Monday, August 8, 2011

12 Books in 12 Months: A Book You Read Because You Wanted to Laugh

Book: The Polysyllabic Spree: A Hilarious and True Account of One Man's Struggle with the Monthly Tide of the Books He's Bought and the Books He's Been Meaning to Read
Author: Nick Hornby

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This was a great book for this challenge as it is, in fact, about books. Hornby wrote a series of columns for Believer magazine regarding his own adventures in reading. The book includes all of the essays plus a few excerpts from the books he read.

Hornby, author of High Fidelity and About a Boy, is pretty dependable for laughs. To me, a truly funny book is one you're embarrassed to read in public because you can't stop laughing. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams is the perfect example. The Polysyllabic Spree wasn't nearly on that level but there were a few out-loud guffaws I struggled to stifle. I particularly enjoyed his stories about his brother-in-law, fellow author Robert Harris. Hornby described some of Harris behavior as unfraternal whereas I thought it closely resembled my relationship with my own brother-in-law, not to mention the relationship I would have with a biological brother if I had one.

Hornby writes a lot about how he chooses which books to read. Naturally, I gave some thought to my own tendencies. I like exploring a genre: sports books or classic science fiction, for instance. I don't have much need to buy books as My Wife has accumulated an impressive private library over the years. Furthermore, unlike most people who buy books and never read them, she's actually made her way through the thick tomes which line our shelves. If I should live another 100 years, I'm quite certain I'll never catch up.


I hope that you, too, will join the 12 Books in 12 Months challenge. Details are here.

If you'd care to join the challenge, please let me know by commenting below or e-mailing me at Also, please tell me how and where I can follow your posts. Don't be shy about suggesting other categories, either. It is my intention to compile a new list of 12 once this one is completed. My only parameter is that no one should have to buy anything in order to complete the challenge - nothing beyond a library card required.

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