Tuesday, April 15, 2008

How To Be Good

Well, mission accomplished. I just finished How To Be Good by Nick Hornby. I must say, it was a very enjoyable read. I have missed reading fiction, and this was a welcome Renaissance. It took me about a week, and quite frankly could have taken half that time if I wanted. It was refreshing to find a book that I would pick up in favor of turning on the TV. I confess that it is difficult to steal my affection from television. After all, we've been together so long.

The book itself is the story told from the perspective of Katie, a successful doctor in the town of Leeds in the central part of England. She becomes dissatisfied with her marriage to David, a newspaper columnist known as "the angriest man in Holloway". Kind of like an Andy Rooney, or a Peter Griffin "What Grinds My Gears" kind of columnist. After dropping the D-bomb (divorce) on him, the couple struggles to decide what to do about their failing relationship when David undergoes a radical spiritual transformation. No longer "the angriest man in Holloway", he sets out on a mission to change the world - starting with his family. Katie who was unsure about the man he was, finds this new David almost unrecognizable, and struggles with questions about his worldview, and what it means for their already shaky marriage. It's a hilarious, complex, intelligent story that, in the end, asks the question -
Is it really possible to change the world, when it's so very difficult to change yourself?

Since I liked How To Be Good so much, I've decided to move on to another Nick Hornby effort - A Long Way Down. From what I can tell, it's about four strangers who happen upon each other on the roof of a London building famous as a last stop for those about to end their lives, and the conversations they have with each other about their reasons for wanting to do so.

Anybody read this one before?
If you have, I'd be interested to hear your thoughts.
Billy - I'd also like to hear what you think of
How To Be Good, if you're anywhere near finished.
After this, if I'm not too burned out on Hornby - I might go ahead and read
High Fidelity, even though I said I would avoid the ones that had been made into movies that I had seen. After that - maybe some Tolkein, or maybe I'll do what Abby has started doing, and pick Desire of the Everlasting Hills back up.


The Bagboy said...

I'm really enjoying How To Be Good. I haven't made as much progress as I probably could, because like you TV is my mistress, but unlike you, I can't tell her no. But what I've read so far I've had a great time reading. And A Long Way Down is also very good, as long as you've gotten over that very strict need you have for a decisive beginning, middle and end.

Dylan Newhouse said...

As long as your reading Hornby...


it's one of his best, and it comes with a companion CD, soyou can listen to the songs he's writing about as you read. Thats almost like TV, no?