Yeah, I know, my break only just started and here I am. I'm sorry...I just couldn't help myself...I just needed to gush. And as Rich isn't here to be on the receiving end, I'm afraid I had no other alternative than to lay it on you. (Gray and Max just wouldn't get it, and would likely give me that look that says, "Could you please wrap this up so we can get back to making our alien cards?")
So what has me all a-flutter? Nick Hornby! Before this morning, I'd never read a word written by him, fiction or non-fiction. Well, aside from passages quoted by Nymeth and Chris. Those two are responsible for this yearning I've been fighting lately...you know, the real honest-to-goodness physical urge, the kind that nearly causes pain to resist...to pull The Complete Polysyllabic Spree from the shelves and immediately crack it open. Well, last night I told myself that I could start it as soon as I finished both Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe and In The Land of Invisible Women. It's not like allowing myself to read Spree was to be reward for finally finishing a couple books I've been dreading picking back up...on the contrary, I'm enjoying both of them. It's just that I have sooooo many books going at the same time, that I just didn't think it wise to add yet another to the pile. But then I made the fatal error...I actually pulled the book from the shelf and set in on the coffee table. For hours, it called to me, "Just a peek. What harm would that do?" And it used a very seductive voice, let me tell you. Hooray for me, I resisted and managed to knock out a few more chapters in both the aforementioned books.
Trouble arose this morning though, when weakened by a less-than-stellar night's sleep (the boys and I "camped out" in the living room), I decided that my sluggish brain needed to hit a higher realm of functioning before I tackled more despotism in Zimbabwe or female subjugation in Saudi Arabia. Lacking the willpower to resist, I gave in to that voice saying, "Oh, what would it hurt to just read the introduction while the coffee's brewing?" Yeah, game over.
I've now read the introduction and the first column (September 2003). And I have got the most ginormous brain crush on Nick Hornby!!! (Nymeth, I now understand your willingness to forgive him the whole His Dark Materials thing. I knew he had to be beyond amazing after that. :) ) I swear, I just couldn't stop yelling in my head as I read..."Yes!" "Exactly!" "Thank you. Thank you. Thank you." "I think I love you."
Just a smattering of the things that spoke to me:
*At the top of the list is his unpretentiousness. His complete belief that reading is not supposed to be work. That given a choice between a.) a book you know you'd enjoy no matter its supposed "worth" and b.) a book you feel you should read because of its literary acclaim, you should definitely choose "a."
*His admission that he's not particularly interested in language, that he prefers his prose to clear and straightforward. Mind you, he doesn't for a second think that others should agree with him...going back to the previous point, he definitely believes we should all follow our reading hearts. But I loved this admission of his, because I sometimes feel the same way. It's not that I don't enjoy the beautiful use of language. Some of my very favorite writing is that of Ray Bradbury...I could lose myself in his words for days on end if given the chance. But in general, a lot of the gorgeous prose that many people seem to relish in, is lost on me. I sometimes find myself fighting to get through it and just wanting to get on with the story. It was nice to see that I'm not a total mutant on that one.
*"...here's something else no one will ever tell you: if you don't read the classics, or the novel that won this year's Booker Prize, then nothing bad will happen to you; more importantly, nothing good will happen to you if you do..."
*The number of books he buys. :)
*The multitude of factors that went into his buying of particular books, including the name of his baby son.
*The fact that he bought a book that he knew he probably wouldn't get around to reading...because it was really cheap and there is that slim chance that he may get to it one day.
So much deliciousness in just a mere 17 pages!
Oh my, and now I face a dilemma...do I just indulge myself, gorging on the rest of the book today?...or do I parcel out the columns, one by one, when I'm in need of a little treat?