Read Ten Years in the Tub Online

Authors: Nick Hornby

Ten Years in the Tub

BOOK: Ten Years in the Tub
10.26Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

also by nick hornby

Fever Pitch

High Fidelity

About a Boy

Speaking with the Angel

How to Be Good


The Polysyllabic Spree

A Long Way Down

Housekeeping vs. the Dirt


An Education

Juliet, Naked

Shakespeare Wrote for Money

More Baths Less Talking

a division of


849 Valencia Street

San Francisco, CA 94110

Copyright © 2003–2013 Nick Hornby

Cover design by Dan McKinley

Cover illustration by Daniel Fishel

All rights reserved, including right of reproduction in whole or part in any form.

These pieces appeared between September 2003 and June 2013 in the

e-ISBN: 978-1-944211-15-8


Introduction: A Note from Jess Walter

September 2003

Some ground rules; predictions for a baby's future employment; the opinions of grown-up critics
; Legally Blonde

October 2003

The embodiment of a cultural obsession; re-reading in the face of mortality; empty threats of violence

November 2003

Unfinished, abandoned, abandoned, unfinished; the appearance of the Polysyllabic Spree; a zealous gleam

November 2003 / January 2004

Clarification about lost Victorian classics; overrated and peripheral skills; living with an autistic child; advice on smoking

February 2004

A modest celebration; the pram in the hall; in praise of the vernacular; jokes about commas; a fearful bashing

March 2004

Plans for a carcass; Cultural Fantasy Boxing League; an effort to get back on course; the young Flaubert

April 2004

Utter rubbish; a truth bent out of shape; unkind words about Amazon reviewers; upcoming Dickensian nutrition

May 2004

The secret of good writing; a guy who shouts “Goroo!” a lot; a long, lank skeleton hand; drippy Dora's bloody dog

June 2004

The Croatian sex lady; the way middle-class people spend their time; a pregnancy scare; the support net; when Fischer played Spassky

July 2004

A visually uninteresting family tree; nipples not left alone; a taste for hopelessly bleak Eastern European humor

August 2004

A new baby; consumer fear; the appeal of the reappearing hero; the fourth-worst night of your life; a very pithy suicide note

September 2004

The Jesuit thing; several mistakes; finger-steepling and sharks in the same book; a new best friend

October 2004

Sex with cousins; Yorkshiremen; some clever-dick reviewer; the particularities of English Marxists

November 2004

Presumptions regarding cricket; Chekhov's quotidian life; advice that holds good even now; a lovely little mongrel doggie

Nick Hornby's Preface to the Second Column Collection,
Housekeeping vs. The Dirt

Nick Hornby on what he's learned about reading from the Polysyllabic Spree, of all people

February 2005

The story so far; the Kingston Trio in curious company; Islington dinner parties; a totally original sentence

March 2005

Weasel words; a thoughtful and engaging website; the inevitable
cash-ins; an elite cabal; Bob the astronaut

April 2005

Ednit; a quease-inducing trend; a spoiler alert; the only problem with the Labour government; Gogol's shoes

May 2005

Surprising action in Borders; respective tastes in bird books; some things that have the mucus; Greil Marcus on the Pet Shop Boys

June / July 2005

An excruciating purchase; a perfect black-body sphere; the announcement of the theme of the month

August 2005

Rules made by pompous twits; an astonishing hush; ongoing disciplinary troubles; a surprisingly juicy book

September 2005

Clearing up a few things; dismal brevity; an interesting philosophical debate; bullishness and self-aggrandizement

October 2005

Shame; the Holy Grail of this column found; some very specific pomposities; the ways in which a man can kid himself

November 2005

A question of comic judgment; attractive Kryptonite ashtrays; impatience with literary fiction; gay abandon

February 2006

A lot of stuff about farting and wanking; Major Reading Experiences; Jay Gatsbergen and David Copperbottom

March 2006

A new tradition; Puff Diddle; jolly Ukrainian songs; defining the beginning of sexual intercourse; our impending death

April 2006

Comparisons with Nikki Sixx; sea-creature combos; the price of egg burritos in America; use of the first-person plural

May 2006

Notes on a shelving system; the English equivalent of Oprah; musings on a lunar module; unintentional comic élan

June / July 2006

A very grim month; brotherhood on the road; histrionics from Abraham Lincoln; Arsenal makes the semifinals

August 2006

Crushing disappointment; life in Mississippi; stuffier compatriots; small beer; the fruits of a Southern kick; clumsy crabs

September 2006

Opinions about scientists; clever cynics; the flop and bawl; a spousal downgrade; the worth of weddings and the World Cup

October 2006

A scary woman; visiting with permafrost experts; an offer from ExxonMobil; toothless writers' unions

April 2007

Endless craving for misery; a double burial; experimental novels from Slovenia; advice on how to deal with favorites

May 2007

The musical taste of iPods; reconsidering dated smut; thoughts on tinned food; devout Catholic wives

June / July 2007

Breakfast Frappuccinos; bacon-flavored potato chips; effortless use of the American vernacular; lippy kids

August 2007

Index entries on Greil Marcus; life behind the Berlin Wall; antinomians; up with fiction, down with facts

September 2007

The end of the world; kitchen gizzard experiments; a passable Mick Jagger impersonation; a blank-verse novel about werewolves

October 2007

Defending the honor of a pink book; the death of God; ten adult books that aren't boring; weird chimes

November / December 2007

Helpful cake analogies; hamstring trouble; unreadable Marxist pamphlets; a middle-class twat; doublethink

January 2008

A fact-finding mission; sex education; writers with an eye on posterity; a sun-lounger in France; lovable Millennials

February 2008

Learning to read; a state of bolshiness; a hydrocephalic weakling; cricketers; Titmus, F. J.; hints on a proposed lordship

March / April 2008

Stuff he's been watching; misery memoirs; unpleasant people doing unkind things; a fascist-killing machine
; Juno

May 2008

The fate of a man tired of books; an increase of snazz; the delivery of an unsporting thumping; mortgage payments on boxes

September 2008

Specialization on
Doctor Dolittle;
breakfast made by a chimp; tolerance of a bare breast; a temporary farewell

May 2010

Learning from eHow; the old days; nude tableaux vivants; failed moneymaking schemes; delicate moral complications

June 2010

An invitation to the Oscars; iconic NHS spectacle styles; the postwar Labour government; LitCologne

July / August 2010

Advice from the Brits; tragicomedy; the Lost Booker Prize; a novel-shaped Manhattan; a pisseur de copie

September 2010

The return of the Scientist of the Month award; small males; possible roles for Miley Cyrus; words from Lorne Michaels

October 2010

Painfully cold sponsored parties; a hunky bad boy; Negative Twenty Questions; the moments on which a life turns

November / December 2010

Shakespeare's most Tarantinoesque works; instructions on making yogurt; the time before funk; the Mau Mau uprising

January 2011

Literary fattism; sick burns by Dickens's contemporaries; the difference between Scottish and Irish; Bose headphones

February 2011

Postman Pat; an MP3 of Elizabeth Bishop; diarrhea in the book; the universal love of Céline Dion; good goals and bad goals

March / April 2011

Victimhood; characters who are quite clearly creeps; a gift from the president; cells that grow like kudzu

May 2011

New forms of inadequacy; married bliss; curious descriptors for lovemaking; the Dillon Panthers; homework

June 2011

A worthy opponent; the Hawaiians' need for the Bible; the favorite television program of Mr. Gum; a bald assertion

July / August 2011

A certain yen; a surprising anecdote; incomprehensible improbability; a man possessing the necessary anxiety; required reading

September 2011

A string of presumptions; the definition of
Democracy Versus Hot Sex; an ode to Body Shop Vanilla Shower Gel

October 2011

Chopsticks; an example of womanizing both real and prodigious; the gray North Sea; an endorsement of the Waboba ball

November / December 2011

Everybody's favorite literary biographer; the posher papers; old tosh; Marshalsea debtors' prison; the blacking factory

January 2012

A lemon-firing bazooka; unbearable quirk; WWOOFers; instances of transgressive and sinister sexual chaos

March / April 2012

A second chance for Sade; plastic carrier bag as madeleine substitute; taunting the fact-checkers; friendship with Woody Allen

May 2012

The definition of
creative professional;
an epiphanic right-hemisphere production; a theory regarding nonfiction books

June 2012

Passing the point of concern; penal reform; the notion of the second longhand draft; a month of fictional bravery

July / August 2012

The future for writers; a frustrating imagined dialogue; Fitzgerald's rate; a gum-snap young-adult voice

September 2012

A personal library; the no-snark rule; a “meh” face; the end of the London Olympics; vital supplies

March / April 2013

Assorted woo-hoos; the fashionable Rod Stewart; a very common human propensity; a Christlike alter ego

May 2013

Casting notes; the transcendence of one's subject; disappointment regarding orgies and uzis; a very long series of questions

June 2013

Asshole paranoia; quantifying the delusions of Kanye West; “Cheat Sheet” and
uses for a Wonder Bread bag

BOOK: Ten Years in the Tub
10.26Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Other books

Always in My Dreams by Jo Goodman
Theft of Life by Imogen Robertson
Trueno Rojo by John Varley
A Long Pitch Home by Natalie Dias Lorenzi
The Echo by Minette Walters
Wicca for Beginners by Thea Sabin
Branegate by James C. Glass
Dead of Veridon by Tim Akers