I finished reading Nick Hornby’s ridiculously-titled The Complete Polysyllabic Spree last weekend, and have several pieces of paper stuck throughout where I wanted to remember things that were quotable. Actually an awful lot more of it was quotable, but I either didn’t have enough paper, or thought that my readers (all five of them) would probably think more than two or three quotes was enough from this book.
The book is about Hornby’s reading habits over two or three years – he wrote a column on the topic which was published in a magazine called The Believer. Hornby is by turns hilarious, sober, nonsensical and surreal. It’s a great book, and I’m tempted to buy a copy of my own. Or else keep the library’s one for another patch.
‘[Gabriel] Zaid’s finest moment, however, comes in his second paragraph, when he says that ‘the truly cultured are capable of owning thousands of unread books without losing their composure or their desire for more.’
Hornby is quoting from Zaid’s So Many Books, which is about the ‘problem’ of far too many books existing in the world. Hornby writes about this in the Oct 2004 column.