12 December 2009

200 word review: 'The Complete Polysyllabic Spree' by Nick Hornby

I once saw a picture of a girl wearing a t-shirt with a picture of a girl wearing a t-shirt with … you get the idea. This is the literary equivalent – a review of a book of reviews!

I didn’t enjoy Hornby’s 31 Songs but I don’t hold a grudge (usually) so I thought I’d try The Complete Polysyllabic Spree, and I’ve warmed to Hornby again after reading it. This book is witty, honest and interesting – his breadth of reading is quite impressive (no matter what his self-effacing comments would have you believe). But you don’t need to read any of the books he discusses to enjoy it. There were only one or two I had read, and I doubt I’ll read many others, but he has such an accessible way of writing about books that I didn’t feel excluded. He is honest about his flaws, too – he admits to preferring some genres to others, and struggling with long novels. So many reviewers won’t admit to any bias, it’s refreshing to read somebody who lays his biases on the table.

Lesson of the day: just because you don’t like one book, doesn’t mean you won’t like anything by the author.