Friday, January 22, 2010

Review of the Day: The Polysyllabic Spree

The Polysyllabic Spree is a collection of 14 essays that Nick Hornby wrote for the Believer magazine. Described on the cover as, “A hilarious and true account of one man’s struggle with the monthly tide is the books he’s bought and the books he’s been meaning to read,” it is the famous person’s version of a book blog.

Hornby is a funny guy, so he brings some levity to a topic that can bring out the pomposity in the best of us. He admits that his lofty intentions often outpace his attention span and his whims divert him from his goals. He admits he forgets most of what he reads. He lauds literature over all other forms of entertainment in one essay, only to recant in the next because he watched a terrific football match. He makes literary criticism jolly.

His consumption includes fiction, biography, science books, and poetry. He incorporates several reviews of the books he read into his essays and writes at length about some of his favorite authors. He salts this hotchpot with commentary about the reader’s life, such as this treat: “I’m not entirely sure why I chose those two in particular, beyond the usual attempts at reinvention that periodically seize one in a bookstore.”

There are two more volumes in this series. With luck, they will be as inspiring and entertaining as this one.


Vapour Trails

(If you would like your review listed here, please leave a comment with a link and I will add it)


  1. This sounds like my kind of book!

  2. I have this sitting here but am so afraid of adding to my TBR lists that I haven't read it yet -- but I really want to!

  3. This was a great collections of essays! So glad you enjoyed them. I hope to read the other two at some point.

  4. Hornby is such and entertaining writer, I can only imagine how he would approach his own escapades in reading! Thanks for the cheerful review!

  5. All great comments -- thanks. I can't wait to read the other two.

  6. I am really looking forward to reading these. I love having a book of essays or shorts that I can go to when I only have a little bit of time to read.

  7. Reviewed The Polysyllabic Spree here


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