While some people have a problem getting through the days of the week without shooting heroin, I start getting shaky and paranoid if I’m not buying a book or two. While buying books is completely legal it doesn’t help that I rarely finish a book cover to cover. I’m infamous for starting three or four books at a time with every intention of finishing each of them. It’s like I have this wordy strain of A.D.D. or something.
I was a bit relived and overjoyed when I came across The Polysyllabic Spree by Nick Hornby. I think the subtitle says it best:
A hilarious and true account of one man’s struggle with the monthly tide of books he’s bought and the books he’s been meaning to read.
The small book collects a series of articles, originally written for Believer magazine, in which he lists the books purchased against the books read in one month followed by a description of his reading activity. It’s easy to digest but more importantly it gives a glimpse into the reading habits of a person I can identify with, unlike my wife who can read a thousand pages in an afternoon.
I can’t say that this book is going to change my own reading demons — I mean, who’s bright idea was it to invent reading and laying on a couch or in bed? Dammit man, that’s just a recipe for sleep if ever I’ve come across one. Maybe, though I don’t hold much hope, this book will help change all of that. More likely it will help me feel ok with buying my next arm load of books.