Saturday, December 31, 2005

Polysyllabic, Polyphonic Spree

For Christmas, I received a copy of Nick Hornby's Polysyllabic Spree. Hornby has been one of my favorite writers since I read his superb Fever Pitch, the auto-biographical tale of his obsession with Arsenal Football Club and trying to balance that obsession with his personal life as he grew from a lad to a responsible adult (How can you love one woman when you are obsessed with 11 men? the book asks). Even if you've never read Hornby, you've probably seen a movie based on one of his books -- both High Fidelity and About a Boy are based on wonderful Hornby works. I'd also recommend the dark, but insanely funny A Long Way Down which is Hornby's latest fiction offer. (The only Hornby novel I didn't care for was How to Be just didn't strike a chord with me.)

Polysyllabic Spree is a collection of essays that Hornby wrote for the Believer Magazine about the authors' continuous struggle to read all the books he buys each month. Hornby laments that when he dies, he'll ask St. Peter to judge him on the books he's bought, rather than the one's he's managed to read.

I can totally empathize with the author as I often find the idea or concept of a particular book a lot more interesting than the actual reading of said book. My bookshelves are littered with books that I've picked up or asked for on my wish list, but never managed to get through. Ironically, I would say that my music collection is similarly stocked.

Therefore, in the spirit of New Year's Resolutions, and inspired by Nick Hornby's book, I hereby resolve to read 50 books and listen intently to 50 albums during 2006...and I plan to do it without purchasing a single new book or record. I'll rely on the Wake County Library if I realy must read anything recently published and tap the hundreds of dollars credit that Liz has accrued at Mr. Mike's Used Books.

I'd go for 52...or a book/album per week...but there's no way that I'll be able to tear myself away from the TV during the first two weeks of the World Cup come mid-June. I might as well not set myself up to fail!

So I'll be starting with Songbook, another book by Nick Hornby, which is a collection of essays by the author on his favorite songs. (I really can relate to Hornby's obsessions!) It seems like the perfect starter for this book/music project. And to keep the theme well at hand, the first album will be The Polyphonic Spree's The Beginning Stages of... CD.

I'll report my progress here so check back from time-to-time to see how long it takes me to break the resolution...and perhaps get a book or album suggestion in the process.

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