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Shakespeare Wrote for Money Paperback – December 1, 2008
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If you can say with honesty that you have been known to read three or four books a month, pick up these far too short collections and get some tips from a guy you'd want to have a beer with. Maybe two. Bring a pencil, because you'll want to remember some of his recommendations.
Now at the end of his "Stuff" career, his voice and style are no longer a surprise but remain something to enjoy. He's not bouncing off the walls anymore, which makes one wonder if he's traded to decaf and quit smoking. He takes some breaks, too; and there's one month where football on television became a priority and another when he's reviewing films to vote in the Brit version of the Academy Awards. But when he's on, he's on, as when he wants to wholly admire "On Chesil Beach" but he can't entirely let go an unintentional anachronism author Ian McEwan lets slip in a reference to the Beatles and the Stones. He wonders what's wrong with flinching when reading "The Road" by Cormac McCarthy. This time around (columns from 2006 to his last, September 2008), Hornby discovers, for starters, a wonderland in Young Adult novels, chats up his brother-in-law's books because they deserve it, and notes how many recent books are devoted to particular years, like "1599: A Year in the Life of Shakespeare."
I came away with some titles to follow up on and a lot of fun conversation from the other side of the pond. I don't blame him for moving on, but I'll miss these columns.