12 January 2009

Now the cupboard is bare

I drew out my reading of SHAKESPEARE WROTE FOR MONEY as long as I could because I knew there was no more where it was coming from. I know Nick Hornby has a lot of irons in the fire, but my rage at discovering this third collection of "heartfelt literary snack food" (TM W.G.) in the form of Believer columns was going to be his last was akin to the feeling I got when I finished watching the "Office" Christmas special, or when my favorite podcast decided to go off the air forever. When someone decides to end something great, you're supposed to understand they have their reasons -- but that doesn't make it any less painful.

In SHAKESPEARE..., Hornby sputters when he has been made part of a punchline in a book about the iPod, so I won't speculate on why he decided not to keep his column any more. I will point out that according to his blog a movie he wrote, "An Education," will debut at Sundance later this month. Wish I were going!

But even in the months where Hornby didn't read any books, he always had something interesting to say about it. (Those were usually the months where soccer -- er, football -- took pride of place.) THE POLYSYLLABIC SPREE was an inspiration to me in that it caused me to want to examine my own reading life more, when I had been content to move within it without looking for patterns. His habit of virtually erasing books he read and didn't like by calling them "a much lauded debut by a well-known author" or something similar was annoying, but maybe the Believer made him do that.

Now it's up to us to bear the torch, something that This Girl Called Automatic Win has already been doing in the same format, and which I will keep on in my own way.

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