The Magazine Reader
Published on Friday, September 23, 2011 - 12:56pm
If the headline of this article or the accompanying image reeled you into reading this, then I probably don't need to explain what The Believer is, who Nick Hornby is or why you should care what he's reading. However, for those who've simply stumbled across this item as part of their daily intake of Internet debris, let me explain:
The Believer is a literacy/art/cultural magazine published by McSweeney's Publishing, which is itself part of the Dave Eggers empire of hipsterati cultural production. If that name rings a bell, but you can't place it, he wrote a bestseller called A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius back in 2001, and has moved from strength to strength since then, launching McSweeny's, his 826 nonprofit (which has a D.C. branch), and all manner of other collaborations and ventures, including the highly acclaimed books What Is the What and Zeitoun, and the screenplays for Away We Go and Where the Wild Things Are. But enough about him, since he hardly needs anyone's help to toot his horn.
Nick Hornby is an English writer most famous, probably, for his novel High Fidelity, which was made into an excellent movie starring a still unpuffy John Cusak. He also wrote About a Boy, which was also made into a quite good film, this time starring a still charmingly caddish Hugh Grant. He also wrote one of the best books about soccer/football out there, Fever Pitch, a highly underrated teen novel called Slam, and a host of other stuff, including the screenplay for the Oscar-nominated film An Education, and a monthly column for The Believer in which he chronicles what he's been reading.
The column goes by the coy name "Stuff I've Been Reading," and one thing that's really nice is that it always leads off with a list of "Books Bought" and "Books Read." And if you've read this much of an article on a library website, you can probably guess that the former list is always much longer than the latter list. This month he read four books: Per Petterson's Out Stealing Horses ("beautiful, truthful"), Eleanor Henderson's recent novel Ten Thousand Saints ("the offspring of Lester Bangs and Anne Tyler" !?!!?), Richard Schickel's myth-busting biography of the great director Elia Kazan, and Esther Perel's Mating in Captivity: Sex, Lies, and Domestic Bliss (the subtitle of the U.S. version is Unlocking Erotic Intelligence). Unfortuantely, while the first three titles are available from us, the last is not, and that's the one Hornby has the most to say about.
So, if you're not familiar with The Believer, come on over to the library, and check it out. No, literally, check it out--back issues of magazines can be checked out just like books, DVDs, CDs, etc.!