Friday, November 10, 2017

Two for the Taking - On Books and On Murder

Image result for more baths less talking

Things have slowed down a bit here in BelleBookandCandle land. I have just barely started two books, both by authors I have not read before.

The first is More Baths Less Talking by Nick Hornby. It is a collection of his book columns — Stuff I've Been Reading —written for Believer, touted as "a magazine of interviews, essays, and reviews." The format is simple. Mr. Hornby begins each monthly essay listing Books Bought and Books Read. As you can imagine the lists don't always overlap. Usually, more bought, fewer read. 

I have only finished the first couple of essays/musings. Although many books about books lean heavily on fiction, Mr. Hornby includes many nonfiction titles. For example, Austerity Britain, 1945-51 by David Kynaston he finds to be surprisingly entertaining. But American Rust, a novel by Phillip Meyer about the "long, slow death of working-class America," also captures his heart.

Then there are his Muriel Spark binges, a tale of attending the Oscar ceremonies in Hollywood, meeting Patti Smith (Just Kids), and chatter about the World Cup. 

Something for everyone.

It appears that Mr. Hornby enjoyed writing these essays as much as I am enjoying reading them. They are quite witty. They were published in 2010-2011. This is the fourth and final collection of columns and I see now that many of them are on the magazine's website.  He also wrote a couple of books that were turned into films:  High Fidelity, Fever Pitch, and About a Boy. I will be checking Netflix for these. 

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The second book is a mystery titled The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss by Max Wirestone. Dahlia, an unemployed not-your-Miss-Marple millennial, is not really a detective but is hired to be one. Her 'client' sends her on a quest to recover a virtual weapon — The Bejeweled Spear of Infinite Piercing — from an online game called Zoth. He pays her a thousand dollars up front and promises her another thousand dollars when the spear is returned to him. Unfortunately, her client doesn't live long enough to pay her the second thousand dollars. 

That's as far as I have gotten in the tale. I'll just have to see how this one goes. It is pretty humorous but some of the 'gaming' talk is beyond me. Oh, well. Perhaps I will learn something as I try to solve the mystery along with Dahlia.

How are things in your book world?


  1. I read More Baths, Less Talking several years ago and loved it. I also read Housekeeping vs. the Dirt by Hornby, which I also liked, but I see there are more of these collected essays. What reader doesn't like essays about reading and books?

    1. I don't know how I missed Hornby's book essays, Joan. Oh, well. I am catching up now. I will check out his others.

  2. I've read several of Nick Hornby's collected essays/book reviews and loved all of them. He clearly loves books and reading, and he makes me laugh. I've seen the movies High Fidelity and Fever Pitch and liked both of them, too (haven't seen About a Boy).

    Things have slowed down a little bit here--though I'm still trying to catch up on two online classes I've been taking since mid-October. I just finished reading an Inspector Gamache mystery (How the Light Gets In) and I'm reading a collection of essays by Lisa Scottoline and her daughter, Francesca Serritella. They're funny--great reading just before bedtime!

    1. Hi, Kathy. Thanks for the tip on the Lisa Scottoline essays. I could use a good laugh! Aren't you clever to take online classes. Do YouTube videos on various art/craft techniques count?

    2. Sure they do--you're learning something, aren't you? :)

    3. You bet. Perhaps I am learning too much. I am often overwhelmed with how-to's which can lead to page paralysis!