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Housekeeping vs. the Dirt Paperback – September 10, 2006


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Housekeeping vs. the Dirt + Shakespeare Wrote for Money + The Polysyllabic Spree
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: McSweeney's; First Edition edition (September 10, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1932416595
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932416596
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.6 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #472,162 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Nick Hornby is the author of the novels A Long Way Down, How to Be Good (a New York Times bestseller), High Fidelity, and About a Boy, and of the memoir Fever Pitch. He is also the author of Songbook, a finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award, and editor of the short-story collection Speaking with the Angel. He is also the recipient of the American Academy of Arts and Letters E. M. Forster Award, and the Orange Word International Writers London Award 2003.

Customer Reviews

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A great book for avid readers and Hornby fans.
reenum
I say that anyone who inspires us to read, and urges us to really read what we WANT (and not what we think we SHOULD), is speaking the commendable truth.
S. Habein
Hornby, an incorrigible book acquirer, begins each month with the list of books bought and those actually read.
C. Ebeling

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By C. Ebeling on October 4, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Time spent with Nick Hornby is always time well spent. In essay mode, he is a companionable conversationalist making sparkling observations, and since he hits so often on my cultural zeitgeist list, I feel like we're having a dialogue, not that he's doing a garrulous solo riff. HOUSEKEEPING VS. THE DIRT is the second collection of his mostly monthly reading column for "The Believer" magazine, covering much of 2005, right up to the June/July 2006 edition. Hornby, an incorrigible book acquirer, begins each month with the list of books bought and those actually read. His reading is eclectic, the choices often serendipitous, as in picking up a book a small child has yanked off the shelf, and the title sums up the range, from Marianne Robinson's critically acclaimed HOUSEKEEPING to Motley Crue's sensational THE DIRT. He recognizes that we don't read in a vacuum, we read while under the influence of moods and the events of our personal lives and the world, and as such our book acquiring and reading is a part of that dynamic, part of our fiber. It's nice to sit down with a guy who gets it that reading is cool and essential, that it's not a disassociated science or a substitute for life or something that distracts us unnecessarily from doing other things someone else may deem more useful.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Erik Olson VINE VOICE on November 22, 2006
Format: Paperback
I've enjoyed three of Nick Hornby's books. Two were made into great movies: "About a Boy" and "High Fidelity." The third book was "The Polysyllabic Spree," a collection of fourteen months of book review columns he did for "Believer" magazine. I was initially drawn to that book because 1) I love to read, and 2) I like to write reviews on Amazon. I appreciated it for those reasons, and was happy to continue with this sequel, "Housekeeping Vs. The Dirt."

Each month gets one chapter (except for the two June/July periods, which are each compressed into one), where Mr. Hornby lists the title and author of the eclectic collection of books he bought vs. the ones he actually read. Then, he discusses the rationale for his purchases, and what he got out of the ones he managed to open. Plus, there are plenty of half-baked excuses for why he missed his reading goals (the Christmas column contains a nice running gag along those lines). Finally, there are excerpts from his top picks.

In "The Polysyllabic Spree," Mr. Hornby wrote that Amazon reviewers are of dubious parentage. Even so, I still enjoy his unique style of, well, reviewing. He has a cool way of weaving his personal life into the mix, so there's an autobiographical slant throughout the columns. For example, we find out some stuff about his family life, and follow the progress of his favorite football (i.e. soccer) team. But the best part of reading this book was finding out that I'm not the only sap who buys tons more books than I'll ever be able to read in a lifetime. Now I don't feel so alone in the world.

For those of you who love reading and are looking for a lighthearted book or two about your passion, then both "Housekeeping Vs.
Read more ›
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By JR Pinto on October 18, 2006
Format: Paperback
This continues the great collection of Nick Hornby's Believer essays that was begun in the Polysyllabic Spree. The idea behind these essays is that Hornby will read whatever he likes and, at the end of the month, write a column about it.

What I appreciate most about Hornby's essays (besides his sense of humor) is his barely contained love of reading. He does it because he wants to - not because he thinks he should. Some of his words of wisdom that would mortify the average "literary fiction" person include: "...if you're reading a book that's killing you, put it down and read something else..." and "..if you don't read the classics, or the novel that won this year's Booker Prize, then nothing bad will happen to you; more importantly, nothing good will happen to you if you do...."

And Nick, if you're out there reading this, I know you can't stand Amazon reviewers, but I also know you constantly read them, so I'm STILL recommending your book no matter what you say. HA!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Rick Ollerman on November 20, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book is great BUT...

This is merely the second half of "The Polysyllabic Spree." Both the description and numerous reviews here call it a sequel, implying that it's a collection of his columns beginning AFTER the ones collected in Spree. Not so. The columns reprinted in Housekeeping are completely contained in Spree so if you have that book, you already have the columns in Housekeeping. Apparently other reviewers aren't actually reading the books they're talking about. But the columns themselves are excellent, even though I've now spent money on this particular set twice.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on March 29, 2009
Format: Paperback
This is the second collection of Hornby's essays from the magazine The Believer on what he has been reading each month and the connections between what he is reading and his actual life (it follows The Polysyllabic Spree). In this collection, Hornby really hits his stride. Not only are many of the pieces laugh-aloud funny, but there are several pithy nuggets that you will immediately want to read out loud to whoever is sitting next to you. And you will find some interesting reading recommendations to boot.

I particularly admire Hornby's advice to readers and would-be readers, as it reminds us all to only spend our time on books that are "worth reading," but that phrase--"worth reading"--differs for all of us. For you, it may be Proust's Remembrance of Things Past; for me, it may be a deliciously dark thriller like Gentlemen and Players; and for Hornby, it may be the Motley Crue biography, The Dirt. But what matters is that you are enjoying what you are reading, that the book is bringing something to the table. Because otherwise, reading will become a chore, like school, and then bam! We'll lose another one to American Idol.

Oh yes, and Hornby also has advice for writers: stop writing about writers. Enough already! To which I can only say amen, unless you happen to be Michael Chabon.
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