Friday, August 24, 2012

More Baths, Less Talking by Nick Hornby

I've been a devoted fan of Nick Hornby's work for quite a long time.  I remember opening a new bookstore and a friend lending me an early finished copy of High Fidelity and was immediately taken with his prose and his characters.  I knew Rob and Barry and Dick.  They were me and my friends and the dudes from the record store where I shopped and the bookstore where I worked. I, too, made passive/aggressive, not-nearly-so-subtle-as-I-thought-I-was mix tapes for girls I liked.  Hornby nailed it and lad lit was born!  (Cue sunbeams and trumpet fanfare and dropping testicles.) This begat About A Boy, as touching a novel as I'd read and still one of my faves.

Fortunately, Hornby had too much talent to stay too long in the lad lit ghetto and he produced How To Be Good and A Long Way Down and the lovely Juliet, Naked, as well as forays into non-fiction and YA books and screenplays.  Oddly, I didn't follow him into magazine writing because I thought the mag for which he writes, The Believer, all too hipper-than-thou for a dork like me.  With More Baths, Less Talking, I may have to change my thinking.

Sub-titled Notes From the Reading Life of a Celebrated Author Locked in Battle With Football, Family and Time Itself, Hornby does what I do with this blog: he writes about what he reads, with plenty of digressions about wife and kids, his outside interests, and his fame, along with gibes and japes at Believer editors and subscribers and a ton of hilarious self-deprecating remarks, albeit far more successfully and entertainingly than do I because he's a celebrated and talented author and I, well, I'm neither celebrated nor particularly talented nor am I an author but more of a lazy schlub with a badly-maintained blog and far too much unqualified opinion.  Go Steelers!  Hurray for Mrs. Next!

That said, Hornby is witty and insightful, his asides are clever and biting, and his reading choices are inspired.  A slim volume at a mere 135 pages, More Baths, Less Talking provided me with lots to consider, plenty to laugh about, and a desire to make this very blog as entertaining as his magazine pieces.  If only I can find the time and acquire the talent.

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