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richardderus

Expendable Mudge Muses Aloud

Housekeeping vs. the Dirt: Fourteen Months of Massively Witty Adventures in Reading Chronicled by the National Book Critics Circle Finalist for Criticism

Housekeeping vs. the Dirt: Fourteen Months of Massively Witty Adventures in Reading Chronicled by the National Book Critics Circle Finalist for Criticism - Rating: 3.75* of five The Book Description: In this latest collection of essays following The Polysyllabic Spree, critic and author Nick Hornby continues the feverish survey of his swollen bookshelves, offering a funny, intelligent, and unblinkered account of the stuff he's been reading. Ranging from the middlebrow to the highbrow (with unrepent{ant} dips into the lowbrow), Hornby's dispatches from his nightstand table serve as useful guides to contemporary letters, with revelations on contemporary culture, the intellectual scene, and English football, in equal measure. My Review: I've only just discovered Hornby and his reviews. I love them, because he's a snarkinator and because he's unafraid of reviewing the way I like to: Tell you about the book, but really why bother unless you tell about the reason you felt as you did about the book. Otherwise I can read the book description and be done with it.So here we have the second collection of his columns, where I began with his fourth, and frankly it makes no difference because his method and his style ain't no different here. I like it, so I'm going to like it, but if one review turns your switch to off, put it down and never look back.Oh, another thing I like about Hornby: A major, vocal, and persuasive propagator of the “if it bores you, put it down at once” school of reading. Many people, according to the wise Hornby, don't associate reading with pleasure because of some damnfool idiot snob's insistence that there are good books and bad books. Hogwash. There are well-written and poorly written books, yes, this is undeniable. But, and this is the most important point Hornby makes, it's not up to YOU o snob to say what anyone else on the planet should feel about those well-written or poorly written books. I've said it before, it bears repeating, and I think Hornby would agree: Get your nose out of the air, all you're doing is showing us your boogers.That snarl of irasicbile disdain emitted, moving on to the reason I've rated this book lower than the first one I reviewed: This book has excerpts. I hate excerpts.I'm not a spoilerphobe, like some, although spoilerphobes are advised to use caution in page-turning for fear of seeing a word or phrase that might come back to you in reading the actual book. I am, instead, impatient. If the few paras chosen as an excerpt awake in me the burning passion to read the book excerpted, I want it NOW. With a Kindle, this greed and lack of self-control can be quite expensive. If I manage to make myself wait for the next trip to the liberry, it causes me sleeplessness and heartburn to pine for and yearn after the Object of My Affections Denied Me.Boo on excerpts. Fie! Begone!And, if I'm honest, the books excerpted here (five in total) aren't in the main particularly interesting to me. Excerpting Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis seems particularly bizarre and, in my mind, unsuccessful. Attentive readers of my reviews will recall my unimpressed-to-the-point-of-disgust response to Jess Walter's book Beautiful Ruins, and the excerpt from his earlier Citizen Vince convinces me that I simply don't like this man's writing. The agony, the torment of FORCING myself to wait until I go to the liberry tomorrow...twenty-six hours away! Ohhh owww...to get Sarah Vowell's Assassination Vacation is wearing on me, like waterboarding would. The excerpt did its evil, evil work here. And I'm pissed about it. So take that, Nick Bloody Hornby, I've knocked a quarter star off this book's rating! Ha! Muck about with my addictions, will you?