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Housekeeping vs. the Dirt Paperback – September 10, 2006
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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.
The true low point of the book came on pages 100 and 101 where he actually defended political correctness. He objected to the phrase `deliciously politically correct', and said that what the phrase really meant is that a work is racist, sexist or homophobic. Um, no, actually it doesn't as they usually are not. Fiction is supposed to be about imagination and creativity so it's appalling that any novelist would defend limitations on speech. Given the thin parameters of PC, do we throw out all of Hemingway, Faulkner, and Mark Twain? We'd have to if we left it to the race, sex, and gay obsessed leftists who are the true merchants of hate in our society. Creating rules for speech and shunning those who fail to meet them is the stuff of totalitarianism. I don't want it here and they shouldn't want it in England. PC is a great evil and represents the death of the intellect. It's too bad that Mr. Hornby has become so corrupted by trends and his own pathetic need to conform. As we saw in Fever Pitch, he could have been somebody, but now, like the Arsenal player Gus Caesar, he's nothing but a memory.
The believer reviews are written by Nick Hornby and are chatty and approachable and date from 2005 and 2006. Interestingly, they are almost all positive reviews, reflecting the ground rules set by The Polysyllabic Spree - which appears to be Hornby's name for the board of trustees of the Believer magazine.
The reviews either gush or they don't.
The books Hornby gushes over include "Poppy Shakespeare" by Clare Allan, "Housekeeping" by Marilynne Robinson and Bob Dylan's autobiography "Chronicles."
The books with good reviews (no gush) include "The Selected Letters of Phillip Larkin" by the poet Phillip Larkin. And here I can understand Hornby's failure to gush as Larkin sometimes comes off as a juvenile who keeps repeating a naughty word that was just learned.
This is a good read well and worth 4 stars. If Hornsby had gushed over "The Selected Letters of Phillip Larkin" I would have downgraded my rating to 3.
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We readers are treated to another set of Hornby's thoughts on reading.Read more