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Ten Years in the Tub Paperback – September 30, 2014
100 (Fiction) Books to Read in a Lifetime
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Ten years ago when his “Stuff I’ve Been Reading” column debuted with The Believer, Nick Hornby instantly became one of our most persuasive contemporary champions for the pleasures of the (examined) reading life. Unlike critical reviewers who tend to feign objectivity, Hornby abandons pretense--except in the service of jokes, and in reluctant adherence to The Believer’s snark-free code—and relates his authentic experiences with books, those bought aspirationally and immediately shelved, and those he’s read. He frames his experience of books in what’s going on in his life, which albums he’s playing, what’s going on with his son, how much he even feels like reading (which, especially in football season, can be not so much). He occasionally laments his ruts and takes wild stabs at unexplored genres, but his natural interests swing widely enough to include frequent surprises. He’ll put (or throw) down anything he deems dull, exhorting writers to cut the boring bits--like the random childhood anecdotes that can plague biographies: “Please, biographers. Please, please, please. Have mercy. Select for us. We have jobs, kids, DVD players, season tickets. But that doesn’t mean we don’t want to know about stuff.” As I read, my wish list inevitably swelled, but it wasn’t the books themselves that made this one such good reading: for bibliophiles, Hornby is excellent company--discriminating but admiring, with brilliant, often hilarious insight into why some books work wonderfully, while others stumble on one sloppy detail and unravel their own fabric. Even if I never read many of the books he recommends with such zeal, I loved every vicarious page. --Mari Malcolm --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
*Starred Review* How often do you begin reading a book that makes you—immediately, urgently, desperately—want to read more books? Collecting 10 years of Hornby’s wonderful Stuff I’ve Been Reading column in The Believer, this is the next best thing to having a real-live Hornby to urge you on. Each column starts with a list of Books Bought and Books Read, instructive in themselves, and then proceeds to a digressive discussion that is as much about the enterprise of reading as it is about the books he discusses; I haven’t even read the books I think I’ve read. I can’t tell you how depressing this is. Frequently funny and endlessly quotable, Hornby’s columns discuss reading out of his comfort zone, binge reading, reading fasts (usually when soccer season starts), reading his writer-friends’ books, and the rarely aired idea that, sometimes, when a book doesn’t seem good, maybe—just maybe—it’s the reader’s fault. Through it all, he struggles, cheekily, against The Believer’s dictum that all reviews be positive. (Disliked books, sadly, must not be named.) Bursting with enthusiasm and clear-eyed about the author’s own contradictions, Ten Years in the Tub deserves to be devoured whole by anyone willing to spare 10 minutes to think about the books they read. --Keir Graff --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top customer reviews
Brilliantly, these have been gathered together and published in one glorious hardcover entitled Ten Years in the Tub: a Decade Soaking in Great Books. I encourage you to buy this book! Nick Hornby will become your constant companion. Note: be sure to keep pen and paper handy to jot down the many titles you'll be inspired to read.
Insert snippets of his daily life and struggles (sometimes even relevant to the book), and he is never cruel or cutting about a book or the author.
I had never come across his columns before, so I was thrilled to find ten-years'-worth all together here. Each chapter is a monthly column, and each is long enough to sink your teeth in to, but short enough for a quick read before bed or while you wait for your cup of tea to finish steeping, though I found them so addictive that I could never pull myself away.
The best way I can describe it is like sitting in the kitchen on a rainy day with a charming (well-read) friend who wants to tell you about what's been going on with him for the past month. Wonderfully civilized and you list of things that you want to read will fast get out of control!