‘Read what you enjoy, not what bores you,’ Nick Hornby tells us. And in this new collection of his columns from the Believer magazine he shows us how it’s done.
Or at least, how he does it: whether plunging into a biography of Dickens whilst his children are destroying something in the room next door or devouring a whole series of children’s books whilst on holiday. Hornby is the intelligent, committed but sceptical reader we’d all like to be. Admiring Ian McEwan’s On Chesil Beach, he points out a surprising anachronism. Reading Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, he wonders why ‘unflinching’ is a term of praise among critics. And who but Nick Hornby could successfully juxtapose a discussion of a book on Bob Dylan’s backing group, The Band, with one on the Stasi?
These accounts of one reader’s experience of buying and reading, and sometimes not reading, books differ from all other reviews or critical appreciations – they take into account the role that books actually play in the lives of readers. They are rich, witty, inspiring – and classic Hornby.