More Baths Less TalkingBook |
Book Criticism without the pretentious fluff.
More Baths Less Talking is a collection of Nick Hornby's columns for Dave Eggers's monthly literary magazine The Believer. The previously published columns, which are entitled "Stuff I've Been Reading" in The Believer, range from May 2010 to December 2011, and if you're not familiar with Hornby, the concept behind his monthly column is simple: he writes about the books that he has read in each respective month.
What makes Hornby's literary-fueled passages so effective and appealing is that his reviews of books are refreshingly different than the cumbersome, long-winded reviews that have become so acceptable, and expected, in the prestigious world of literature. Hornby takes literature for what it really is: abstractions, contemplations, and truths that sometimes strike a compelling chord deep within our natural, human fibers. With this simple approach, Hornby is able to revel in his uncanny ability of find great advisement and rare realizations within the pages of a Celine Dion Biography or an oral history of Saturday Night Live, while equating his literary findings to such complex yet ordinary, life struggles as parenting and monogamous relationships. It makes one wonder how therapists stay in business with so many books in the world. Perhaps, if we were all blessed with Hornby's astoundingly perceptive nature when it comes to reading, they wouldn't.
Hornby's variety of books is also worth noting. In the same month he is capable of transitioning from Michael Ondaatje's The Conversations: Walter Murch and the Art of Editing Film to Paul Harding's Pulitzer Prize-winning Tinkers. His casual and often postive disssection of literary works will surely have readers adding titles they never thought they'd consider to their own reading list, which in essence is what Hornby's column preaches. Literature is more expansive than we could ever comprehend, and one can never predict from what pages inspiration will suddenly appear. At the same time, he tells readers to "read what you enjoy, not what bores you," and Hornby himself is not afraid to admit to all of the half read, intimidating, and long novels that he has given up on.
Hornby is a critic for the practical reader and lover of literature, and he is one of the only contemporary writers that can in the same column praise a biography of Lucille Ball throughout several paragraphs, and then sum up Mark Twain's great American classic in one sentence: "As for Huckleberry Finn, the most important novel in American Literature: Meh. That Tom Sawyer is a pill, isn't he?"
Indeed he is.
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