews - What do customers think about The Polysyllabic Spree?

Pollysllabic Spree For Real  Jun 4, 2008
Nick Hornby's The Polysyllabic Spree is an interesting look at what one man buys and reads in a given month. The commentary about his choices and his reads are fantastically amusing. It's good to see that us readers and writers are not alone in our efforts to catalogue our finds and keep a running tally of our progress.

It was intriguing to learn how he chose his books in a given month and how one choice led to the others.

One thing I think I took issue with was Hornby's contention that he has not felt like part of a music concert or show in a long time, like he can become part of the action in a book. I find that I don't have this problem. I get into music in much the same way that I do books. I'm not sure what is different about my make-up compared to Hornby's, but I am certainly not in the mainstream.

I'm a bit younger, so maybe that plays into it. I'm not sure, but I can tell you this. When I do make it to a concert (when I have some money) I am right there, in the crowd, with the crowd, in the moment of the song, and in the moment with the singer. Then again, maybe it isn't just me, maybe it is the singer's themselves or bands that create that feeling for me and others at the concert. I'm not sure. My favorite concerts are those with Godsmack. They always put on a crowd-involved show. I always leave feeling completely satisfied and pumped....ready for more...there is no total utility there for me. Maybe that has something to do with talking to the lead singer long ago before they were famous and I had no idea who he was...just an interesting guy to talk to between sets at a local concert venue for local bands.

Regardless, if you are feeling lonely in your list-making, just pick up Hornby's book, and you'll see there are a lot more of us out there than you thought.
Polysyllabic   May 30, 2007
This is a great little book about Nick Hornby's views on reading and Life, The Universe and Everything. For over a year he wrote monthly essays about reading books in a magazine called The Believer. Each one is about 3/4 pages long and he spends half of the essays writing about his book choices and half writing about why he chose them and other things. If you like Hornby's narrative voice in the novels you'll really like this. On a handful of occasions an extract (perhaps 2/3 pages) of a book he recommends is printed (i.e. from Great Expectations)which I liked. He tries very hard not to be too critical of certain books as this is a Rule of the magazine- though he can't help himself sometimes. For instance, although he likes Ian McEwan's book Saturday, Hornby despairs of him making two of the characters published poets (Newdigate prize winners) and one a jazz musician and one a brain surgeon, saying that it disassociates the readers from the characters. But all in all, you do get the impression that this is someone in love with books, despite the self hate for the hard work involved in reading them. Such is a successful authors lot in life that he gets sent books, and paid sometimes, to read and review them. Unfortunately for me this means a lot of the books I hadn't even heard of but Hornby couldn't help that. Also, there is a bit of nepetism involved with author-brothers-in-laws, author sisters, friends etc., of whose books he, of course, praises and you've never heard of them and probably never will again. You do wonder, during the course of this book, why he is doing this rather than write a novel,especially as he is often short of time and he never explains. Apart from these minor points though, it's a great book to read for book lovers by a book lover.
Have Pen and Paper Handy  Apr 18, 2007
I've heard Nick Hornby accurately described as exceptional at relating what it means to be a fan of something: for example, Fever Pitch (football), Songbook (music), and Polysyllabic Spree (books). This is a short collection of articles Hornby wrote for Believer magazine over a period of about 14 months, each of which begins with a list each of books Hornby bought and read during the month.

In the process, The Polysyllabic Spree accomplishes a few things beyond the obvious of adding to the reader's inevitably already-too-long list of must reads (there's no way that those who picked up this book didn't already have a list): it excerpts particularly interesting books, like a literary sample platter; it compares books to other cultural media and explains why and how literature beats movies and film almost every time; and it recounts some amusing anecdotes about Hornby's writing career and first glimpses of associated fame. Most importantly, the Spree offers great commentary on the compulsive allure of reading- nay, of book purchasing (and then reading)- and of the acceptable snobbishness associated with selectively accepting book recommendations, reading, and literary criticism. Hornby is both passionate and opinionated on the subject, and reveals his personal literary ethic throughout the Spree: he treats personal book recommendations with suspicion, hates this site reviewers, and seeks to avoid too familiar subject matter (e.g., autism (he has an autistic son)) and writing styles (just as he prefers others' cooking style to his own).

The book suggestions are fantastic, notwithstanding an emphasis on obscure older British authors. Hornby abided by the Believer's editors' review rules, one of which was emphasizing only the positive in his selected books, so almost every book listed in the Spree comes recommended. [The book's title comes from Hornby's hilarious send-up of the editorial staff, which he pictures as "twelve rather eerie young men and women, all dressed in white robes and smiling maniacally, like a sort of literary equivalent of the Polyphonic Spree."] I now have a whole lot of book picks that I wouldn't otherwise be aware of, and if that's not enough, the Spree-recommended "So Many Books" (Gabriel Zaid), might pick up where this one left off.
Hornby's KnockOut !!  Feb 1, 2007
OK. I read some other books from this guy and I came to an end: he writes just the way he things. High Fidelity is a great novel ?? Yes. About a boy?? too. Long way down?? Include this on your list. This must be a great guy to chat on a pub and share some Guinesses after work. The report on everything bought against everything actually read is hilarius and, honestly: We allways buy at least two times more books that we end up reading. The selection on what is readble and "trashable" depends on each one, but it is great to read such selections and remarks from a good author. If we could do a magic boxing league with authors instead of art expressions I would bet on Hornby by KO !!!
Delightful  Dec 20, 2006
If you love reading, you'll enjoy Hornby's jaunt through his booklist. I could totally identify with his "books bought" vs. "books read" problem ... I share the same condition. Hornby is a clever, witty writer. This makes a good gift. The only problem -- it made me want to read Believer magazine, the periodical these essays come from, and it's a FREAKING expensive mag!

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