Yes, the kind of reading I’ve been doing lately is one that, primarily, seeks to reassure myself that Real Life and the myriad terrors it’s been serving up lately can be staved off—even vanquished under the onslaught of words, words, words. Although, haha, I don’t know why I gravitated to the three up there, as collectively they seem to be tailor-fit to depress the bejeebies out of me. Davis’ novel is about a man who hates his job and whose marriage is falling apart (and there is no assurance of a happy ending); Shields has constructed a manifesto on the kind of writing I have long ago forgotten how to do; the Plath is infamously about a young (promising!) woman who descends into a crippling and vividly described depression.
Proof of what makes Hornby such an effective writer on reading: He can share his experiences with books I will never ever care for, and yet I keep devouring his work. For example, here in the latest collection of his Believer columns: He prattles on about austerity in Britain for two pieces, and I read hungrily. He digresses (like always) toward football, and yet I read on. I mean, setting aside my purely selfish motivations—I want to talk about myself, and I want to talk about books, which is also largely about myself—isn’t that supposed the point of all our bibliophilic navel-gazing? Beyond setting one’s encounter with a book on a page of our own (so to speak), isn’t this reaching out to other readers—shouldn’t you be constantly making the case for reading and for good books, and for that wearied yet reinvigorated state of your soul in the aftermath of some spankin’ awesome literature? [Continue reading.]
So. As you can see, I gave in to temptation—to overwhelming need—and got myself the other two compilations of Nick Hornby’s Believer column—The Polysyllabic Spree and Shakespeare Wrote for Money. It was quite serendipitous, actually; the Universe was smiling down on me. I found a lightly battered (what a strange phrase for a strange condition) [...]
A word to the wise: this is a long one. It’s about how I read Nick Hornby, and what happened to me when I read it. It’s a reflection on how I’ve been making a mess of this blog, on what my intentions really are. I have not actually begged you guys out right to [...]