Oh, yes, I know that you former readers have extolled the virtues of this little volume and that I'm late to join the throng. It is true, however, that Hornby's (notice that I am now spelling his name correctly) monthly columns in The Believer are marvelously funny and educational.
Here are some of the details from the columns that I particularly enjoyed:
- Hornby takes on "spare" writing. Very funny! Speaking of writer's writers whose writing is spare to the point of the minimum number of words required for a novel, Hornby says if you can reduce it to 70,000 words, why not 2o,ooo, and why stop there? Why write at all, he asks? Then he says that big fat airport books sell! And to quote him: "(And, conversely, the writer's writers, the pruners and the winnowers, tend to have to live off critical approval rather than royalty checks.)" I'm so with him on this!
- 13,000 characters! He then informs us that Dickens created 13,000 characters! My gosh, I don't know a fraction of that many people. Except, perhaps, through literature. How odd to realize I know so many more fictional people than real ones.
- Love his comments about "The Believers" and his having been summoned before a committee of "twelve rather eerie young men and women (six of each, naturally) all dressed in white robes and smiling maniacally" to be scolded for a snarky comment in his column. All tongue-in-cheek, but the references to The Believer staff always made me chuckle.
Nonfiction. Literary Criticism? :) 2004. 140 pages.