Monday, January 7, 2013

More Baths Less Talking...thoughts along the way...

More Baths Less Talking by Nick Hornby. (*Not* Less Baths More Talking, which for some reason I keep thinking this collection is called.) Anyway, another collection of Hornby's columns from the Believer. I can't even express how excited I am to be starting this book!!!

*Okay, you know it's going to be a great book when you're laughing out loud just reading the Table of Contents, don't you? Btw, do most people actually read the Table of Contents? Just curious.

*OMG--this man cracks me up. I lost count of how many times he had me laughing out loud during this first essay (May 2010). I'm not sure why--maybe I've had one too many gin and tonics (though I've only had one so far), or maybe I'm just too exhausted, or maybe I just have the mindset of a stereotypical 12-year-old boy--but the bit about the records of Henry St. John's masturbation just had me rolling. And yet with all his wit and humor, he ends up making books that I can't imagine ever reading sound incredibly interesting. But yeah, still probably not reading Austerity Britain, 1945-51. However, American Rust by Philipp Meyer is being added to the wish list thanks to this first column.

*June 2010. Despite all the acclaim Patti Smith's Just Kids has received, I've really felt no real desire to read it. Yep, you guessed it--until now.

*July/August 2010. Sometimes he makes me laugh, even when I sort of feel like I really shouldn't be. :P
And this time, two more to the wish list--The Driver's Seat and A Far Cry from Kensington both by Muriel Spark, whom I've never read.

*September 2010. Wow...he didn't make me want to buy any books with this column. Of course, that could just be because he'd downloaded Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis and I couldn't get past that shuddering thought. (The one and only book I thoroughly despised from my high school reading assignments. Would I hate it as much today? I'll probably never have the stomach to find out.)

*November/December 2010. I was so excited to see that he bought Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick this month, because it's one of the books I really want to get to this year. However, he didn't actually read this month so I didn't get to hear his thoughts. :( (But I haven't given up hope--maybe he'll read it before the end of this collection.)
As is always the case, the column itself is very entertaining...and I was happy to hear that he sort of had the same "really old classics avoidance tendency" that I do. Though you may notice, I used the past tense with Mr. Hornby and the present with myself. He's working his way past this avoidance...I can only hope that means there's still hope for me. And of course, he did get me to add another book to my wish list--not a classic, but a contemporary collections of essays called Book of Days by Emily Fox Gordon.

*January 2011. Mmmmm...well I think he convinced me that I'm correct in my reluctance to read Dickens. Of course, I'm fairly confident that steering people away from Dickens is not his intention as he is obviously a rather large fan himself. What can I say...
He did, however, get me to add The Uncoupling by Meg Wolitzer to the wish list. The concept of that one really intrigues (and horrifies!) me...a magic wind blows through this town and makes all the women stop wanting sex.

*February 2011. I squeeeed a little bit when I saw he bought Will Grayson Will Grayson. He didn't, however, read it this month. And he didn't convince to buy any of the books that he did read this go-round. I can definitely see why he made Ana want to read Let's Talk About Love: A Journey to the End of Taste by Carl Wilson though. It sounds really good, but the fact of the matter is that I would likely never get around to actually reading it.

*March/April 2011. His facetious little pity party about the volcanic ash ruining his 53rd birthday amused me, and also reminded of the recent episode of The Fabulous Beekman Boys I watched where Brent scheduled a wedding at the farm on the weekend of Josh's 40th birthday. Yeah, I know, not relevant, but I just love it when one fun thing reminds me of another fun thing...because well, fun things are good.
Maybe more pertinent to the essay itself is this cool little blurb:
Several months later, and I have finally read one of the three, even though I wanted to read all three of them immediately. (What happened in between? Other books, is what happened. Other books, other moods, other obligations, other appetites, other reading journeys.)
Yes, yes, that is something I suspect nearly all of us can relate to!

*May 2011. Well, he certainly made me grateful that I've never felt the urge to pick up a John Updike book before!
He read Jon Ronson's The Psychopath Test, but that one was already sort of on my radar. However, he mentioned a couple other of Ronson's books, and I'm now fairly sure I'd like to give Them a go someday--as Hornby put it, it's about "extremists of all hues."

*June 2011. There was more laughter...brought on by a tidbit that I couldn't help but share with Rich. And when that happened this time, it clicked with me that that is a mark of a book I didn't waste my time reading--if there is something so amusing or so interesting or so infuriating, etc. that it makes me interrupt my darling husband's own reading to share it, well, then it was almost certainly a book worth spending my time with.

*July/August 2011. Yay! He read Nothing to Envy...and of course, I now want to read it even more.

*September 2011 and October 2011 and November/December 2011. There's honestly nothing I feel I must say about these. You're welcome.

*Oh my. It's just so sad to be finishing this collection. The enjoyment his essays bring me is immense. I think that this particular collection had me adding less books to my wish list than any of his previous books, but that in no way says anything about my enjoyment level. It is simply fun, fun, fun to read his thoughts on any book, whether or not said book interests me enough to read myself.


I'm counting this for the Long-Awaited Reads (All Because of Ana) Month. Now, on the surface, this may sound a bit like cheating, but hear me out. First of all, I've been waiting a loooooong time to read this collection. Ever since I finished the last, in fact. Before I even knew there was a possibility that there would be a new collection because Hornby stopped writing the column for a time. Just because it didn't technically exist didn't mean I wasn't desperately waiting for it anyway. And secondly, it is because of Ana that I first started reading these collections in the first place. Okay, so I think I have justified its inclusion, yes?


Kailana said...

I really enjoyed this collection. :)

Eva said...

What a fun post to read Debi! I felt like I was in your living room reading with you. :D

Nothing to Envy is incredible. And I'm in your camp re: Dickens!

Chris Howard said...

Yep…you've definitely convinced me I need to get this one!

Debi said...

I can definitely understand why! :)

I remembered that you loved Nothing to fact that's one of the reasons I've been so determined to get to it this year. :)

I know you'd love it!

Anonymous said...

I love how you respond to each essay. I need to remember this...if I ever manage to read any essays. ;-)