Yup, I Read Now

Me and Mr. Hornby

iread (super new)My thing with Nick Hornby began senior year of high school when I read About a Boy. Up until then I’d only been reading the classics assigned to me in English class, and Hornby’s book was my first experience with adult contemporary fiction. Oscar Wilde was my favorite author at the time (mainly because I’d written the definitive 12-page-double-spaced-1-inch margined research paper on him and believed (though, I don’t think erroneously) that I was the preeminent 12th grade scholar on the man’s life and oeuvre); but after About a Boy it was clear that Hornby was making significant gains in the Amber’s-favorite-author department.

Years later, fresh out of college, I read High Fidelity. This initial reading prompted a second and I found myself underlining passages (this is something that I probably shouldn’t have done since it was a library copy (then again, I’d stolen the book so it was a perfectly all right thing to do)).

I read Fever Pitch, a book that I’d been resisting because of its non-fictiony-ness, while I was working on an autobiography project for grad school. I thought that it might help me figure out how to articulate my own “life story” and yes, it sort of did that, but really it’s noteworthy because it ended up being the book that cemented Hornby’s place in my heart. He discusses a subject that I know and care very little about—English football—and still, the book rates exceptionally high on the can’t-put-it-down-ability scale.

His writing is so fluid, so funny; he’s extremely clever but never opaque. He’s a celebrated author but admits to not being very well read. That brand of honesty is endearing. I also like the fact that he’s bald.

So I say that Nick Hornby is my favorite author but my own—hopefully endearing confession—is that I haven’t read everything he’s written. I didn’t read How to Be Good because I heard that it wasn’t, well, very good, I hadn’t touched any of the stuff he’d written for The Believer, and Slam, his young adult novel, was purchased but then sidelined when I entered grad school and no longer had time for casual reading. In anticipation for this, Juliet, Naked day (!), his appearance at the El Cerrito Barnes and Noble next week, and the release of An Education on October 16, I decided to attempt to fill in a few of these holes. I finished Slam in about a day. It was a pretty mellow read and I think the perfect follow-up to Lethem’s dense Fortress. After that I bought Housekeeping vs. The Dirt—also light, easily digestible, easily read at work with little to no subterfuge.

I’ve just spent the entire day walking around San Francisco—I am completely insane and walked up Lombard Street from Embarcadero and then down to Aquatic Park—so I am exhausted and don’t think I’ll be cracking open the new one tonight. Luckily, I have tomorrow off and have definitely fit enough exercise into this one day to last me until the weekend. Tomorrow is therefore the official start of Juliet, Naked Day.


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