Ten Years in the Tub: A Decade Soaking in Great Books
Since 2003, Nick Hornby (High Fidelity; About a Boy) has written a column for the Believer, a magazine with a baked-in whimsy that suits his contributions. The column is supposed to be devoted to a general consideration of books and the reading life, but from the get-go, he's strayed topically from books into other concerns. In Ten Years in the Tub, a collection of those columns, Hornby provides wry insights into subjects such as parenting, religion and "the literary equivalent of grilled kangaroo," but always makes his way back to the books.
Ten years is a good run, and Hornby has made outstanding use of it. As a guidebook to finding new avenues of reading to explore, his column is excellent; there likely aren't more than a handful of readers who could walk away with less than a dozen new authors to investigate. Hornby reads broadly, across genres, and isn't afraid to poke fun at the books he's reading, but he does so thoughtfully, as likely to pin the blame on himself as a reader when a book doesn't settle with him the right way. Is it over-the-top to say that Hornby's column is essential reading, that his approaches to reading can inspire us to engage fully with the written word? If so, then let's leave it at a request: keep grilled kangaroo on the menu for another 10 years. --Matthew Tiffany, counselor, writer for Condalmo