Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Statement of purpose

Nick Hornby (who wrote High Fidelity and About a Boy among others) had a column for a while in a lit mag called The Believer. Every month, he'd compile lists of the books he bought and the books he read, then spend a few pages noodling about them. These columns, along with a few long excerpts of books he especially liked, are collected in The Polysyllabic Spree.

I read The Polysyllabic Spree last week. My first reaction: most of these columns are only interesting because they're written by a famous writer-- and it's somehow interesting to see that a famous writer's thoughts about books aren't much deeper than anyone else's.

My second thought was that these columns must be pretty interesting to Nick Hornby. He confesses to the same disease that dogs me: when it comes to books-- even books I like a lot and read carefully-- I forget them almost as quickly as we read them. But now that bastard Hornby has a year's worth of columns that record his personal reactions to books, particular passages of interest, and the role the books played in his life at the time. Hornby has what amounts to an off-site backup of his brain. Ten years from now, when someone mentions Mystic River and Hornby can't quite remember what it's about, he can flip through The Polysyllabic Spree and discover that, indeed, he read it, and he thought it was great for the following reasons...

And so I'm starting a book blog. It'll be my own Hornbyesque word hoard. I'll use it to collect excerpts and aspects of books I'd like to remember but will inevitably forget. Since I mostly read incredibly interesting books, I hope other people might find something interesting here. It's OK if no one does, though. In that case, I'll break new ground and be a blogger whose primary audience is my own future self.

No comments:

Post a Comment