Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Polysyllabic Spree by Nick Hornby

The Polysyllabic Spree by Nick Hornby

I've been trying to write a short story that entails my knowing something about contemporary theories of time-hence Introducing Time-but every time I pick up any kind of book about science I start to cry. This actually inhibits my reading pretty badly, due to not being able to see. I'm OK with time theorists up until, say, St. Augustine, and then I start to panic, and the panic then gives way to actual weeping. By my estimation, I should be able to understand Newton by the time I'm 850 years old-by which time I'll probably discover that some smartass has invented a new theory, and he's out of date anyway. The short story should be done some time shortly after that. Anyway, I hope you enjoy it, because it's killing me.

p. 55


For the first time since I've been writing this column, the completion of a book has left me feeling bereft: I miss them all. Let's face it: usually you're just happy as hell to have chalked another one up on the board, but this last month I've been living in this hyperreal world, full of memorable, brilliantly eccentric people, and laughs (I hope you know how funny Dickens is), and proper bendy stories you want to follow. I suspect that it'll be difficult to read a pared-down, stripped-back, skin-and-bones novel for a while.

p. 80

**Nick's describing how he feels after reading David Copperfield

Never mind that, as regular readers of this column know, I have over the last few months bought several hundred books I haven't yet read. And never mind that, as it turned out, I found myself passing a bookshop the very next day, and the day after that (because what else is there to do with a new baby, other than mooch around bookshops with him?), and was thus able to buy Mystic River. I didn't know for sure I'd ever go to a bookshop again; and if I never went to a bookshop again, how long were those several hundred books going to last me? Nine or ten years at the most. No, I needed that copy of Prayers for Rain, just to be on the safe side.

p. 104

** I understand exactly the need to buy just one more book because of being afraid that you'll never have enough books to last you and that god forbid, you may run out of stuff to read!!!!

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