The Polysyllabic Spree

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The Polysyllabic Spree
ThePolysyllabicSpree.jpg
First edition
Author Nick Hornby
Publisher McSweeney's
Publication date
2004
ISBN 1-932416-24-2
Followed by Housekeeping vs. The Dirt

The Polysyllabic Spree is a 2004 collection of Nick Hornby's "Stuff I've Been Reading" columns in The Believer. The book collates his columns from September 2003 to November 2004, inclusive. It also includes excerpts from such authors as Anton Chekhov and Charles Dickens.

In it, Hornby lists the books he bought each month, and the books he actually read. For instance, he might buy Dickens, but read J.D. Salinger. He then writes a column revolving around what he read, bought, and what he intends/intended to read.

The title is a reference to the choral symphonic-rock group The Polyphonic Spree.[1] In the book, Hornby describes the people who run The Believer as being "all dressed in white robes and smiling maniacally, sort of like a literary equivalent of the Polyphonic Spree." (pg. 30)

There are three follow-up books, Housekeeping vs. The Dirt (2006), Shakespeare Wrote for Money (2008) and More Baths Less Talking (2012).

List of books[edit]

September 2003[edit]

Books bought:

Books read:

  • All the Salingers
  • In Search of Salinger and Lowell
  • Some of Against Oblivion
  • Pompeii by Robert Harris (not bought)

October 2003[edit]

Books bought:

Books read:

November 2003[edit]

Books bought:

Books read:

  • A Tragic Honesty: The Life and Work of Richard Yates – Blake Bailey (completed)
  • Wenger: The Making of a LegendJasper Rees
  • How to Breathe Underwater – Julie Orringer
  • Bush at War – Bob Woodward (unfinished)
  • Unnamed Literary Novel (abandoned)
  • Unnamed Work of Nonfiction (abandoned)
  • No NameWilkie Collins (unfinished)

December 2003/January 2004[edit]

Books bought:

Books read:

  • No Name – Wilkie Collins
  • Moneyball – Michael Lewis
  • George and Sam: Autism in the FamilyCharlotte Moore
  • The Sirens of Titan – Kurt Vonnegut

February 2004[edit]

Books bought:

Books read:

March 2004[edit]

Books bought:

Books read:

April 2004[edit]

Books bought:

Books read:

May 2004[edit]

Books bought:

Books read:

  • David Copperfield – Charles Dickens

June 2004[edit]

Books bought:

Books read:

July 2004[edit]

Books bought[¹]:

[¹] The author here inserts a footnote: "I bought so many books this month it’s obscene, and I’m not owning up to them all: this is a selection. And to be honest, I’ve been economical with the truth for months now. I keep finding books that I bought, didn’t read, and didn’t list."

Books read:

  • Train – Pete Dexter
  • This Is Serbia CallingMatthew Collin
  • The Invisible Woman – Claire Tomalin
  • Y: The Last Man Vols 1–3 – Vaughan, Guerra, Marzan Jr., Chadwick
  • I Never Liked You – Chester Brown
  • David Boring – Daniel Clowes

August 2004[edit]

Books bought:

Books read:

  • Prayers for Rain – Dennis Lehane
  • Mystic River – Dennis Lehane
  • Like a Fiery Elephant – Jonathan Coe

References[edit]

  1. ^ Taylor, Charles (9 December 2004). ""The Polysyllabic Spree" by Nick Hornby". Salon. 

External links[edit]