Nick Hornby is a phenomenal writer. I discovered him in Scotland (I hadn’t known about his writing the novel “High Fidelity”) with “How To Be Good”. It is brilliant (in both the British and American definitions of the word), my favorite book of his, one of my favorite books/stories/works of words, period.
I’m reading it for the second time right now. I’m not usually a fan of the whole middle-class angst thing, but maybe it’s the British thing, I don’t know. All I know is that I love this book with a vengeance. And maybe it’s wishful thinking but in it I can sense my own style and sense of humor. It never fails to make me laugh out loud and/or epiphanize every page or so.
“The point is not that my life it one long golden summer which I am simply too self-absorbed to appreciate (although it might be, of course, and I am simply too self-absorbed to appreciate it), but that happy moments are possible, and while happy moments are possible I have no right to demand anything more for myself, given the havoc that would be wrought.”
“I’m becoming heartily sick of liberalism. It’s complicated, and tiring, and open to misinterpretation and abuse by… by sneaky, spoiled children. And it breeds doubt, and I’m sick of doubt, too; I want certitude, like David has certitude, or like Margaret Thatcher had certitude. Who wants to be someone like me? People like us? Because we’re almost always sure that we’re wrong; we’re almost always sure that we will go to hell, even though an inordinate amount of our waking thoughts are directed toward achieving the opposite effect. We know what’s right, but we don’t do it because it’s too hard, it asks too much, and even trying to cure Mrs. Cortenza or Barmy Brian is no guarantee of anything, so I somehow end each day in debt rather than credit. Today I have learned that I don’t really like my children and that I have somehow encouraged one of them to steal from his classmates; David, meanwhile, has been plotting to save the homeless. And yet somehow I still cling to the belief that I’m better than him.”
This one was in my sig file for months.
“I decide, on the spot, to let God into my heart, in the hope that my new-found faith can somehow be used as a vicious weapon in the marital war. It is true that not everyone discovers the Lord in this way; some would argue that it is distinctly unChristian, in fact, to become a convert in the hope that it might really upset somebody. But God, famously, moves in mysterious ways.”